This Year's Models
It's not possible to look back over an entire year and include everyone who's had an impact on this community in a year-end "Hall of Fame" style spread. There are just too many to be counted.
In October, however, we began soliciting reader input and several names came up over and over. And so we present these noteworthy samples-a few individuals who've helped to shape the character of central Kentucky in arenas ranging from social justice to arts and culture and activism. This List is not intended to be all encompassing-it's not inclusive or exclusive-it's just a brief introduction to a few of the inspiring folks our staff and readers have met over the past year.
David Gillis went to the to the Salvation Army with a small group of friends two years ago to help serve brown bag lunches as a part of Lexington's Feed the Hungry program. He was so moved that he now has grown that program to the point where he and his family and any number of volunteers from many churches and the community provide between 300-600 lunches every Saturday, and they distribute food Monday and Tuesday nights.
He is investing a significant part of his life into serving others and is teaching his kids the value of serving those and sharing with those less fortunate. He drives a truck with "Feed the Hungry" on the window and always has food in the back so when he sees a homeless person, he stops and gives them food.
His day job is in management for Clark Distributing Company.
The reader who nominated him lauds him for his "unbelievable heart" as a person "who has served to challenge the status quo existence of many of us who have the chance to be around him!"
Fans of Robyn Miller's commitment to diversity in Lexington are as vocal as they are numerous.
Sandy Canon (NCCJ, Bluegrass Region) says, "I've known Robyn Miller through our work on the Leadership Initiative on Erasing Racism that began in November/December 2000."
That initiative has continued, including, as Canon describes, the "Leadership Summit with 300 community leaders present, and then the ongoing work of changing institutional barriers of inclusion evidenced in our fair city."
Canon concludes, "Throughout all of the work and the progress we have made with our partnership, Robyn is always able to put it into perspective, always there to give all of us hope that we can achieve that elusive goal of making Lexington a better place for all people, not just some of them."
Will Warner spent several years serving his country in the U.S. Navyand he is a Buddhist priest who heads a local worship group in Lexington.
(By day, he's a software engineer for Lexmark.)
Roberta Harding describes him as someone who, "has done an extraordinary amount of good for the local and state communities by following his belief in having compassion for everyone by working with an often despised and frequently forgotten segment of the population: those who are incarcerated. By establishing a prison ministry Will goes and meets with men at the local jail and in the general and death row populations at the state penitentiary in Eddyville, Kentucky. He provides a valuable service to these men and to society by assisting these individuals in developing an ability to experience and express compassion for others. Will's commitment to teaching this important value enhances the personal qualities of each man and provides a social benefit because with the knowledge they gained from Will, it is less likely that these men will reoffend if they reenter society." Harding also praises, "the power of Will's compassion [that] fuels his tireless efforts to abolish the death penalty in Kentucky. He selflessly devotes his time to meeting with organizations and individuals to discuss capital punishment issues and in particular the importance of expressing compassion towards everyone, including those who have done the greatest travesty of all, taking the life of another human being. In my view, Will Warner is one of those people who have made a valuable contribution towards improving all of our lives."
Close friends describe Gabrielle Ivey-Ingram as a woman who "makes things happen, " and as a "gift to our community."
Her name is almost always accompanied by a roster of her civic commitments.
Her friends tell us:
This is her fifth year as banquet chair for the annual YMCA Black Achievers Annual Awards Dinner.
She is chair of fund distribution for the United Way's "vision team."
She is chair of fund distribution for the Bluegrass Community Foundation; and "last but not least," she is on the advisory board of U.K. Children's Miracle Network.
In her "spare time," she has a full-time job as sales education manager at Lexmark
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