MCARTHUR — Megan Macke of Vinton County has received a 2021 Jenco Award from the Foundation for Appalachian Ohio’s Jenco Foundation Fund for her dedication to education and community service in Vinton County.
The Jenco Awards recognize Appalachian Ohio’s unsung heroes who have devoted themselves to direct, caring action that contributes to quality of life in Appalachian Ohio.
The awards are named for Father Lawrence Martin Jenco, a Roman Catholic priest who committed his life to the service of others. Most notably, in the 1980s, Father Jenco served as the director of Catholic Relief Services in Lebanon, where he was kidnapped and spent 19 months in captivity.
Even in confinement, Father Jenco continued to serve, providing a listening ear for other detainees, including journalist Terry Anderson. Following Father Jenco’s death in 1996, Anderson wanted a way to honor Father Jenco’s legacy of compassion and giving, so he created the Jenco Foundation.
Macke is an educator who works to meet community needs in Vinton County through creative endeavors and encourages a culture of civic engagement and service learning.
As a 4-H advisor, Macke has led youth in community projects and developed the Farm to Family program to support families by addressing food insecurity. Over the years, Macke and her students have established a school store and garden and have started an anti-bullying club.
“Receiving the Jenco award is a wonderful surprise,” Macke said. “Community service is a work of passion that I can share with my students. I love being able to provide them with opportunities for character growth through service while helping them realize that giving is free, and the reward is priceless.”
Since 2002, the Jenco Awards have recognized visionary leadership in the service of others throughout Appalachian Ohio. Nominated by fellow community members who witness their service and leadership in action, Jenco Awardees are selected through a formal committee review process. Jenco Awardees receive an individual cash award to use in the manner most appropriate to their leadership.
“Once again, our Appalachian Ohio communities offer an abundance of candidates who are making a difference in our region,” said Jack Wright, Jenco Foundation Fund committee member. “The five individuals chosen to be 2021 Jenco Award recipients exemplify through their selfless dedication to service the qualities demonstrated by Father Jenco.”