Mayor’s Community Service Awards: Indianapolis residents recognized in ceremony

Mayor’s Community Service Awards: Indianapolis residents recognized in ceremony

The programs pays tribute to residents volunteer their time and talents ‘toward the betterment of Indianapolis.’

INDIANAPOLIS — Nearly a dozen Indianapolis residents received recognition Wednesday in the Mayor’s Community Service Awards.

The program, held at the Indianapolis Artsgarden, pays tribute to “Indianapolis residents who have volunteered their time and talents towards the betterment of Indianapolis and those who call it home,” according to a press release from the mayor’s staff.

Wednesday’s awards covered nominations made between March 2019 and March 2021.

“On behalf of a grateful city, I want to thank these honorees for their dedicated service to our community,” said Mayor Joe Hogsett. “During a difficult period, their light shined in our neighborhoods, helping make a difference on a number of diverse issues.”

Category: Accessibility & Inclusion | Organization: Central Indiana Association of Black Social Workers

Catina Anderson is an enthusiastic advocate for cultural competence, diversity, social justice, and equity principles. She is invested in building bridges that will empower children, families, and communities that are vulnerable and underserved. She authentically engages others in dialogue that will illuminate, educate, and inspire growth. Catina has a strong and positive reputation as a social work professional and compassionate leader on the local, statewide, and national levels. Her work includes organizing educational events including Black History, Juneteenth, Kwanzaa, Women’s History, Social Work Month, as well as initiatives for Child Abuse Month, Sexual Assault Month, Mental Health Month, and numerous health disparities such as HIV, and COVID-19.

Category: Education; Youth | Organization: Marion County 4-H

For over 25 years, Linda Bauknecht has been a shining light for young people in Marion County 4-H. Linda pours her whole heart into her volunteer work, and has positively impacted hundreds of children in Marion County as a servant leader. She leads three Marion County 4-H clubs in the Beech Groove area, where she encourages young folks to learn and grow. Linda leads the 4-H Junior Leaders club, and encourages her teens to give back to the community in many ways. Every year, the group cooks a meal for families at the Ronald McDonald House, volunteer for outdoor projects with IndyParks, and create food bags for individuals experiencing homelessness.

Category: Health Care | Organization: Minority Health Coalition of Marion Co./Presidents Roundtable

Jarnell Burks-Craig has been a passionate advocate for numerous health issues and quality of life that affect the day-to-day of minority and underrepresented communities. She currently serves as the volunteer Interim Executive Director of the Minority Health Coalition of Marion County providing over 30 hours of pro-bono service to the community. Jarnell is a tireless fundraiser for many causes, but her emphasis must forward advances for the betterment of healthcare in Indianapolis. Among her other community causes are the Indianapolis Chapter of Links, Inc., the Coalition of 100 Black Women, Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, life member of the NAACP, National Council of Negro Women, Stanley K. Lacey Executive Leadership Alumni, United Way Minority Key Club, the Presidents Roundtable and the Indiana Housing Authority where she has served in a leadership capacity in all entities.

Category: Accessibility & Inclusion | Organization: Damien Center

Gary Elder has made an immeasurable impact and provided countless hours of service over the past 20 years as a passionate advocate for those living with and affected by HIV, as a leader who has guided the Damien Center as it has expanded to meet the needs of the community, and as a devoted volunteer who has given his time and talent selflessly. Over the years he has continued to serve and has committed to supporting local people with HIV, helping them live longer and healthier lives, and working to end the epidemic. Today, he continues to lead fundraising efforts, provide financial oversight, and mentor staff and other board members alike. Over the past year, Garry worked tirelessly to ensure that people who were immunocompromised and had other critical needs during the COVID-19 pandemic were still able to receive food, secure housing, medical assistance, and other support.

Category: Neighborhoods | Organization: Speedway Trails Association

Bev Katterhenry has been an agent of change for her community for decades. Her focus on connectivity through trail and greenway development has resulted in the completion of multiple trail projects in and around her community. Most recently, she is leading the development of the B&O Trail connecting the Town of Speedway to the communities and neighborhoods of the Near West and to downtown of Indianapolis. She volunteers weekly (10 – 20 hours) to manage the administration of the Next Level Trail grant funds received from the DNR to complete the 1.75 miles connecting the westside of Indianapolis to downtown for the first time via the B&O Trail. Bev also hosts quarterly clean up events along the trail corridor to foster a culture of trail advocacy in multiple communities and supports ongoing fundraising campaigns in effort to fund the completion of a 5-mile trail loop in the Town of Speedway. 

