‘Amazing lineup’ to be honored at Middletown event

Several local adult leaders and high school students will be recognized Friday night during the 8th annual YMCA Celebration of Character event at the Windamere Event Venue.

Angela Howard, director of the Middletown YMCA, said the recipients are “true champions” in their respective categories: youth development, healthy living and social responsibility.

“It’s an amazing lineup,” Howard said of the adult and student honorees.

T. Duane Gordon, executive director of the Middletown Community Foundation, will receive the Youth Development award. He has worked extensively with youth programs in the area as president of the Kiwanis Club and as a reader to elementary students.

“Youth are the future,” Gordon said. “If we don’t work with young people, they won’t be prepared when it’s time for them to take over.”

Giving back was taught to Gordon as a child, he said. His mother always made sure he had change to put in the Salvation Army kettles every Christmas and a dollar to put in the collection plate each Sunday at church.

“Part of our mission as humans is to give back,” he said.

Carol Turner, CEO/president of Atrium Medical Center, will be honored with the Healthy Living award.

“This is a great honor to be recognized by the Middletown Area YMCA, and Premier Health’s mission is to improve the health of the communities we serve in collaboration with important partners such as the area YMCAs,” Turner said. “Next year (2017) marks the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Middletown hospital and our services continue to evolve to meet the health needs of the community.”

The Social Responsibility award will be given to Pastor Lamar Ferrell from Berachah Church.

While he said he appreciates the award, Ferrell prefers to deflect the attention.

“It’s not about me, but a reflection on what the Lord has given me as an opportunity,” he said. “I like to stand behind Him, let Him get the glory for it.”

Judy Bober, assistant director at Cincinnati State Middletown, will receive the Perry Thatcher Humanitarian award. The award is named after Thatcher, a Middletown businessman who funded numerous organizations and programs.

Bober served as his personal assistant for 10 years before his death in January 2010.

She called winning an award named after her former boss “very nice” because she knew Thatcher as a person and a humanitarian.

“It’s very humbling,” she said. “My goodness … just to be in the same category as him.”

The Andrew Worley Award, named in memory of the standout swimmer from Franklin High School who was killed in an auto accident on July 9, 2009, will be given to Will Thomas.

Fifteen high school students will receive Teens of Character awards and one local college student will also be recognized. Those students are:

  • Allison Byrd, Madison
  • Lindsey Chapman, Middletown
  • Jae'Sha Dean, Madison
  • Clayton Garner, Madison
  • Collin Ginnan, Fenwick
  • Logan Gomia, Madison
  • Noah Johns, Middletown
  • Eliah Jones, Middletown
  • Ethan Limon, Madison
  • Marquise Petty, Middletown
  • Brianna Reeves, Butler Tech
  • Mackenzie Stewart, Madison
  • Daniel Sturgis, Madison
  • Shelby Swanger, Middletown
  • Taylor Underhill, Middletown
  • Sarah Wright, Miami University Middletown

Kendall Wright will serve as master of ceremonies for the event that starts at 6 p.m Friday at the Windamere Event Venue, 2 S. Main St.

Tickets are $60 for adults and $35 for youth. Call 513-422-9622 for more information.