Governor’s Ambassador Awards Announced
Submitted by Robin Hartman, Personnel Cabinet
First Lady Jane Beshear and Personnel Cabinet Sec. Tim Longmeyer marked the fourth-annual Governor’s Ambassador Awards Oct. 17, recognizing more than 600 public employees for their exceptional services to the Commonwealth.
“Kentucky state employees demonstrate an exceptional commitment to public service, as demonstrated by today's award recipients,” said Mrs. Beshear. “I am honored to take part in recognizing these outstanding individuals and am thankful for their service to our Commonwealth.”
Nominations are accepted throughout the year in six categories: customer service, courage, leadership, professional achievement, teamwork, and community service and volunteerism.
“The awards provide an outlet for anyone who has been on the receiving end of great public service,” said Sec. Longmeyer. “Whether it be protection from those who keep us safe, to the guidance provided to families in need, to achievements brought to our communities from volunteer civic leaders – today we celebrate all who serve to make Kentucky a better place to live and work.”
A selection committee reviews the submissions, and three finalists are chosen in each category. Mrs. Beshear and Sec. Longmeyer serve as co-chairs of the selection committee. Gov. Steve Beshear selects the six overall winners in each category. All names are removed from the submissions to ensure fairness and anonymity.
Award recipients are honored by having a personalized engraved brick placed along Ambassador Avenue outside the Thomas D. Clark Center for Kentucky History.
The 2012 award recipients include:
Community Service and Volunteerism
Jessica Durrett, Dept. of Corrections
Justice & Public Safety Cabinet
Rebecca Henry, KY State Police
Justice & Public Safety Cabinet
Sean Osborne, Dept. of Highways
Patrick Yewell, Administrative Office of the Courts
Kentucky Court of Justice
Danny Keith Banks, Office of Vocational Rehabilitation
Education & Workforce Development Cabinet
Eastern Kentucky Correctional Complex Staff
Department of Corrections
Justice & Public Safety Cabinet
Created in October 2008, the Governor’s Ambassador Awards program was established by Governor Beshear to highlight stories of employees who have positively impacted their co-workers, customers and community.
View winners and additional photos from the awards ceremony. Click here for more stories about employees who are making a difference.
Tourism, Arts and Heritage Secretary Marcheta Sparrow Honored as Communicator of the Year
Submitted by Gil Lawson, Tourism, Arts and Heritage Cabinet
Tourism, Arts and Heritage Secretary Marcheta Sparrow has received the 2012 Communicator of the Year Award from the Public Relations Society of America’s Bluegrass Chapter and the International Association of Business Communicators of Kentucky.
The award was presented Oct. 16 during the 30th Annual Landmarks of Excellence Awards Dinner at the Kentucky Derby Museum.
“I am honored to receive this award on behalf of my excellent communications staff throughout the agencies of at the Tourism, Arts and Heritage Cabinet who work hard every day to make sure our story gets told with the very highest level of integrity,” Sparrow said.
The Communicator of the Year Award honors a local individual who is not a communications professional by trade, but has demonstrated skills that have positively influenced the community or significantly raised awareness of an issue.
Sparrow was selected for “demonstrating an ability to consistently communicate successfully, building community consensus, developing positive relationships over an extended period of time, demonstrating a strong code of ethics, and employing sound communications objectives and philosophy in order to advance the quality of Kentucky’s quality of life in the travel, tourism, arts and cultural arena,” according to an announcement from the two sponsoring groups.
"Each year our committee reviews a number of candidates throughout the community for this award," said Misty Cruse, president of PRSA's Bluegrass Chapter. "It's always an honor to acknowledge that one individual who stands out among the others and really get to know them and hear what drives their passion and success for their career. Marcheta Sparrow's commitment and enthusiasm is an inspiration."
"It is an honor for both IABC and PRSA to recognize someone of the caliber of Marcheta Sparrow," said Robert Hadley, president of IABC-KY. "Her outstanding record of achievements underscores the high value provided by communications programs to both government and business."
