Recognizing and honoring our donors, volunteers and faithful friends are certainly a reason to celebrate our ample blessings, and United Church Homes did so graciously at our recently concluded 2015 Donor Appreciation Dinners. Each healthcare community and our affordable housing communities hosted a banquet recognizing the many and varied ways people give back to United Church Homes and those we serve.
Three distinct awards were presented at each dinner — with each award designed to focus on our donors, volunteers and church support that we so gratefully receive.
United Church Homes’ origins are humble and spring forth from a simple action: a group of faithful people who saw a need for social reform and responded. Rev. Dr. Ben M. Herbster is a representative of those faithful individuals. Rev. Herbster had a love for the church and for people — particularly those marginalized and suffering because of injustice.
As the first president of the United Church of Christ, Rev. Herbster led the way in theological discussion during the Civil Rights movement. In retirement, he continued his leadership by extending his passion toward the work of caring for seniors through his participation on the United Church Homes Board of Directors, during a decade of significant expansion for UCH and amid major societal changes for our eldest and most in need.
His vision, compassion, quiet witness and the way he lived inspired United Church Homes to name its highest honor, the Ben M. Herbster Award, after him. This is the longest standing recognition offered by UCH, with origins dating back more than 30 years.
Including our 2015 winners, there have been more than 150 recipients of the Ben M. Herbster Award. Several past recipients continue to be valuable leaders in our communities, and continue to be a part of our banquets.
The Ben M. Herbster Award Recipients for 2015:
- Housing Services: Rev. Louis and Mrs. Mary Anna Speller
- Chapel Hill Community: Pat and Wayne Pressler
- Fairhaven Community: Bruce J. Angell
- Four Winds Community: Richard P. LeGrand
- Parkvue Community: Robert J. and Betty M. Walker
- Patriot Ridge Community: Dr. Sally Caraballo
- Trinity Community: Adelle B. Elshoff
The Spirit Award is representative of the loyal volunteers who prefer to stay out of the spotlight as they serve from their hearts, not expecting any accolades. These volunteers maintain abiding devotion that make them the cornerstone for the ministry and mission of United Church Homes and its communities.
Volunteers exemplify “Spirit” because they are committed to caring, loving and serving. The Spirit Award is UCH’s opportunity to honor these loyal friends who mean so much to the service of our residents. The Spirit Award is developed to acknowledge these individuals’ commitments to service.
The Spirit Award’s name is drawn from the UCH tagline of “Celebrating the Spirit,” which pays tribute to the Holy Spirit’s intercession in our lives. This is the third year for Spirit awards to be given to volunteers.
The ministry of United Church Homes was started because of the vision and commitment of local churches and their members. For 99 years they have supported our mission, and in turn, what we do every day is an extension of their ministry.
The Diakonie Award is an attempt to convey our thanks for what these faithful and generous congregations continue to do. It is a way to remind us all that we are united in the vision to participate with the Spirit in creating abundant life, and that we are all in community together.
The Spirit Award Recipients for 2015:
- Housing Services: John T. Bertsch
- Chapel Hill Community: Barb MacDonald
- Fairhaven Community: Thia Roszman
- Four Winds Community: Alan and Sharon Jarvis
- Parkvue Community: Lou Dickman
- Patriot Ridge Community: Barbara Hall
- Trinity Community: George Schmitz
The Diakonie Award recognizes a congregation that supports the mission of UCH as they have done faithfully for many years. The award was introduced for the first time and presented in 2013. Over 350 churches help to support our mission. They are valuable to our communities and the outreach of our organization.
The Diakonie Award Recipients for 2015:
- Housing Services: South Haven United Church of Christ of Bedford
- Chapel Hill Community: Trinity United Church of Christ, Wooster
- Fairhaven Community: St. Paul United Church of Christ, Wapakoneta
- Four Winds Community: Orchard Hill United Church of Christ, Chillicothe
- Parkvue Community: Emmanuel United Church of Christ, Sandusky
- Trinity Community: Mt. Zion Church, Xenia