2020 Governor's Ambassador Award Winners
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Community Service and Volunteerism Award
Chris Meadows, Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources
Officer Chris Meadows is a conservation officer whose duties include protecting wildlife and enforcing fish and game laws. He consistently involves himself in youth programs related to Fish and Wildlife and provides community-oriented policing in Clay County. The pandemic created problems that no one could have expected. Officer Meadows identified needs that were not being met and took it upon himself to find ways to help families in Clay County. Every weekday, Officer Meadows went to the local elementary school to distribute meals. Officer Meadows also provided drop off service for those that did not have transportation. During this routine, he dropped off and picked up NTI instruction packets and homework since many of the families he served did not have access to the internet. Because of these actions and many more, Officer Meadows is making a positive impact on the community he serves.
Susan Powell, Department for Community Based Services
Susan Powell is a Social Service Clinician II who works diligently to help lift families up and provide them resources to prevent removal of children, despite the limited resources available and the extra hours of work required. She spends hours following up and has been known to hunt for beds, clothes, food, and even apartments to make sure that children are safe. She make suggestions and advocates for changes in processes that might make resources more accessible for those she serves. Additionally, her knowledge as a paramedic has been invaluable. She truly embodies servant-leadership through her actions. To say that Susie has gone above and beyond during this pandemic is an understatement.
Jeremy Cook, Kentucky Department of Parks
On September 9, 2019, Ranger Jeremy Cook responded to an incident at Kincaid Lake State Park. A submerged vehicle had rolled into the lake with a 5 year old child trapped inside! Ranger Cook immediately responded by swimming in the lake until he was able to locate the vehicle which was submerged 10 feet underwater. With the help of a park maintenance worker, Ranger Cook secured the boat and after several attempts was able to break the window of the submerged vehicle. Due to Ranger Cook's quick response, along with the assistance of others, the child was removed and transported to a hospital where he made a full recovery. These actions were above and beyond the call of duty. Ranger Cook brought honor to himself as well as the Kentucky State Parks Ranger Division.
Customer Service Award
Tammy Morgan, Department of Public Advocacy
Tammy Morgan is a Systems Consultant whose job duties include maintaining the client database, help employees in the field keep up with the data, and running reports to assist attorneys. When COVID-19 hit, there was great concern over how to protect our attorneys from exposure to the virus as well as our clients who had not been bailed out. DPA attorneys have to file motions seeking individual relief on behalf of all clients and we did not have the ability to separate out clients who were releasable from those who were not. At our final group meeting, Tammy announced that she had figured out a solution to our problem. She worked tirelessly to perfect the lists and electronically send out all the completed motions to each of the 34 trial offices. The generation of over 4,000 motions, filed in such a short period of time, was unprecedented. None of it was possible had Tammy not been eager to help, and highly skilled to pull this off. Now, we have the blueprint for how to do this again, should the need arise. Clearly, this was service in the highest degree for DPA's clients.
Jennifer Withrow, Office of Vocational Rehabilitation
Jennifer Withrow is an Administrative Branch Manager who embodies the ideals of an effective leader. Jennifer makes it a point to lend her talents to others and look for ways to improve outcome measures to help bring positive change to those in need. Jennifer has volunteered to provide both formal and informal mentorship to students and early career professionals interested in working in the service fields. She is always willing to serve on boards, task forces, and advisory councils to lend her expertise in areas addressing areas such as disabilities, juvenile justice, human trafficking, and trauma informed care. Jennifer has dedicated her personal and professional lives to be of service to her staff and the citizens of Kentucky and she does so with a professional demeanor and positive attitude.
Professional Achievement Award
Andy Sims, Unified Prosecutorial System, Commonwealth's Attorney
Andy Sims has served the Office of Commonwealth's Attorney for over 15 years. He has shown incredible leadership, compassion, and integrity setting the bar with his relentless commitment to serve the citizens of Jessamine and Garrard Counties. His career as a prosecutor has been highly successful and continues to inspire his staff and those who work with him. His objective is always to seek and uphold truth and justice throughout the 13th Judicial Circuit. Andy strives to maintain a high level of professionalism, while providing comfort and understanding to the population most affected by the crimes his office prosecutes. Andy has implemented and expanded on new practices and procedures introduced during his tenure. He also has a keen eye for recognizing and capitalizing on the strengths of his employees. He understands the importance of making his staff feel valued. The only turnover his office has experienced has been due to retirement. Andy truly goes above and beyond to meet the needs of those in the communities he serves.
Commonwealth Office of Technology, Finance and Administration Cabinet
Most state employees are standing entirely on the shoulders of the Commonwealth Office of Technology (COT) to keep our respective agencies functioning despite the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic. Often working from home, we are completely reliant on the COT network, and the work COT staff performs every day to keep it up and operating. Throughout the COVID-19 crisis, they have performed flawlessly in assisting agency's response. Whatever our needs, problems, concerns, or issues - COT has had quick, easy to understand and comprehensive answers. They have provided the information and context needed to create enterprise level solutions. It would be impossible for any other agency to continue functioning and serving the public without limited staff physically present in state offices. Now, more than ever, the people at COT are invaluable to the Commonwealth.