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Two cited by Oakwood Rotary for service

Ellen Ireland receives Civic Leadership Award

Carol Collins recipient of Community Service Award

Pictured, left to right: Mayor Judy Cook, Carol Collins and Ellen Ireland.

The Rotary Club of Oakwood has announced that they have selected Ellen Ireland as the recipient of their 2009 Civic Leadership Award and Carol Collins for their Community Service Award. The Civic Leadership Award honors an Oakwood citizen who has contributed significantly to the improvement and growth of the City of Oakwood or the Oakwood School District through their volunteer leadership efforts. The Community Service Award is bestowed on an Oakwood citizen who exemplifies community involvement, volunteerism and organizational leadership.

“The Oakwood Rotary Club makes these awards to encourage and recognize those among us who give generously of their free time to make Oakwood a better place to live” said Russ Maas, vocational service director for the club. “The club feels very strongly that supporting our community and recognizing this significant service is an important part of our mission.” The awards are accompanied by an Oakwood Rotary Foundation donation to the charity of the recipient’s choice in her name. Also, Ireland’s selection will be recognized on a perpetual plaque in the Oakwood Community Center, along with prior recipients of the Civic Leadership Award Dr. Mary Pryor, Harry Ebeling, Dr. Darrell Apt, Bill Kendell, Leigh Ann Fulford, Richard Good and Madeline Iseli.

In 2000, Ellen Ireland was asked to join the Executive Board of the Oakwood Schools Education Foundation (OSEF). She has since served as OSEF chair for seven of her nine years on the Board. As a result of her leadership, a strategic marketing and communication plan was launched, and a Master Plan to operationalize the Foundation’s mission was developed. In 2007, she co-chaired with Harry Ebeling the very successful Grants Endowment Campaign for the Foundation, which generated over $500,000 in new funds and pledges. She continuously works to improve the structure and depth of the Education Foundation volunteer committees and Advisory Council, and represents it well in the community and with the Oakwood Schools. In addition to her work with the OSEF, for the past 18 years, Ireland has been an active school volunteer and educational partner at Harman, OJHS, OHS, and Lange School. She served on the high school PTO Board and the District’s Academic Advisory Board among many other volunteer activities. “Oakwood students - past, present, and future - are the beneficiaries of Ms. Ireland’s selfless hard work on their behalf,” said Oakwood Superintendent Dr. Mary Jo Scalzo.

“I am humbled to be selected for this honor, as the Oakwood Rotary does wonderful things for our community and is a group of committed individuals who I appreciate and respect,” said Ms. Ireland. “My receiving this award is especially meaningful as it is a joy and privilege to help support the Oakwood Schools, our fabulous students and our terrific community.”

Carol Collins grew up in Van Wert, Ohio and is a 1974 graduate of the Ohio State University in Landscape Horticulture. Carol began her employment with the City of Oakwood in August 1974, and was the city’s first full-time horticulturist. Coinciding with the start of her employment, the city accepted the donation of a green lot and residence by Mr. and Mrs. Carlton Smith and since that time Carol has overseen the care and maintenance of Smith Gardens, and has actively been involved with the “Friends of Smith Gardens”, an organization created in 1988 to raise funds for the care and maintenance of the Gardens. Approximately eight years after Carol’s appointment, Oakwood was first recognized as a Tree City USA and has held that distinction for the past 27 consecutive years, the third longest tenure of any city in southwest Ohio. Carol was involved in the creation of the city’s Johnny Appleseed Tree Planting Program and currently oversees the city’s urban forestry program. In her role as horticulturist, one of Carol’s primary responsibilities was beautification efforts around the community and even today she remains heavily involved in that important function.

Recognizing Carol’s many and varied talents, the opportunity presented itself in January 1998 for Carol to assume an even more visible role in her service to the community. She was appointed to the position of Acting Leisure Services Director and became the Director three months later. Carol currently manages a budget of approximately $1.1 million, five full-time employees, numerous part-time and seasonal employees, as well as independent contractors. The Leisure Services Department currently offers more than 441 programs to citizens of all ages. Last year, more than 100,000 individuals participated in programs or events offered through the OCC. In addition to her myriad of duties as Leisure Services Director, Carol continues to oversee and be actively involved in the planning and administration of special events and community celebrations, including, but not limited to: Scarecrow Row and Family Fall Festival, the Ice Cream Social and Lighting Up Oakwood. Last year, Carol was intimately involved with many of the activities association with Oakwood’s Centennial Celebration. In August of this year, Carol will celebrate her 35th anniversary of serving the city of Oakwood with honor and distinction.