Sparrow’s more than 30 years in Kentucky’s travel and tourism industry has led the growth of Kentucky’s travel and tourism industry so that it now has an economic impact of more than $11.7 billion each year in Kentucky. In addition, nearly 170,000 Kentucky jobs are supported by tourism. Sparrow has also successfully led an initiative to launch Kentucky as an “adventure tourism” destination, along with enhancing the state’s reputation internationally for her work on the 2010 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games held in Lexington.
Sparrow, who lives in Harrodsburg, has served as the secretary of the Tourism, Arts and Heritage Cabinet since December 2007 and was previously president and CEO of the Kentucky Tourism Council.
Kentucky’s State Librarian Receives Lifetime Achievement Award
Submitted by Paige Sexton, Kentucky Department of Libraries and Archives
State Librarian and Kentucky Department for Libraries and Archives Commissioner Wayne Onkst has been recognized with the Lifetime Achievement Award by the Kentucky Library Association (KLA). The award is given to an individual who has shown continuous, sustained support of the library profession through his or her life.
“Wayne Onkst could have earned this Lifetime Achievement Award solely on his nationally-recognized work as the director of the Kenton County Public Library, but we are fortunate that he chose to share his knowledge, passion and compassion with libraries across the state as our state librarian,” said Lisa Rice, Kentucky Library Association President and director of the Warren County Public Library. “Wayne's leadership has allowed libraries to continue open new buildings, increase services and set records in usage during one of the most challenging periods in our memory.”
During his tenure as state librarian, public library use across the Commonwealth has increased, with a record 20 million visits recorded last year. In addition, for the first time in the state’s history, every county in Kentucky has public library service.
“Kentucky’s libraries provide outstanding service every day for the Commonwealth,” said Onkst. “Being involved in their work and growth over the years has been a wonderful experience.”
Onkst, a London, Ky. native, began his 40-year library career as a shelver at the Laurel County Public Library in 1972. After completing a bachelor’s degree in history from the University of Kentucky (UK) and a master’s degree in library science from the UK School of Library and Information Science, he became adult reference librarian at Kenton County Public Library in 1979. Onkst worked his way up at Kenton County Public Library and eventually became director of the library in 1999. Onkst was appointed to the position of state librarian by Gov. Ernie Fletcher in 2006.
Onkst has long been recognized as a leader in the library profession. In 2010, he was awarded the UK Library School Outstanding Alumnus Award. He has also received the Mary Ann Mongan Literacy Award, the KLA Outstanding Public Library Service Award, the American Library Association Sullivan Award for Director’s Support of Children’s Service and the Children Inc. Award for Innovative Services to Children.
KDLA provides equitable access to quality library and information resources and services, as well as helps public agencies ensure that legislatively mandated documentation of government programs is created, efficiently maintained, and made accessible. For more information on KDLA resources, programs and services visit www.kdla.ky.gov or call 502-564-8300 ext. 315.
Kentucky Deferred Compensation Authority Wins Two 2012 Awards
Chris Biddle (left), KDC legal Counsel, and Bob Brown, KDC Executive Director (right), accept the NAGDCA 2012 Effective Communication and Plan Design Leadership Awards from Julia Durand (center), Past NAGDCA President on Oct. 1, 2012.
Kentucky Deferred Compensations' (KDC) "Taking Care of Your Road to Retirement! Transportation Cabinet Campaign" and "Tiered Spectrum of Investment Options" earned a 2012 Effective Communication and Plan design Leadership Award respectively from the National Association of Government Defined Contribution Administrators (NAGDCA), the national organization for governmental defined contribution plans. KDC is proud that our service to Kentucky pubic employees has once again received national recognition of excellence from an organization as well-known as NAGDCA.
The KDC program has earned more Leadership Awards (19) than any other NAGDCA member.
