The winners of the third annual Bishop John J. McRaith Providing Help, Creating Hope Award this year include 16 individuals and four organizations.
Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Owensboro established the award in 2013 to recognize individuals or groups in the diocese who abundantly show the virtue of charity in their work and deeds, aligned with the mission of Catholic Charities.
The award is named after Bishop Emeritus John J. McRaith who retired as bishop of the Diocese of Owensboro on January 5, 2009. Those receiving the award, based on acts of charity and that have improved the lives of the less fortunate, are listed below.
Individuals who received the 2016 award:
Derwood Doyle St. Pius X Parish – Calvert City
Derwood transports people for church and for appointments. He visits people at hospitals and nursing homes regularly. He belongs to the Knights of Columbus and participates in all council activities including fish fries, golf tournament, and Tootsie Roll drive. He is very active in the parish.
Jim Grant St. Anthony Parish – Clarkson
Jim volunteers at the Grayson County Ministerial Association delivering Christmas baskets to the needy. He transports elderly parish members to doctor appointments and has done volunteer maintenance work for many people in the community.
Erv Moore St. Anthony Parish – Clarkson
Erv volunteers his time at the community food pantry and volunteers his time at tri-parish churches.
Bill Rodgers St. Anthony of Padua Parish – Grand Rivers
Bill volunteers for Helping Hands Food Pantry, performs unpaid maintenance for church property, serves on the Regional Men’s Council, and coaches for baseball and basketball. Bill belongs to Knights of Columbus in Calvert City and serves on the parish council.
Wayne and Judy Hardesty St. Romuald Parish – Hardinsburg
This couple is deeply involved in the Society of St. Vincent de Paul and volunteer at the Good Samaritan Center which helps the poor in Breckenridge County. They are willing to volunteer for any project that helps out a neighbor.
Jim Roethemeier Holy Name of Jesus Parish – Henderson
Jim has chaired the Social Action Committee for many years. He has organized Fair Trade coffee, helped coordinate a Habitat for Humanity house built by the parish, participated in all three city service days, registered voters after Masses, addressed Christmas cards for shut-ins, collected money for mission trips and participated in a mission trip to Jamaica. Jim was one of the first participants when the parish offered “Just Faith” in 2013. Jim’s social actions are a reminder to the parish of the obligation to share God’s mercy within the community and world.
Charlene Meadows Blessed Sacrament Chapel – Owensboro
Charlene cleans the church, cuts the grass, plants flowers, and visits and distributes communion to the sick. Charlene gives money, food, clothing and time to those in need. She works with mentally challenged individuals inviting them to church, providing love and care. Charlene promotes social justice and sees Jesus in everyone.
William Potts Immaculate Parish – Owensboro
Bill serves as eucharistic minister and greeter, is involved in the Family Life Committee and in the parish picnic. He has been an active member of Birthright and Right to Life and promotes the sacredness of life from conception to natural death. As an active member of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul, Bill makes client visits, shows a great deal of compassion and takes a personal interest in helping the needy. Bill helps to distribute Christmas food baskets.
Ralph Thomas Our Lady of Lourdes Parish – Owensboro
Ralph Thomas quietly gets work in the parish and community done such as building ramps for the elderly. He built a storage building for the Lourdes Day Care and made a sign for Right to Life. He has gone on several parish mission trips. He is active in the Men’s Club, Knights of Columbus, and works at the Lenten Fish Fry. He is also a sponsor for RCIA.
Hal Mischel and Braun Mischel St. Joseph and Paul Parish – Owensboro
These brothers are outstanding members of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul. They make themselves available each evening to assist those who call in need. They respond to phone messages with a visit, return phone call or delivery of items. Future needs are also discussed in hopes of teaching the needy how to secure services or needed items themselves. These men go beyond the call of duty to provide educational, financial, spiritual, and emotional support to those in need.
Mary Beth Hurley St. Stephen Cathedral – Owensboro
Mary Beth was instrumental in starting the backpack ministry and serves as the point person of Hager Preschool to enroll children who are most in need of weekend meals. Mary Beth also works with the Burmese community. She is the primary trainer for the Children’s Liturgy. She also works at Vacation Bible School and the annual picnic. Mary Beth, along with her husband, work a monthly shift at St. Benedict’s Homeless Shelter and are involved in fundraising for the Goodfellows Club.
Staci Baker St. John the Evangelist – Paducah
Staci served three years as chair of the social concerns committee ending in 2013. While serving in that role and continuing today, Staci has engaged in charitable works and is passionate about social justice issues. She initiated recycling at the parish, Blessing for Water during Advent, and collaborates with the Paducah school system to ensure homeless youth are recipients of the Giving Tree. She has a gentle spirit and provides leadership to engage the parish in works of mercy.
Jerry and Vicki Morris “Angels for Ashley” St. Mary of the Woods – Whitesville
Jerry and Vicki Morris started the Angels for Ashley Foundation in 2009 to help build a handicap-accessible home for a local family whose daughter, Ashley, is totally immobile. Once the house was built, they began helping others through barbecues for families in the community who have medical crises. St. Jude’s Research Hospital and Right to Life are now annual beneficiaries of barbecues. The Morris property has become the site of Trinity High School’s annual Alumni BBQ, raising over $35,000 for Trinity each year. Angels for Ashley is now constructing a home for a parishioner who is paralyzed and needs a handicapped accessible home. Angels for Ashley Foundation has raised over $450,000 for local families and non-profits. Jerry and Vicki Morris are role models of service and generosity.
Organizations that received the 2016 award:
The former St. Vincent de Paul Conference and Thrift Store volunteers
Location: Sts. Peter and Paul Catholic Church, Hopkinsville
Thirty-five thrift store volunteers and 14 St. Vincent de Paul Conference members have served as the “face of God” on behalf of Sts. Peter and Paul Parish.
Door of Hope Pregnancy Care Center
This non-profit, inter-denominational pro-life ministry provides pregnancy tests, confidential peer counseling, material supplies, Bible study ministries, and prenatal and parenting education. Volunteers and staff are committed to the sanctity of life values providing loving, non-judgmental support to those they serve.
Paducah Community Kitchen
This program prepares daily meals for 200+ people Monday through Friday. They also function as a warming center during cold months providing dinner and breakfast, laundry and a shower facility. They support and assist clients in securing permanent housing and becoming self-sufficient, and supply basic needs such as bedding, towels, and more for housing.
Paducah-area St. Vincent de Paul chapter
Location: St. Thomas More Parish and other local parishes, Paducah area
This Paducah-area St. Vincent de Paul chapter operates a thrift store and uses the proceeds to assist the needy. In addition, they assist families in crisis such as in a fire or flood. They also offer support outside the county as well. They recently sent truckloads of goods to the Methodist Mountain Mission in eastern Kentucky, donated clothing to the homeless in Nashville, to a local nursing home and made a monetary donation to a local Family Resource Center. They work tirelessly to assist those in need regardless of religious affiliation.