Feltner, other community health champions recognized

LEXINGTON, Ky. (WTVQ/Press Release) – Dr. Frances Feltner, director of the Center for Excellence in Rural Health, was named the statewide Community Health Champion this week at the inaugural Community Health Champions Awards, sponsored by WellCare of Kentucky.

The ceremony was held virtually on Oct. 28 to recognize honorees across the commonwealth.

“Dr. Feltner represents exactly the type of service, commitment, and passion that we want to support in Kentucky,” said Ben Orris, chief operating officer for WellCare of Kentucky. “We know that people like Dr. Feltner help make Kentucky communities healthier.”

Felter was one of nine grassroots Kentucky leaders chosen from more than 200 nominees to be honored for their volunteerism and service in public health. One winner was selected from each of the eight Kentucky regions, while Dr. Feltner, who works in Hazard, was named the overall statewide winner.

WellCare of Kentucky awarded a $3,000 grant to the organization that nominated each of the eight regional winners and a $5,000 grant to the Center for Excellence in Rural Health in Dr. Feltner’s name.

In Dr. Feltner’s nomination, she was described as someone who not only illuminates rural health challenges through research, but also advocates for rural health care in Washington D.C. and Frankfort, and works on a personal level to serve individual patients, oftentimes rolling up her sleeves to help clients in need.

“I see our Community Health Champions as examples of the best of Kentucky,” Orris said. “Each of these individuals have worked to ensure that Kentuckians are physically, emotionally, and mentally healthy – and they did it in deeply personal ways, giving their time, talent, and heart in the process.”

Regional winners Included:

Region 1: Grace Stewart, Intervention Program Director for Lotus in Paducah, has served more than 700 people affected by child abuse or sexual violence. She has also trained hundreds of professionals on best practices for working with individuals who have experienced trauma.

Region 2: Jennifer Allen, Chair of the Board of Directors for the Senior Community Center of Owensboro-Daviess County, Inc., has volunteered more than 2,000 hours over the past nine years. She helped launch a meal delivery service that has provided over 12,000 meals to seniors.

Region 3: Amy Leenerts, Founder of Free2Hope, Inc. in Louisville, created an organization devoted to educating the community and to supporting female victims of domestic violence, sex crimes, and human trafficking.

Region 4: Trevor Tucker, a volunteer coach and mentor for Phoenix Wellness/Phoenix Racing in Somerset, spends hours each week coaching runners; ensuring each student has the equipment, clothes and transportation they need to participate; and leading the team in giving back to the community.

Region 5: Wayne McNiel has volunteered at Rapha Ministries Inc. in Winchester for eight years, serving the community by Beta testing medical programs, collecting Christmas gifts for local families, and serving on the board of directors to further support the program.

Region 6: Amy Cooley, Early Childhood Community Connector for Erlanger Elsmere Schools, developed the partnerships that make up the Erlanger Elsmere Early Childhood Community Collaborative and opened a community center in a large mobile home park housing 150 families and providing needed community services.

Region 7: Todd Young, Director of the Neighborhood in Ashland, has worked to create a space where people can get everything they need to stabilize their situations and access programs that set them up for success, coordinating nine care agencies, along with additional organizations and churches, in one physical place.

Region 8: Scott McReynolds, Executive Director of the Housing Development Alliance in Hazard, leads a staff that builds 20 new homes in a year for low-income families and has launched an on-the-job construction training program for men and women in recovery.

Winners also received an original piece of artwork created by Jennifer Robertson, an eastern Kentucky welder and artist. The award was a metal sculpture that depicts Kentucky with a rising mountain and sun behind it. The event can be viewed at: https://youtu.be/IFmI0950_60

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