FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 13th, 2016
Locals recognized for sustainable practices at Rural Action’s Annual Meeting
THE PLAINS, Ohio — On Saturday, June 11th, Rural Action held its 25th Annual Meeting at Fur Peace Ranch in Pomeroy, Ohio. The meeting brought together over 100 Rural Action members, community leaders, partners, and local entrepreneurs who shared ideas, practices, and discussed ways to continue to engage and improve local communities and the environment in Appalachian Ohio.
A ceremony also took place to honor Rural Action’s 2016 Sustainability Award recipients. Each year Rural Action recognizes an individual, a business, and a partner that create new models for living with respect to the earth and its systems that others can follow; have a generous spirit and willingly share knowledge, experiences, and personal resources with others; and leave the world a better place because of their personal and professional behavior.
Ann Moneypenny received this year’s Sustainable Livelihood Award. She and her husband, Michael Kleinman, have been determined to provide quality housing in Athens, Ohio, and Kleinpenny Rentals is now focused on making all of their properties more energy efficient. In late 2010, she focused on establishing the Kleinpenny Educational Fund which provides yearly support to 22 local non-profits, including Rural Action, and she has been chairing the Rental Efficiency Committee of Upgrade Athens County since 2014.
“I’m thankful to be able to offer financial support to our community, but it’s working each year with OU’s Moveout, coordinated by Rural Action, and each day at Upgrade Athens County that makes my life feel more valuable,” said Moneypenny. “I highly recommend volunteer work, whatever you’re passionate about; helping makes you feel better and more connected to the love in this world.”
OhioHealth O’Bleness Hospital received the Sustainable Business Award. With ongoing support from Rural Action, O’Bleness has launched a successful recycling program that has allowed them to get rid of two dumpsters and they have made a commitment to further reducing the amount of waste produced at their facilities.
“We are honored to receive Rural Action’s Sustainability Award,” said Sydney Weber, Director of Marketing and Communication and Chair of OhioHealth O’Bleness Hospital’s Sustainability Committee. “Our mission is to improve the health of those we serve and we know that maintaining a healthy environment is central to increasing quality of life and years of healthy life. Through our partnership with Rural Action, we have started to address ways in which the hospital can positively impact our environment and further support the long-term health of our local communities.”
Community Food Initiatives received the Sustainable Partner Award. Focusing on gardening and skill building, CFI helps feed those in need and ensures that everyone has access to healthy local food. Rural Action and Community Food Initiatives have a longstanding collaborative relationship stemming from a shared dedication to the regional food system. In 2015, CFI distributed a total of 86,991 pounds of food to pantries in Athens, Morgan, and Vinton counties. Past recipients of this award include Athens County City Schools, Hocking College, and Trimble Local Schools.
Carol Kuhre, a founding member of Rural Action and the organization’s first Executive Director, keynoted the event with a presentation on how local people are a force for positive community change and why sustainable development is the key to ensuring healthy, prosperous communities for the long-term. An active volunteer in groups dedicated to social justice and environmental issues, she was also presented with the Lifetime Achievement Award.
Michelle Decker, the current CEO of Rural Action, said, “It only makes sense that Carol would be a Lifetime Achievement Award recipient, both for the literal lifetime achievement of building Rural Action and the constant social justice work she has done in the Athens County community on many, many fronts. Carol has not simply done things in life, she will leave things – people whose hearts are changed, organizations with vision, and friends and family who will carry on her ideas. We really cherish her as a major force for the good that has happened and is happening in this corner of the world.”
Three new board members were also brought on to the organization, including Richard Wetzel, the current mayor of Chesterhill, Ohio; Carol Davey-Sayre, the Empower G&E Rental Efficiency Manager; and Dave Simon, longtime Planning Analyst at Ohio University.
Rural Action is a member-based sustainable community development organization. Their mission is to foster social, economic, and environmental justice in Appalachian Ohio. Learn more about Rural Action at www.ruralaction.org. You can also keep up with their work on Facebook, Twitter, Linked in, and Instagram.
Media & Communications Manager