Each year at its annual meeting, the Northwest Civic Association presents the Anna Mildred Henderson Award for Community Service to an individual or organization in Franklin County who has provided outstanding volunteer service that improves local neighborhoods.
This award is a memorial to Anna Henderson, a founder of NWCA in 1967. The Henderson Family farmed the land around their home, located at the northwest corner where Henderson Road and Kenny Road intersect, for many decades before the land was incorporated into Columbus.
Anna Henderson recognized that, as Columbus expanded, a citizen organization like NWCA should influence development. In many ways, she championed grassroots citizen activism and improved local neighborhoods.
Past recipients of the award come from all areas of Franklin County. Some were affiliated with a civic association, an area commission, or a volunteer agency, while others quietly helped their neighbors without public recognition or fanfare.
Nominate a Special Volunteer for the
Anna Mildred Henderson Award!
(click here to download and print PDF form).
Please note that all reporting is contemporary at the time of the award.
2017 – Nominations closed (due by May 1, 2017)
2014-16 – (no awards presented)
2013 – Carol Ann Baker
Carol grew up in Bay Village, Ohio. As a teenager, she volunteered with Girl Scouts at summer day camps and swimming programs, and worked in a local hospital kitchen and served meals to patients.
She and her husband, John (d. 2006), had two children, John (b. 1966) and Amy (b. 1968), and four grandchildren, two boys and two girls, ages 13-17.
Undergraduate nursing at OSU, 1958
Masters in Nursing at OSU, 1972
• Taught 3rd-year and graduate School of Nursing students about tumor surgery (oncology) and the healing power of food
PhD in Nursing at University of Illinois (Chicago), 1985
• Commuted for much of six and a half years – fly in on Tuesday morning, fly home that night
• Received appointment at the brand-new James Cancer Hospital doing quality assurance
After thirty years at OSU, she retired in 1995 at the age of 60 with a goal of doing something different. On one hand, she continued to volunteer at the College of Nursing by raising money (development), and on the other, she extended her volunteerism to outreach programs at her church.
Wanting to help feed the homeless, she first joined the Fourth Monday Group in 1995. In 1997, the person in charge of organizing meals every Monday was about to retire and needed a replacement, so Carol raised her hand, “I’ll do it.” Her husband looked at her, “Will you please stop raising your hand?”
So now she feeds homeless adults, nearly all of them men. As the Friends of the Homeless Mission (Carpenter’s Shelter) grew, the women moved out from the basement to Rebecca’s, a shelter for about 50 women on the near east side (Livingston and Nelson). Carpenter’s Shelter now has 130 beds, pretty much always full. The shelter is well monitored, with a curfew. Some of the men have jobs. Some are young, some older. Not all of them are fed every week, but they all need towels, washcloths, soaps, razors, and toothbrushes.
It takes about 15-20 people to purchase and prepare meals and about 7-8 people to serve them. She donates extra food to the YWCA Family Center, a downtown facility that was built through donations and serves as a national model for successful re-housing of the homeless.
Not always sympathetic by her own admission, but remarkably empathetic to those in need, she believes in a consistent helping hand to give the less fortunate among us a chance to rise from poverty.
Carol personally contributes about $60 a month out of pocket, plus mileage, and she’s good with coupons. She’s on the phone 6-10 hours per week, organizing other volunteers up to five months in advance. She bought a van seven years ago, and uses it to pick up food every Sunday except the first Sunday of the month, and distributes that food the next day. And most remarkably, she hasn’t missed one of her Monday deliveries in fifteen years!
Carol notes with irony the recognition that she receives for her volunteer work and service to others, “I’ve gotten more attention for this work that feeds me!”
2012 – Tom Zeak, “The Arrowhead Guy”
(The following text is excerpted from Mr. Zeak’s nomination by his daughter, Lee.)
Tom Zeak, my father, is a Primitive Technologist and Conservation Archeologist mentoring youth for over sixty-eight years. He is also the human dynamo behind the Future Artifacts of Ohio for 32 years and the Indian Lore Alliance.
