Monroe County Commissioner honored for work

T-L Photo/JANELL HUNTER Monroe County Commissioner Mick Schumacher was awarded the 2017 Jenco Award for his service to several organizations in Monroe County and the region.

WOODSFIELD — Monroe County Commissioner Mick Schumacher was recognized for his work in the community by The Jenco Foundation Fund of the Foundation for Appalachian Ohio with a 2017 Jenco Award.

Established to honor the legacy of the Rev. Lawrence Martin Jenco, the award recognizes citizens who have demonstrated visionary leadership in serving Appalachian Ohio.

Jenco was a Roman Catholic priest who was captured in Lebanon in 1985 while serving as director of Catholic Relief Services. There, he met Associate Press correspondent Terry Anderson, who was also captured. The two men formed a close relationship based on their shared ideas of spirituality and remained lifelong friends. Anderson founded the Jenco Foundation in 2001 to honor his friend who helped Anderson endure five years in captivity.

Jenco awardees are given to Appalachian Ohioans who demonstrate “visionary leadership and passion beyond their daily work in the region.”

“Awardees demonstrate direct, caring action for their fellow citizens across all areas essential to quality of life including health and human services, education, environmental stewardship, community and economic development, and arts and culture,” states the foundation’s website.

Schumacher was recognized at the Foundation For Appalachian Ohio 2017 Legacy Celebration at Stuart’s Opera House in Nelsonville, Ohio, on Sept. 28 for his work with various community groups and several countywide projects.

“Mick Schumacher is driven to improve quality of life in Monroe County, while also connecting the dots between groups working in the community. Mick’s passion for Monroe County history led him to the Monroe County Historical Society and multiple projects to preserve that history, including the Monroe County Bicentennial Celebration, remembering those who lived and died at the Monroe County Care Center, sharing the importance of the ferry boat through the Ohio River Ferryboat Festival, and honoring 11 Monroe County citizens who were killed in action during the Vietnam War,” the foundation states.

“Through his service to the Monroe Arts Council, he has also worked to increase access to arts programming for those who might not otherwise be able to access it.”

He was also recognized for drawing attention to suicide prevention and the opioid epidemic, and for touting the importance of resources and support for caregivers of Alzheimer’s patients.

Schumacher was one of seven awardees at the Legacy Celebration, all recognized for their service to other Appalachian Ohio counties, including Athens, Coshocton, Tuscarawas and Muskingum. Former Ohio Gov. Bob Taft provided remarks at the event.

Each winner was presented with a $1,000 check, which Schumacher plans to donate to the gazebo project in Fly. He said the biggest take-away from the Legacy Celebration event was that the other six awardees were recognized for their singular focus on one project, while he was recognized for his work with several organizations.

“I was very surprised when the foundation called and told me I had won the award. I didn’t even know there was such a thing or that I was even nominated,” Schumacher said. “I actually told them I was kind of embarrassed because I don’t do it for the recognition, I just really want to help the community and help improve the quality of life for Monroe County residents. I just see what I do as connecting the dots. It’s always good when partnering together — you get more done. And it’s also about leading by example.”

Schumacher said he is encouraged by the level of participation and willingness to partner in projects he has seen from local businesses, such as Gallagher and Sons Monuments, who did the work for the 11 Sons of Monroe County memorial project.

“The fact that people are willing to partner and lend credibility to these projects is great. People know they have a chance of succeeding when they start a project that way,” Schumacher said. “Gallagher and Sons saw the value in that project and didn’t even want to take any money for the work they did. You don’t get that very often.”