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2019 Jefferson Awards

The 2019 winners of the annual Jefferson Awards for community service have been announced and will be recognized at a reception in Mattoon in May.

MATTOON — Local examples of volunteerism and other contributions to the community will again be recognized with the annual Jefferson Awards for public service.

The six local 2019 recipients will be honored at a reception in Mattoon on May 1, and one will join other areas' winners at the national Jefferson Awards ceremony in Washington, D.C., on June 18.

Suzi Coffman of rural Mattoon was the local selection committee's choice to attend the national ceremony.

The other local honorees are Doug Bock of Charleston, Tom Woodall of rural Charleston, Donna Hudson of Charleston, Ida Cockrum of Mattoon and Brendan Lynch of Charleston.

The national Jefferson Awards program begin in 1972 and partners with medial organizations to "recognize grassroots unsung heroes," according to the organization's website.

The local program started in 2004 and has since recognized more than 70 area residents who have been involved in a wide range of community activities.

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Randy Mitchell, Journal Gazette/Times-Courier publisher and a member of the selection committee, praised the recipients for providing the public service that's "vital to the growth of the community."

"All of the nominees play a positive role in our communities and touch so many lives," Mitchell said. "They are truly amazing individuals and we are proud to have them in our community."

He also said he appreciated the support of the newspaper's two major co-sponsors of the awards, Consolidated Communications and First Mid Bank & Trust.

The May 1 reception for the local honorees is scheduled for 5-7 p.m. at the Mattoon Golf & Country Club. Tickets are available for $20 and can be purchased by contacting Karen Collier at the Journal Gazette/Times-Courier, 271-238-6821.

The JG-TC will profile each local award recipient at a later date.

Each received a nomination and several letters of recommendation, and some of that information includes:

  • Coffman was nominated and selected for activities including work at the Haven homeless shelter in Mattoon, the Sarah Bush Lincoln Health Center volunteer organization and the Mattoon Family YMCA.
  • Bock was selected based on work including efforts for the Charleston Rotary Club, CCAR, the SBLHC foundation and Immanuel Lutheran Church in Charleston.
  • Woodall for selected for activities including organizing races and other events at Eastern Illinois University that led to a trail on campus being named in his honor, with his church and the Fellowship of Christian Athletes and the METS cardiac rehabilitation program at SBLHC.
  • Hudson was selected for organizing LGBT support groups at Charleston High School and EIU, work with the Sexual Assaulting Counseling and Information Service and local scout organizations.
  • Cockrum was chosen for work in her career in education and with the Coles County Habitat for Humanity chapter, the One Stop Community Christmas program, the Salvation Army and Camp New Hope.
  • Lynch was selected for work including leadership on the trail system connecting Sister City Park to Lake Charleston and other natural areas and others.

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Contact Dave Fopay at (217) 238-6858. Follow him on Twitter: @FopayDave

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Dave Fopay is a reporter for the JG-TC who covers Coles County, the local court system, Charleston schools and more.

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