The Future Artifacts of Ohio mission is to encourage creativity and have fun in the process by offering a unique, step-by-step method that successfully teaches children how to make arrowheads out of stained glass, flint and slate, and pump drill slate gorgets. These lessons help build self-esteem and confidence in the youth, teach Native American culture and survival skills, and build confidence and self-esteem. The youth solve problems, set and achieve goals, and develop fine motor skills and attention to detail. Since 1980, two hundred and fifty thousand youth have learned this art form.
If it weren’t for my father, my sister and I wouldn’t be where we are today. We lost our mother in 1998. I was eight and my sister six. I made the Dean’s List and graduated 10 Dec 2011 from The Ohio State University. My sister will graduate next year from Otterbein University.
However, Lee’s nomination of her father tells only part of the story. Mr. Zeak is a Boy Scouter for over 68 years (Eagle Award in 1949, Silver Beaver Award in 1995), and Ohio Veterans Hall of Fame Award winner in 2000 (U.S. Army service in Korea and Vietnam, and U.S. Air Force service at Hempstead Air Force Base in Florida). He worked as a physical therapist, creating new and innovative programs serving disable veterans, and volunteering his time especially with Air Force amputees in Florida and Ohio. Mr. Zeak is a Life Member of the Disabled American Veterans and the recipient of the Ohio State Commanders Award for Outstanding Disabled Veteran of the Year in 1994. In 2003, SNP Newspapers selected him for its Young at Heart Senior of the Year for his work with Central Ohio youth.
For his service to his county, its veterans, and the youth of our community, the NWCA is proud to honor Mr. Tom Zeak as our 2012 recipient of the Anna Mildred Henderson Award.
2011 – Jennifer Adair
Anna Mildred Henderson was committed to lifelong volunteering efforts that improve her community, northwest Columbus. Jennifer has a continuing commitment to the neighborhood where she grew up, to her high school and law school, and to the neighborhood she now calls home.
Jennifer’s awareness of community involvement started in grade school when her father, Jim Adair, served as President of the NWCA Board of Trustees in the 1980s.
As a senior at Centennial High School, Jennifer served on the NWCA Board as a student trustee. She continues to support her high school as the Mock Trial coach since 2004, her class reunion committee chair, National Honor Society induction speaker (2007), and the Black History speaker (2007).
Jennifer attended Northwestern University as an undergraduate, during which she participated in many activities and served on various boards and committees. She remains active in many alumni activities.
For law school, Jennifer attended Capital University, and upon graduation worked in the Ohio Attorney General office. She received the Capital University Alumni Outstanding Service Award (2008) and the Ohio State Bar Foundation Community Service Award for Attorneys 40-and-under for District 7 (2010). She is published in the Columbus Bar Association’s Lawyers Quarterly magazine, and has presented at continuing education seminars.
Jennifer rejoined the NWCA in 2007, and served during the next three years as Secretary, Vice President, and President, while heading many of our committees. The NWCA is near and dear to her heart, and her family keeps her updated about NWCA and our community.
Unfortunately, Jennifer moved out of our area when she bought her first home. Shortly after moving into her new home, she became the founding member of the Maize Road Civic Association. She drafted their constitution and coordinated their strategic plan. She also joined the Northland Village Citizen Advisory Panel. She wasted no time getting involved in her new neighborhood.
It is the sheer number of things to which Jennifer has committed that makes her unique, with the love she has for her old neighborhood and the hopes she has for her new one.
2010 – Rosemarie Lisko
As a young mother, Rosemarie took pride in getting involved in her children’s schools, and served as a volunteer librarian and PTO president. When she moved to Columbus, she became very active in her neighborhood association and has served on its Executive Board for many years.
In 1998, she joined the NWCA and quickly became involved in major issues facing the northwest community. Soon after, she became a Trustee and held the offices of President and Treasurer. She also served as Zoning, Code Enforcement and Student Intern Chair. Some of her proudest accomplishments were the development and revision of the Northwest Plan, and fighting for sidewalks in the community.
Although she left the Board a few years ago, she remains a constant fixture at Board meetings and events. She volunteers as the current Co-Chair of the Student Interns Committee, served on the Strategic Planning Committee and participated in every Community Clean-Up. She is truly a fantastic neighbor and someone who is firmly on our side.
