Catholic Charities announces 2017 award winners

Bishop McRaith visits the Help Office in Owensboro in 1985. (File photo)

The Catholic Charities selection committee has awarded the 2017 Bishop John J. McRaith Providing Help, Creating Hope award certificates to the following individuals and groups who have demonstrated charity in their work and deeds without financial compensation. The committee focused on programs and individuals whose work has reached outside their family and parish and impacted the larger community. Those selected have engaged in charitable works in alignment with the mission of Catholic Charities which is “to witness the love of Christ by serving our brothers and sisters in need.”  

This award was established in 2013 by Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Owensboro, and was named after Bishop John J. McRaith, who served the diocese from 1982-2009, and who passed away in March 2017.

Individuals receiving the 2017 award:

Deacon Bill Grant (Clarkson)

Deacon Bill visits the homebound and nursing homes, he  takes food baskets to the needy, collects and delivers supplies to Clear Choice Pregnancy Center.

John and Beth Probus (Henderson)

John and Beth travel to Steele, Missouri, as youth leaders each summer, teaching the youth about service. They assist the work of the Glenmary Mission donating truckloads of food. This couple recently made a trip to Missouri in the middle of the winter transporting even more food. They have demonstrated a heart and commitment to the people of Steele, MO.

Linda Clark and Jackie Marshall (Leitchfield)

Two years ago, these individuals began the Grayson County Catholic Outreach. This organization has helped many with financial assistance and spiritual support.

Kenny Holt (Morganfield)

This gentleman is the primary contact for St. Vincent de Paul in Morganfield. He orders supplies for the food bank bi-monthly to assist the needy in the county. He trims shrubs and flowers around St. Ann rectory, parish, and gazebo.  He is former picnic chairperson.

Darryl Rezac (Murray)

Darryl coordinated the fundraising and purchase of an ultrasound machine for LifeHouse, a pregnancy resource center. He enlisted the efforts of the Knights of Columbus and parishioners of St. Leo to promote this pro-life effort.

Terri LaHugh (Owensboro)

Terri has served as director of Birthright for 17 years and accepts no pay. She counsels and supports women who face unplanned pregnancies regardless of their religion, race, or marital status. As director of Birthright, she also coordinates assistance to families who need formula, diapers or are in need of other infant supplies.

Virginia Braswell (Owensboro)

Virginia has worked tirelessly as a volunteer for Habitat for Humanity and has served as executive director for many years. She has overseen the building of more than 125 homes in the Owensboro area.

Gary Estes (Owensboro)

Gary coordinates volunteers from St. Pius X that serve at St. Benedict Homeless Shelter. He also coordinates Financial Peace University (Dave Ramsey program) on Sundays and Thursdays from January-March each year, which is open to both parishioners and the community.

Michelle Ison (Owensboro)

In 2013, Michelle opened Crossroads, which coordinates a network of individuals and organizations working together to fight poverty and homelessness in Daviess County. Crossroads houses a food pantry through the Emergency Food Assistance Program and local food drives. It also operates a Senior Food Program which is the chosen distributor of the Commodity Supplemental Food Program. Crossroads also distributes farmer market vouchers to low-income seniors. More recently, Crossroads has expanded services to homeless women and children by offering a temporary safe shelter with bathroom and laundry facilities.

Dr. Mackdell Long (Russellville)

Dr. Long is a retired physician and continues to care for others through St. Vincent DePaul and the Knights of Columbus. He also serves on the board for Life Choice Inc., a pregnancy care center.  Dr. Long is a member of the Logan County Ministerial Association, volunteers at Good Samaritan and participates in prison ministry.

Nellie Eversmann (Wax)

Nellie helped raise funds for the tri-parish social concerns group. She provides food and Christmas gifts for the needy in the community.

Organizations and groups receiving the 2017 award:

St. Joseph Food Pantry (Central City)

This pantry was started by a Renew prayer group in 1983 and several members have been volunteering since the inception. This program provides food and other supplies free-of-charge in Muhlenberg  County. Many have spent tireless hours collecting donations, applying for grants, ordering food, unloading Second Harvest trucks and delivering food to individual families.

Christ Among Us Food Pantry (Fordsville)

This program is a ministry of several churches in the Fordsville area working together to provide food, love and friendship to the needy.

K of C Council 7847 (Hopkinsville)

This council completed a fundraiser for Alpha Alternative Pregnancy Care Center of Hopkinsville and purchased a portable ultrasound unit for use in a mobile RV. This RV will be able to travel to surrounding counties as a pro-life initiative.

Christian Food Bank of Hopkins County, Inc. (Madisonville)

In 2016, 12,705 families and 33,946 individuals were provided food made possible by donations through the Christian Food Bank of Hopkins County.

Haiti Mission Group at Sts. Joe and Paul led by Fr. Carl McCarthy, Lavida Mischel and Lee Franey (Owensboro)

In 2012, this mission group began sponsoring St. Joseph Parish in Lalomas, Haiti. Since that time, the group has sponsored the salaries of 51 teachers, a doctor in his third year of medical school, two nursing students, two agricultural students, one administration, one seminarian, and high school students. They have raised $10,000 for school books and have sent money to feed the children. They raised $18,000 for Water with Blessings to access drinking water for 800 families and two schools. They have shipped a container consisting of items such as clothes, medical supplies, medication, and sewing machines.  This group raised money for 100 goats distributed to families. They also sent 2,500 dresses made by parishioner Catherine Brand and sent 5,000 pairs of shoes.

The Haiti Committee of Immaculate (Owensboro)

Two years ago, Immaculate Parish was paired with a parish in Sources Chaudes, Haiti and made education their goal. Immaculate Parish raised money to pay teachers for the 2015-2016 school year.  They also sent over toiletries/health products, eyeglasses, sewing machines and handmade dresses.  They provided the pastor a vehicle and fixed plumbing so that a medical facility had running water.

Paducah Cooperative Ministry, Inc. (Paducah)

Since 1973, 70 diverse congregations has provided groceries through the PCM Food Pantry to 5,357 families, provided emergency funding to 1,295 households, and provided shelter to homeless 112 women and 68 children.

Paducah Community Kitchen, Inc. (Paducah)

This organization served 70,000 free lunches last year. They also provide laundry services and showers, referrals for substance abuse treatment, assistance in job placements, and a warming center during cold weather.