Trosper, Douglas Receive Officer of the Year Awards
Submitted by Les Williams, Kentucky State Police
Trooper First Class Don Trosper (left), of Kentucky State Police Post 11 in London, has been named 2012 Kentucky State Police Public Affairs Officer of the Year and KSP Commercial Vehicle Enforcement Officer Steven Douglas (right), of CVE Region 4 in London, has been named Commercial Vehicle Enforcement Public Affairs Officer of the Year.
Trooper First Class Don Trosper of Kentucky State Police Post 11 in London has been named 2012 Kentucky State Police Public Affairs Officer of the Year, and KSP Commercial Vehicle Enforcement Officer Steven Douglas of CVE Region 4 in London has been named Commercial Vehicle Enforcement Public Affairs Officer of the Year.
The duo received the recognition for their unparalleled dedication and support of Trooper Island, a free summer camp for underprivileged boys and girls ages 10-12 operated by the Kentucky State Police on Dale Hollow Lake in Clinton County.
The camp is financed entirely by donations, and no public funds are used. Each year, it hosts approximately 700 children, providing good food, fresh air, recreation, guidance and structured, esteem-building activities designed to build good citizenship and positive relationships with law enforcement officers.
State’s Public Adoption Program Gets National Award
Submitted by Anya Armes Weber, Cabinet for Health and Family Services
Kentucky’s adoption program has been recognized by the federal government for its exemplary efforts to find permanent homes for children in foster care.
The Department of Community Based Services (DCBS), part of the Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services (CHFS), has been awarded a 2012 Centennial Adoption Excellence Award from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Administration for Children and Families.
DCBS is one of 14 groups and individuals to receive the awards, presented Wednesday, Oct. 10, in Washington, D.C., which recognize outstanding accomplishments in achieving permanency for children awaiting adoption in foster care. Honorees include states, local agencies, private organizations, courts, businesses, individuals and families who are making key contributions to increasing the number of children from the foster care system who are adopted or placed in other permanent homes.
CHFS Secretary Audrey Tayse Haynes congratulated DCBS staff.
“I applaud our staff who are so involved with the adoption program and who recruit families to open their hearts to our waiting children,” she said. “For all their work to find permanent and loving homes, this award is richly deserved.”
DCBS Commissioner Teresa James said foster care and adoption staff are dedicated to their jobs.
“So many of our staff says it is a calling to work in the adoption program,” she said. “They are champions to the families they serve. This award is a reflection of their commitment to achieving permanency for these children. Our goal is for every child to have the family they deserve.”
Of the more than 7,000 children in out-of-home care, more than 1,800 have the goal of adoption. Of that number, approximately 300 are available for adoption and are waiting for a family.
Families who are interested in adoption can attend an informational meeting in their area to learn more about the process. Parents who decide to adopt will get plenty of support through benefits, training and mentoring services. Families also can specify to caseworkers about the kinds of needs they can be prepared to handle for one or more than one child.
For more information about adoption and foster care, call the Special Needs Adoption Program (SNAP) at 800-928-4303. Log on to the SNAP home page at http://chfs.ky.gov/snap.
KSP Telecommunications Academy Graduates First Class
Submitted by Les Williams, Kentucky State Police
Graduates of the first class of the Kentucky State Police Telecommunications Academy include (left to right) Timothy Makin, of Roundhill, Post 3 Bowling Green; Timothy Addison, of Beattyville, Post 14 Ashland; Lee Baker, of Booneville, Post 12 Frankfort; Tyler Johnson, of Stanville, Post 12 Frankfort; Yolanda Johnson, of Mayfield, Post 1 Mayfield; Nicholas Danner, of Hazard, Post 13, Hazard; Ryan Kenley, of Georgetown, Post 6 Dry Ridge; Melisa Jones, of Evansville (Ind.), Post 16 Henderson; Alison O’Bryan, of Frankfort, KSP Headquarters Communications Center Frankfort; Jonathan Chisolm, of Eminence, Post 5 Campbellsburg; Melissa Allen, of Franklin, Post 3 Bowling Green and Tony Cornwell, of Paducah, Post 1 Mayfield.