(In 2011, Rosemarie agreed to return to the NWCA board and serve as the Chair of the Zoning and Student Interns committees.)
2009 – Bob Thurman
Bob Thurman is a lifelong resident of Franklin County. He learned, early in his life, the phrase ‘pay it forward.’
After moving to Gahanna from Reynoldsburg in 1984, Bob found that there was no girls softball program. Young girls either played baseball on the boys’ teams or did not play at all. Bob worked with Gahanna Parks and Recreation Department to start a Girls Softball Program, which grew to nearly 250 girls in the first 5 years. He served for 3 years as director and coach.
Bob also joined the Gahanna Lions Club. He started the Care Package For Local Troops during Desert Storm. He worked with elementary students from Carpenter Road Elementary School and citizens of Gahanna collecting, packaging, and sending needed articles to troops. He also started the Homeless Night Out where fellow Lions, office holders, and volunteers spent a cold night in front of Gahanna City Hall collecting clothes and donations for the local homeless shelter and food bank. They collected over $1,500 and two truckloads of food and clothing.
In 1990, Bob and two other members founded Civic S.A.M. Homeowners Association. Civic S.A.M. served the neighborhoods bounded by Stygler, Agler, and McCutcheon Roads. He served as President, Vice President, and Secretary for 12 years, during which he started a program to honor the Gahanna Police Officer and Firefighter of the Year.
In 1994, Bob became a Trustee with the Military Veterans Education Foundation (MilVets) serving veterans and their families in a seven-county area. MilVets puts on the Veterans Day Parade in downtown Columbus every year. MilVets also sponsors an annual Armed Forces Day Luncheon to honor service men and women currently serving, as well as those who have served in the military. During the event, members of the military are honored for their outstanding service and MilVets presents scholarships to students for their future education. He served as Vice President from 2007-2009. Currently he is President of the organization.
In 1998, Bob was one of the founding members of the Gahanna Veterans Memorial Committee and was one of the designers of the memorial. The Gahanna Veterans Memorial Committee holds a program on Memorial Day and Veterans Day in honor of our veterans. Bob continues to serve as a trustee of this organization.
When Bob moved to Albany Park in 2002, he became active in the homeowners association and was elected as one of the first trustees. He has served as a trustee for 5 years and currently serves as the Board President. Bob soon discovered that the Northland Community Council served his neighborhood area and was quick to join and represent Albany Park residents on the NCC council. He currently serves as Vice President of NCC and Vice Chair of the Development Committee.
In January, 2008 Bob faced a major setback. Due to a ruptured Achilles tendon and further medical complications, he had his right leg amputated below the knee. He soon found out that amputees were having a difficult time getting prosthetic limbs due to a lack of parity in Ohio. Health insurance companies will pay the surgical cost of amputating a limb; however, most insurance companies limit or eliminate prosthetic coverage. Some insurance companies even consider prosthetics to be “cosmetic.”
In September, Bob started the Buckeye Amputees for Acton, seeking legislation in Ohio to allow all amputees a chance to “retain and maintain their independence”. Bob is working tirelessly to get prosthetic fairness legislation passed. He is also trying to assist amputees without insurance, by providing financial assistance and guidance in acquiring their prosthesis and/or repairs to their existing prosthetic. In working with local prostheticists, Bob learned that Ohio colleges do not offer a program in prosthetics and orthotics. His organization hopes to provide scholarships to students entering the field of Prosthetics and Orthotics and encourage universities in Ohio to include a course of study in Prosthetics and Orthotics.
Bob Thurman is truly an inspirational man. He devotes so much of his time to his community, his fellow veterans, and now fellow amputees.
2008 – David W. Paul, Northland Community Council
Dave Paul, a native of Washington D.C., moved to the Columbus area in 1986. In October 2002, he moved to the Northland area. Seeking an assisted living facility for his ailing step-father, Dave found that his new Forest Park neighborhood lacked representation in the local civic association, and he immediately enlisted to be that representative, beginning his service even before he finished moving into his house.
- Dave currently serves as President of Northland Community Council, a coalition of more than 25 civic associations and other community organizations in northeast Columbus.
- He is a founding member of the NABA State Route 161 Task Force.
