Five win 2021 Jenco Awards for service to others | New



NELSONVILLE – Five people dedicated to service in Appalachian Ohio recently accepted honors from the Ohio Appalachian Foundation Jenco Foundation Fund at an online virtual event.

The Jenco Awards recognize unsung heroes of Appalachian Ohio who have dedicated themselves to direct and caring action that contributes to the quality of life in the region. This year’s recipients are Bobbyjon Bauman of Jefferson County; Roxanne Groff from Athens County; Dr. Denise Lucas, who works in Jefferson County; Megan Macke of Vinton County; and Patty Mitchell from Athens County.

The Jenco Foundation and its awards are named after Father Lawrence Martin Jenco, a Roman Catholic priest who dedicated his life to the service of others. Most notably, in the 1980s Father Jenco was director of Catholic Relief Services in Lebanon, where he was kidnapped and spent 19 months in captivity. Even in detention, Father Jenco continued to serve, offering a listening ear to other inmates, including journalist Terry Anderson. After Father Jenco’s death in 1996, Mr. Anderson wanted a way to honor Father Jenco’s legacy of compassion and giving, so he established the Jenco Foundation.

Since 2002, the Jenco Awards have recognized visionary leadership in service to others in Appalachian Ohio. Nominated by other community members who testify to their service and leadership in action, the Jenco Fellows are selected through a formal committee process. Jenco Laureates receive an individual cash award to be used in the manner most appropriate to their leadership.

“Once again, our Ohio Appalachian communities offer an abundance of applicants who are making a difference in our region,” said Jack Wright, Jenco Foundation committee member, in a press release. “The five people chosen to be the recipients of the 2021 Jenco Prize illustrate by their selfless dedication to the service of the qualities demonstrated by Father Jenco. “

The highlights of the service of the 2021 Jenco Laureates are as follows:

Jefferson County’s Bobbyjon Bauman serves youth and the community through volunteer work. Founder and Chairman of the Ohio Valley Youth Network (OVYN), an organization that delivers vibrant after-school programming to more than 300 youth and children, he has created an environment where students cultivate their gifts and talents to set them on a path positive.

Roxanne Groff of Athens County has worked for decades to protect and preserve the natural wonders of the Appalachian Mountains of Ohio, including the Wayne National Forest. Organizing and educating to support the voice and representation of the community in local and state affairs has been an important part of Groff’s efforts through a variety of activities and roles, including that with Future Action Athens County Network and as a founding member of Save our Rural Environment, groups dedicated to environmental protection.

Dr. Denise Lucas of West Virginia is a volunteer health care provider at the Ohio Valley Health Center in Jefferson County, Ohio. She provides care to low-income, uninsured and underinsured patients. A nurse for over 35 years and a professor of nursing since 2003, Lucas was the first nurse practitioner to implement the Free to Be Healthy for Diabetes and Hypertension program.

Megan Macke of Vinton County is an educator who strives to meet the needs of the Vinton community through creative endeavors and fosters a culture of civic engagement and service learning. A 4-H counselor, Macke has led youth in community projects and developed the Farm to Family program for families in need of food.

Patty Mitchell of Athens County is the Founder and Executive Director of Passion Works, a non-profit organization providing artistic opportunities for people with developmental differences. Mitchell defends and empowers others through artistic expression. She is the co-creator of the Creative Abundance Model, the principle behind Passion Works, and has traveled the country to share this concept with others.

If you know of anyone who goes beyond the call of duty in service to others, please nominate that person for the 2022 Jenco Foundation Fund Awards. The nomination window opens each spring; in the meantime, sign up for the Foundation for Appalachian Ohio’s e-newsletter at or follow FAO on Facebook to find out when the 2022 call for nominations will be published.

For more information on the Jenco Foundation and the award that honors Father Lawrence Martin Jenco, please visit or call 740.753.1111.



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