Category: Neighborhoods | Organization: Norwood Neighborhood Association and SEND

Brenda McAtee has been a pillar, leader, and advocate for the Norwood community for over 20 years. Serving as the President of the Norwood Neighborhood Association, Brenda has worked tirelessly to ensure Norwood has the same access to resources, development, and support as other neighborhoods in the area. Brenda is also responsible for coining the “Norwood Pride” slogan used by neighbors, during gatherings, and to represent the passion and pride of residents. Over the years Brenda has participated in a variety of community and neighborhood focused activities, including offering summer camps for neighborhood children, care during the school year, and providing food to families in need. Brenda is known for regularly walking the neighborhood, greeting any newcomers, and ensuring that they feel welcome and a part of the community that has long lived in the area. Without Brenda, Norwood would not have had as strong of a voice through the years. Her advocacy, volunteer time, and love for her neighbors continues to make a difference for this small often overlooked neighborhood.

Steve and Jennifer Sanner

Category: Sports | Organization: Indiana Sports Corp

During this year’s March Madness, Steve and Jennifer Sanner volunteered their time to orchestrate the laundry operations for the 68 visiting teams. The Sanners spent countless hours working with local laundromats, dry cleaners, and a team of fellow volunteers on laundry logistics and infrastructure that needed to be put in place. They were responsible for washing all laundry for participating teams (including uniforms, practice gear, and travel apparel) and team personnel throughout the tournament. In the first two and a half days alone of the NCAA Tournament, their team of volunteers did 10,000 lbs. of laundry, including 1,500 game towels, 18 sets of uniforms, and 192 equipment bags of practice gear. The Sanners supervised volunteer laundry shifts 24 hours a day to ensure that all teams had clean practice gear and uniforms throughout their time in Indy. By the end of the tournament, the Sanners cleaned 14.2 tons of team laundry out of their operation at the Indiana Convention Center, in addition to sending 4.4 tons of personal laundry to area launderers and dry cleaners to take care of.

Category: Accessibility & Inclusion | Organization: November Project Indy

Jason Shaw volunteers as the leader of the local chapter for November Project, a global organization dedicated to making weekly fitness fun, accessible, and effective for anybody willing to wake up early for it. The group is an international organization with workout groups in 50+ cities worldwide, all led by volunteers. Jason has been voluntarily leading November Project for over 5 years now. Jason does not cancel workouts no matter the weather, time of year, or pandemic. During the latter, he led the group’s switch to a virtual, remote format before implementing a slightly altered, socially distant in-person version that’s still in place today. The group truly helps bring people together, and Jason is the consistent core person making that happen. He’s also led some very cool collaborative efforts with local non-profits like Keep Indianapolis Beautiful. That specific collaboration was and continues to take the shape of neighborhood cleanups with a jogging fitness element (plogging, as the activity is called). Jason helps lead collaborations with groups like Back on My Feet and Special Olympics as well, taking time not only during the week to lead workouts and highlight local events and raise awareness for attendees in personal or professional need, but also taking time on weekends to lead runs and volunteer events with the formerly homeless and with Special Olympics athletes.

Category: Youth; Sports | Organization: Pike Youth Soccer Club, Inc.

Bill Walter leads one of Indianapolis’ largest youth development organizations, serving 3,000 children a year in two Indy Parks. Bill has made a significant contribution to Indianapolis youth development for 20 years. Bill, by his servant leadership, is improving Indianapolis by providing children a safe place to play in Indy Parks, keeping children out of trouble and off the street. He routinely volunteers over 500 hours a year. His dedication and commitment to children serves as a model example of everything that is right in youth sports today.

Category: Neighborhoods; Education| Organization: Holy Cross Neighborhood Association

Kelly Wensing was a beloved leader and a force in the Indianapolis community. In addition to countless volunteer hours, board, and committee work, she served as NESCO president, Holy Cross Neighborhood president, HOA president, EDIN board member, and was one of the founding staff members of the Paramount Health Data Project. Kelly also served and supported the Eastside Games, bringing hundreds of neighbors and dozens of communities together each year. Kelly was a collaborator, a helper, and a believer who couldn’t—and wouldn’t—say no to service. She championed so many programs as vice president—and later president—of the Holy Cross Neighborhood, including everything from forging better relationships with the police and prosecutor’s office, to bringing in groups arranging donations to the local IFD house, to connecting neighbors in need during the pandemic to those who could help—something she worked on privately so as to maintain confidentiality. She fell in love with the Indianapolis food scene, befriended as many local chefs as possible, and celebrated their gifts to our local culture. Kelly was instrumental in raising thousands of dollars to assist the service industry through COVID-19 and had plans to continue those efforts.

(*This nomination was made posthumously. The nominee passed away unexpectedly in April 2021.)

Winners names will be engraved on individual bricks which will be added to the Mayor’s Volunteer Plaza along the downtown canal.

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