Twelve Kentucky State Police telecommunicators from throughout the commonwealth were recognized on Aug. 17 at graduation ceremonies for the first class of the agency’s new telecommunications academy.
“Telecommunicators play a vital role in the successful delivery of our public safety operations,” said Kentucky State Police Commissioner Rodney Brewer. “They are a life-line for our troopers and officers in the field, providing critical functions that add to the efficiency and effectiveness of our emergency response. The investment in training for these individuals will pay valuable dividends to the citizens of the state for years to come.” Read more.
KSP Oversees Safety at 150th Anniversary Event
Submitted by Les Williams, Kentucky State Police
Kentucky State Police Tpr. Paul Blanton, of Post 7 in Richmond, talked with Confederate re-enactors at the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Perryville Oct. 6. (Photo by Les Williams, KSP Public Affairs Branch)
Troopers from Post 7 in Richmond provided traffic control services for the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Perryville Oct. 6, 2012. The annual reenactment commemorates the largest Civil War battle in Kentucky, which occurred on Oct. 8, 1862 and involved 22,000 Union and 16,000 Confederate troops. While considered a tactical victory for the South, the battle was a strategic victory for the North, since the Southern force withdrew to Tennessee and the Union maintained control of the state for the rest of the war.
Smith Receives National Recognition
Submitted by Jacqueline E. Korengel, Council on Post-Secondary Education
Rae Smith, associate and chief examiner, Kentucky Adult Education, Council on Postsecondary Education, was nationally recognized by GED® Testing Service (GEDTS™), a joint venture between American Council on Education (ACE) and Pearson, for her dedicated service.
In addition to her duties as an examiner, Smith helps ensure her fellow examiners have the resources they need. She hosts an annual Examiner Institute and went above and beyond to create an on-demand, online course which is now available nationwide through GEDTS™.
Typically most of us don’t welcome change; however, Rae has enthusiastically embraced and expressed her excitement over the announced changes to the GED® test and arrival of computer-based-testing (CBT). She has been invaluable – anticipating needs and potential challenges – working with GEDTS™ and Pearson VUE to establish CBT pilots.
When asked to describe their experience working with Rae, staff said, “…an amazing experience. She is highly knowledgeable…is a consummate professional, who always goes the extra mile for her team. Her integrity and strong moral compass guide her decision-making.” She is revered for her excellent customer service ethos and unflappable positive attitude. They have expressed their gratitude for her contagious passion for what she does and enlightened attitude with which she embraces and implements technology (e.g., encouraging use of social media, etc.).
While soft spoken and humble, Rae’s wealth of knowledge, willingness to share and, in many cases, coaching of her colleagues on the intricacies of GED® administration, appear limitless.
Kentucky State Police Announce Civilian Employee of the Year and Other Awards
Submitted by Les Williams, Kentucky State Police
Frankfort resident Lori Hunsaker (center) received her Kentucky State Police Civilian Employee of the Year award from Justice and Public Safety Cabinet Secretary J. Michael Brown (left) and Kentucky State Police Commissioner Rodney Brewer (right) Oct. 23. A native of Hazard, Hunsaker is a 17-year KSP veteran. She is the daughter of the late Paul Bailey and Carol Bailey of Hazard.
Twenty-five civilian employees were honored by the Kentucky State Police at a ceremony held Oct. 23 at the Capital Plaza Hotel in Frankfort.
Frankfort resident Lori Hunsaker was named 2012 KSP Civilian Employee of the Year. A 17-year veteran of the agency, Hunsaker is an Internal Policy Analyst II with the Public Affairs Branch at KSP headquarters in Frankfort.
