WC Kyndle 6 16WEBSTER COUNTY, Ky. (6/16/17) — Kyndle recognized the area’s Nonprofit of the Year including three Volunteers of the Year at its Awards Breakfast held Wednesday at the Henderson Community College Preston Arts Center.

Robilee Bell of Sebree was chosen for her volunteer work with St. Anthony’s Hospice and other organizations.

She has served as “Big Buddy” to children at St. Anthony’s annual bereavement camp, and last year, she also volunteered two Sundays per month to sit with a hospice patient to allow his wife to attend church.

The retired public health nurse consultant provided in-service training to volunteers on patient and volunteer safety and caregiving in addition to serving as a volunteer at Sebree First Baptist Church. She served as a previous church youth group volunteer and court appointed special advocate volunteer in Illinois.

Children’s Advocacy Center of Green River District was honored as Kyndle’s Nonprofit of the Year. The Henderson-based organization provides services to seven Western Kentucky counties, including Henderson, McLean, Union, Webster, Daviess, Ohio and Hancock.

For the award, the Children’s Advocacy Center received a $1,000 grant from the Community Foundation of Henderson and a $500 grant from Independence Bank.

Henderson Circuit Court Clerk Herb McKee Jr., writing in support of its nomination, said the Children’s Advocacy Center is “a nonprofit organization whose impact far exceeds the community’s awareness.”

“I can’t say enough about the selfless work this team pursues on a daily basis,” McKee wrote. “They deserve our respect, they deserve our recognition and they deserve to be adequately funded to do this important work.”

It describes its mission as “reducing the traumatic effects of abuse” as it strives to:

• Protect children
• Seek justice
• Investigate abuse as a team
• And improve community nurturance of children while keeping the comfort and safety of the child the first priority.

“What’s unique about this organization,” McKee wrote, “is their focus on the impact of the victim, rather than quickly or rigidly completing their tasks.

“The examination doesn’t take place in a crowded, cold hospital,” he said. “The pediatrician comes to the organization’s standalone office with a room that is as warm and inviting as possible. This service requires up-to-date examination equipment, which is maintained through annual community outreach.

“The children often undergo a forensic interview as well,” McKee said. “This isn’t done at police headquarters ... It’s done in a room that looks like a child’s play room. It has coloring books and Plah-Doh for children to be able to calm themselves during the interview. It isn’t conducted by a police detective, either. The organization uses a therapist who’s specifically trained to speak with children.”

“Each ensures that an investigation has been pursued, that the child receives the therapy they need, that the case is prosecuted and that the child is monitored throughout the whole process,” according to McKee.

Board member Preston Herndon, a retired police detective, said the organization strives to conduct its investigations in a way to “minimize the intrusion on the child and the family.”

This past year, this organization hired a victim’s advocate to educate the child and family about the legal process; visit courtrooms with them prior to trials; and attend trials to support the child victim.

Herndon wrote that the organization “does not stop when the investigation is over, as they are crucial in repairing the lives of victims by providing services such as therapy, parenting classes and the CASA workers who help the families move past the trauma of these types of incidents.”

Over the past year this Henderson-based organization provided services to more than 300 victims and families in seven counties.

The organization reports that an estimated one in five children will be sexually abused by the age of 18.

In announcing the award, Dawn Kelsey, president of the Community Foundation of Henderson County, noted that two things that Kyndle asked for on its nomination form was documentation that substantiates an improved financial position for the organization as well as an account of how the nonprofit had overcome adversity.

The Children’s Advocacy Center did just that, showing how it had turned a nearly $37,000 loss two years ago to positive net income of more than $13,000 this year.

It also identified steps it took to resolve its financial situation, such as splitting full-time positions into part-time jobs, seeking additional state funds, securing an alternative source of funding for 10 percent of its management salaries and freeing up staff to concentrate on more fundraising.

Meanwhile, three Volunteer of the Years were presented to residents of the following counties:

Henderson County: Ida and the late Charlie Omer were honored for decades of nearly daily volunteer service throughout the community.

Henderson Co Volunteer of YIn presenting the award, St. Anthony’s Hospice Executive Director Kendra Marsh said the Omers began volunteering with the fledgling hospice organization in 1988. Over the years, “Mr. Charlie” — who died on May 11 — and “Tidy Ida,” as they were known, donated thousands of hours of time in a wide variety of assignments, from working at annual bereavement camps to working around the office or the Lucy Smith King Center or making deliveries.

The Omers were nominated by St. Anthony’s, but their volunteer activities weren’t restricted to hospice. Charlie Omer donated almost 15,000 hours of service to Methodist Hospital from 1989 to 2015 while his wife donated more than 6,000 hours, with both working in a variety of efforts.

They also volunteered the Telephone Pioneers, Salvation Army, Ronald McDonald House, Christmas Wish, the Shriner’s Hospital for Children and other organizations.

The Omers were awarded the 2008 Kentucky Governor’s Award for Outstanding Volunteer Service while Charlie Omer received Methodist Hospital’s Lifetime Achievement Award in 2015.

Union County: Wanda Combs of Uniontown was recognized for her 26 years of volunteer work with St. Anthony’s Hospice, among other work.

Union Co Volunteer of Year Combs works every Saturday as a direct care volunteer at the Lucy Smith King Center. She has been trained as an 11th Hour volunteer since 1990, sitting with patients whose death is imminent but have no family.

She also visits hospice patients at their homes in Union County, providing respite care so the primary caregiver can take a break, run errands or go on appointments. She currently is visiting two patients in the Uniontown area each Tuesday.

Combs has also volunteered with the Daughters of the American Revolution; Morganfield’s First United Methodist Church, serving as a Sunday school teacher for 21 years and working with the Women’s Group; and serving with The Ladies of the Chapel when her husband served in the military in Japan.

SurfKY News

Information provided by Chuck Stinnett

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