- He is Director of Northland Alliance, Inc., which was founded in 2001 to focus on strategic development in the Northland area of Columbus.
- He continues his service to the Forest Park Civic Association as Vice President.
- Dave currently chairs the Community Committee for Mayor Coleman’s Neighborhood Safety Working Group.
- He is a member and co-chair of the Neighborhoods and Quality of Life Focus Group, one of thirteen such groups that comprise Mayor Coleman’s 2012 Bicentennial Steering Committee.
- He is a member of the Citizen Advisory Committee to the Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission.
- He is a member of the Steering Committee for the Columbus Community Coalition.
- And he was a member of the recently-completed Area Commission/Civic Association Work Group, which reported to Columbus City Council.
One of Dave’s many strengths is his ability to bring together people with diverse perspectives, help them discover the common ground upon which they already agree, and then leverage that into a constructive dialog from which solutions to their problems emerge.
2007 – Juanita Kaufman, Southwest Area Commission
Juanita Kaufman is exceptionally well qualified for the Henderson Award. In fact, she shares many similarities with Anna Mildred Henderson. Ms. Kaufman has been a neighborhood activist for nearly two decades. She founded the Westbrook/Eastfield Neighborhood Association and a local block watch program and is a member of the Southwest Area Commission. She also chairs the local “National Night Out” program, which brings neighbors together for a parade, music games, food, and other activities at Finland Elementary School.
Ms Kaufman is an advocate for local residents with the Franklin Township Trustees on zoning, code enforcement, public safety, and other issues important to the quality of life in local neighborhoods. She has helped to build strong ties between local residents and the Franklin Township Police and Fire Departments, and organizes fire safety and crime prevention programs.
At the age of 84 years old, Ms. Kaufman is an exceptional example of a neighborhood leader. Ms. Kaufman received separate nominations for her from the Southwest Area Commission, the Franklin Township Board of Trustees, the Franklin Township Chief of Police, and the Franklin Township Fire Chief.
2006 – Pam Weaver, Hilltop
Pam Weaver is the recipient of the 2006 Henderson Award for her dedication to Hilltop neighborhoods over three decades. Weaver, a naturalized citizen who came to the United States from England, is widely known as “the person to call” if there is problem on the Hilltop. There is almost no area of the Hilltop her concern and leadership have not touched.
Since 1976, Weaver has devoted thousands of volunteer hours to improving the Hilltop – she has erected playground equipment at many schools and playgrounds; participated in Block Watch; helped repair and clean up the property of disabled neighbors; raised funds for a myriad of neighborhood groups; collected books for needy children; helped coordinate the “Up Town on the Hilltop Parade”; assisted with code enforcement; helped find Christmas presents for needy families; participated in neighborhood beautification (litter removal and flower planting); and worked to improve police/community relations.
“Pam Weaver exemplifies the kind of civic entrepreneurship that Anna Mildred Henderson championed. Her compassion and efforts have made a real difference in the lives of thousands of Hilltop residents. Northwest Civic Association is pleased to recognize these accomplishments,” said NWCA president Bill Schuck.
2005 – John W. Best, Far Northwest Coalition
The 2005 recipient of the Henderson award is John W. Best of northwest Columbus. He became an advocate for neighborhoods in the late 1980s when he perceived that inadequate infrastructure was impeding economic development and lowering the quality of life for local residents. His letters about the need to widen Interstate 270 were published numerous times in local newspapers. He worked for five years with federal, state, and local officials on a task force to obtain funding for the widening; and participated with the Governor in ceremonies when the renovated northwest outer-belt opened in 2000.
Mr. Best continues to support transportation improvements in northwest Franklin County. He helped convince the City to widen Hard Road. He served on MORPC’s Citizen Advisory Committee for three years and COTA’s Consumer Advisory Committee for two years. He is leading an effort to obtain improvements in State Route 161 between Dublin and Linworth Road.
Mr. Best has served for ten years as president of the Far Northwest Coalition, an umbrella organization for homeowner associations and local civic groups in the area bounded by State Route 161 on the south, the Delaware County line on the north, Sawmill Road on the west, and the Olentangy River on the east.