Hunsaker earned the honor for her work in organizing relief efforts for victims of the tornados that devastated eastern Kentucky March 2, 2012. After the storms, she quickly organized a donation drive that involved a multitude of community partners and KSP personnel. Some of the challenges that she faced included storage for all donations, contact persons at each affected site, distribution networks and delivery routes. All of this occurred when those areas were without cell phone service and communication was limited.
She also organized a volunteer staff from KSP headquarters and Frankfort area employees to go to West Liberty and personally deliver donated items to members of the community.
In less than two weeks' time, Hunsaker's efforts resulted in 11 semi-trailers, eight box trucks and four school buses being filled with donations and delivered to Morgan, Menifee, Pendleton, Laurel, Floyd, Johnson, Grant and Kenton counties. She personally delivered items to more than 50 families in Morgan and Johnson counties.
A native of Hazard, Hunsaker is a 1984 graduate of Hazard High School. She is the daughter of the late Paul Bailey and Carol Bailey, of Hazard.
“Lori’s unparalleled efforts are an example of the influence that one motivated person can have,” said KSP Commissioner Rodney Brewer. “She has spent so much time giving to others and providing for others that there is truly no measure of the impact that she has made. We are very lucky to have her as a part of our team.”
Other KSP civilian employees who received awards included:
Police Communications Support Award
Charles Broaddus, Police Telecommunicator Supervisor, Post 7-Richmond
Rebecca Henry, Police Telecommunicator II, Post 6-Dry Ridge
Marcus Lands, Police Telecommunicator II, Post 8-Morehead
James Offutt, Police Telecommunicator II, Post 2-Madisonville
Clerical Support Service Award
Patty Hedges, Administrative Specialist III, Public Affairs Branch
Susan Gardner, Administrative Specialist III, Operations Division
Cathy Meade, Administrative Specialist III, Post 1-Mayfield
Autumn Scruggs, Administrative Specialist II, Drug Enforcement/Special Investigations West
Driver Testing Administrative Support Award
Central Office: Lou Ann Clayton, Program Coordinator I
Region 1: Chasity Perry, Certified Driver Testing Administrator II
Forensic Services Support Award
Laboratory Analyst: Shannon Phelps, Forensic Scientist Specialist II, Central Laboratory Branch, Frankfort
Regional Laboratory Analyst: Tracy Easton, Forensic Scientist Specialist II, Jefferson Laboratory Branch, Louisville
Forensic Laboratory Supervisor: Jeremy Triplett, Forensic Laboratory Supervisor,
Central Laboratory Branch, Frankfort
Commercial Vehicle Support Award
Carolyn Collins, Office Support Assistant II, Region 4-London
Billy M. Taylor, CVE Inspector II, Region 2-Louisville
Administrative Support Service Award
Jay Jacobs, Program Coordinator, Recruitment Branch
Lori Hunsaker, Internal Policy Analyst II, Public Affairs Branch
Administrative Support Supervisor Award
Phyllis Holcomb, Administrative Branch Manager, Supply Branch
Scientific Support Service Award
John Bruner, Polygraph Examiner III, Polygraph Section
Computer Technology Technical Support Award
Kent Kilgore, Systems Engineer IT, Communications and Computer Technologies Branch
Records Technical Support Service Award
Serenity Metcalf, Program Coordinator, Sex Offender Registry
Maintenance Support Service Award
Dennis Givens, Maintenance Worker II, Supply Branch
Communications Technical Support Award
Brian Heise, Network Analyst III, Communications Section-Post 7
Properties Management & Supply Technical Support Service Award
Estill Keith, Automotive Body Repairer II, Supply Branch
Operational Support Award
Shayla Burris, Criminal Intelligence Analyst II, Intelligence Branch
“These award winners represent the best of the best of our civilian employees,” said Brewer. “They truly are the underpinning of the Kentucky State Police and epitomize the professional image that we constantly strive to project.”