For the first time, the City of Marysville will hand out two Quality of Life Awards for 2019.
The city’s Quality of Life Award was initially created as a way to show appreciation to residents who had made a contribution to Marysville.
Earlier this year, the city decided to add a second Quality of Life Award, this one for organizations that have made a contribution to the city.
As part of this week’s Friday Night Uptown celebration, Donna Burke and Care Train of Union County will be honored as recipients of the city’s Quality of Life Award. Council member Nevin Taylor nominated both Burke and the Care Train.
Burke is a pharmacist and has co-owned Dave’s Pharmacy, along with her husband, since 1997.
In his nomination, Taylor said Burke, “practices her care for everyone who comes into the pharmacy.”
He added that Burke is, “very active with her church and community projects when asked for help.”
She has served on Memorial Hospital Board of Trustees for 12 years and the Union County Board of Health for 9 years. Burke currently serves on Union County Drug Free Coalition as well as Ohio Reformatory for Women’s ABC Nursery Advisory Boards.
She has also participated in the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society’s Team in Training program to promote fitness as well as fundraising.
Care Train of Union County exists to assist families, seniors and disabled adults by providing food and toys to those experiencing economic difficulties during the holiday season.
In 1986 Care Train’s predecessor, The Christmas Clearinghouse, closed its doors. That next year, a group of about two dozen citizens worked together to organize a variety of events and initiatives to help less fortunate in the community.
During those fledgling years there were many donations of used toys, clothing of all sizes and states of use and canned food. As the years moved forward, the logistics of handling, sorting and repairing all the items led to the consolidation of accepting gifts of only new toys and cash contributions were used to purchase food vouchers — one of the many moves that officials point to as helping the continued growth of Care Train.
In 2018, the Care Train’s annual auction and benefit concert raised $212,642.
The Care Train helped 291 families with children, 357 seniors, 625 children and 85 disabled adults.
Following last year’s auction, Care Train Founder Dave Laslow said that while the changes are exciting, the organization and event’s consistency is “just amazing, year after year, after year.”
He said not many organizations can boast that they give out more than 94% of what they bring in. Laslow said he believes that consistency has built a trust in the community.
“I think that is another reason the community supports us so well,” Laslow said.
The founder said the event and organization have grown over the years. He said he appreciates the thousands who bid and those who volunteer.
City officials said Laslow is stepping down this year and they wanted to honor him before that happens.
“It’s time,” Taylor said of honoring the organization with the Quality of Life Award.
In addition to nominating both award winners, it was Taylor’s idea to add the organizational category.
“The idea is to honor those who work to improve the quality of life in Marysville,” he said. “Obviously, we have groups that do that.”
Taylor said that in the past, only one winner has been named, but there is no rule prohibiting a second or more. He added that just because there is a category for organizations doesn’t mean the city has to give an organizational award each year.
Officials said they will make sure to include an organizational category in the nomination information moving forward.
“Really, it is about getting these people, who do this out of the goodness of their heart, more recognition,” Taylor said.
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