“My 35-year career as a public employee in Oakwood has gone by rapidly” said Ms. Collins. “I will always have a love for the city. I have been blessed with a wonderful fulfilling career and my favorite accomplishment is Smith Gardens which has won both local and national awards. I love working with the public and look forward to each and every day of work and sharing my experiences and expertise with the community.”

The Oakwood Rotary Club is comprised of men and women working to further the principles of truth, fairness and equality. The Club supports the community through its members’ volunteer activities and the fruits of their fundraising projects, such as That Day in May held in Oakwood each year. Funds raised are used to support local not-for-profits plus scholarships for high school students residing in Oakwood.

St. Paul’s priest visits African orphanage

It was a mission trip to Kenya, Africa to a remote orphanage for children who have lost their parents to AIDS that helped renew Rev. Judith Doran’s appreciation for her ministry. Rev. Doran is the associate priest at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Oakwood.

Rev. Doran had heard of the Rev. Dr. John Nganga, an Anglican priest in Kenya who founded the Rafiki orphanage. When Rev. Nganga came to Dayton to share his story, that’s when Rev. Doran knew she had to participate in this very special mission. What she discovered is that one man’s dream not only has changed the lives of Kenyan orphans but has changed her life as well.

“There’s a belief that human civilization began on the Serengeti plain. And it’s been said once you walk the plain of the Serengeti, it will always call you home,” said Doran. “That’s exactly what happened. It’s very difficult to describe but this mission trip was the most remarkable affirmation of who I was that I’ve ever experienced.”

During her eight days in Kenya, Rev. Doran was called upon to do many “priestly” duties including blessing the children, dedicating a generator and preaching at an open-air revival. “These things left me with a real sense of humility and a renewed appreciation for my ministry. These things stretched my soul in new ways.”

The orphans at Rafiki, which means ‘friend’ in Swahili have lost their parents to AIDS and are shunned by the community. They were left to grow up in the streets of Nairobi and surrounding villages . . . not a safe or health environment for anyone, especially children. Rev. Nganga witnessed this for years and finally realized he could no longer be a bystander; he had to do something. That was the seed to growing the Rafiki orphanage.

The Marafiki (marafiki means ‘friends’ in Swahili) AIDS Orphanage started with one acre of land and one building, and today, thanks to the generosity of many, the orphanage owns 10 acres, a dormitory, a barn complete with chickens, cows and pigs, a working farm that supplies an abundance and variety of fresh vegetables, and most recently, a dining hall and clinic.

Rev. Doran joined 16 others from First Community Church in Columbus (and two retired sisters from Pennsylvania) on what would be an unforgettable journey. Her first impression of Nairobi was simple—what a sea of humanity. “Life teemed from all places, whether it was the people, the earth, or the animals,” she said.

Rev. Doran helped dedicate the orphanage’s new dining hall and to start the new generator that was purchased through the generosity of St. Paul’s parishioners, the diocese and others. “I was so relieved when it roared to life.”

She and her group helped feed the street people with produce from the orphanage garden. “We were driving to a village and came across a boy who wasn’t in school. He said his mother was sick and didn’t have money for him to go to school. We went to his two-room hut where his mothers and 11 siblings lived. We took up an impromptu offering and from our pockets came more money than she could expect to earn in a year. The story made us all cry tears of joy and sadness that we who have so much were there and able to make a difference for this person.” Rev. Nganga hired the woman to be the cook at the orphanage.

It was these little mission moments that are sending Rev. Doran back to Kenya next year. “I was so humbled by these people. They need our help, our prayers and our donations.” Anyone interested in being part of next year’s mission trip can contact Rev. Judith Doran at 293-1154. Visit to learn ways you can help the Rafiki orphanage.



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July 28, 2009
Volume 18, No. 30

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