Five Jefferson Award winners will be chosen from a pool of 20 central Ohio residents who work hard to help others in the community.
The Jefferson Awards, sponsored by WBNS 10TV and Nationwide, were established by Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis and Ohio Sen. Robert Taft in 1972 to honor the work of unsung heroes. The five local winners will be named at an April 3 ceremony.
Fifteen other finalists for the award will be honored along with the five winners next week.
Jefferson Award finalists are:
* Pickerington resident Anita Birk, the founder of Mommies of Miracles, a support group for mothers of children with health care or developmental needs.
* Kayla Byrd of Columbus, who co-chairs a service learning group on human trafficking at Columbus Alternative High School.
* Westerville resident Chris Callen, a Vietnam War veteran and founder of the Callen Foundation that helps families of active military members financially in obtaining basic living necessities.
* James John Caronis of Worthington, founder and president of Operation Buckeye, a group that sends care packages to U.S. troops deployed overseas.
* John Caudill of Marion, a recovery program worker, who has overcome his own addictions to help others.
* Worthington resident Tad Dritz, founder of the Green Columbus group that has organized litter collections, helped with community gardens and planted thousands of trees.
* Jo Ann Evans of Columbus, who has been a daily volunteer at Ohio Avenue Elementary School for the past 15 years.
* Pickerington resident Shayna Fowler, creator of The Butterfly Project that works to empower and uplift young women.
* Patricia Gabbe of Bexley, a pediatrician who started the Moms2B program that helps low-income women deliver healthy, full-term babies.
* Mona Gazala of Columbus, who owns Second Sight Studio, a nonprofit art gallery that engages local artists and Franklinton residents.
* Columbus resident Robert Haas, founder of Amputee Recreational Support Group of Central Ohio, an organization that gives amputees a support network through activities and a peer-to-peer system.
* Dublin resident Malika Haque, a doctor who founded the Noor Community Free Clinic that provides care to underserved and uninsured patients.
* Ellie Hite of Carroll, who founded AngelWorks, a nonprofit that offers financial aid to families facing a medical crisis or the loss of a family member.
* Shirley Hurley of Columbus, who has provided Saturday lunches to homeless people for the past 13 years with her sister, Toby Simons.
* Columbus resident Elnora Jenkins-Christie, who runs church-based programs for Driving Park residents that focus on at-risk girls, scholarships for high school seniors and housing for low-income families.
* Reynoldsburg resident Ed Krause, a weekly Ronald McDonald House volunteer who last year recruited a crew to renovate 70 guestrooms.
* Dave Laslow, who has collected Christmas toys for needy children in Marysville since 1987, which has amounted to more than $1.59 million for toys and food vouchers.
* Columbus resident Toby Simons, who, with her sister, Shirley Hurley, has fed homeless people every Saturday, also providing them with other items to get by.
* Nancy Sohner of Columbus, a volunteer for Columbus City Schools who has helped with tutoring and other student needs for the last 10 years.
* Dublin Scioto High School senior Arjun Venkataraman, who founded "No Vehicle Idling: A Campaign for Cleaner Air" that educates bus drivers about the toxins idling buses create.