GREENFIELD – A leader in nonprofit organizing and a local organization fighting food insecurity and isolation are the winners of this year’s Hancock Health Foundation Healthy Community Awards.
The Bert Curry Healthy Community Award went to Kathy Locke, a member of many local nonprofit boards as well as the city’s board of works. The award is named after the Hancock Health Foundation’s first executive director and honors individuals whose service has helped increase the community’s physical, mental or social health.
In addition to her work with the city, Locke serves on the boards of the Hancock County Community Foundation, Leaders in Navigating Knowledge, Bradley United Methodist Church and the Greenfield-Central Community School Foundation. She has served as a volunteer court-appointed special advocate for children in the past, and is an active member of Tri Kappa.
Sandy Miller, who nominated Locke for the award, said she got to know her through serving on several boards together and working together at booths at the Hancock County fairgrounds for nonprofit organizations.
“She really is a wonderful servant to our community and has a real philanthropic heart,” Miller said.
Miller said Locke is an invaluable person to have in the leadership team for community projects.
“She is always very prepared, she listens well, she asks tough questions, she’s a good strategic thinker, and she’s very interested in what’s best for the community,” she said.
After retiring in 2005, Locke said, she began to get involved with volunteering at her childrens’ schools and gradually became more immersed in the county’s philanthropic community. She said the community has a great culture of supporting those in need.
“I haven’t really seen a need in Greenfield that has come about that the community hasn’t rallied behind,” she said.
Locke said she was surprised and pleased to be chosen for the honor.
“Obviously I was very honored by the award, and also very humbled,” she said.
The award’s winner receives a $1,000 donation to the organization of their choice, and Locke chose to donate to mental health and substance abuse recovery efforts at Hancock Health.
Meals on Wheels of Hancock County received the Bobby Keen Healthy Community Award, named in honor of the former President & CEO of Hancock Regional Hospital and recognizing a hospital program or local organization that is creating positive change in the county.
The local Meals on Wheels group helps county residents in need by delivering meals made for their personal dietary needs Monday through Friday, plus extra meals for the weekends. The organization serves residents around Hancock County, including in rural areas.
“As the pandemic has increased social isolation and food insecurity among seniors, Meals on Wheels has created an innovative approach to meet this need by delivering shelf-stable emergency food boxes. The organization also participates in the local Post-Discharge Nutrition Initiative (PDNI) that ensures malnourished patients receive nutrition after they leave the hospital,” Hancock Health said in a press release.
The organization received a $1,000 donation to support the program in recognition of the award.
“Through partnerships with Hancock Regional Hospital and Central Indiana Council on Aging, we are able to examine and help meet the needs of the community, including senior hunger and isolation,” said April Allford, marketing coordinator for Meals on Wheels.
Other nominees for the Bobby Keen Healthy Community Award included Healthy365, Nameless Creek Youth Camp and Talitha Koum Women’s Recovery House. Nominees for the Bert Curry Healthy Community Award included Dr. Julia Compton, director of the Hancock Physician Network; Jason Wells of Hancock Health, Kara Ostewig and Stephanie Paulin.
Winners of both awards are chosen by the Hancock Health Foundation’s awards and scholarships committee.