Annual E&H Awards Honor Those Whose Work Embodies Hope

Posted by Rachael Wilbur

Emory & Henry College and the Appalachian Center for Civic Life honored individuals and organizations in the region for extraordinary civic engagement to the community and the college at the 17th annual Hope Awards, held March 26 at the McGlothlin Center for the Arts on campus.

This year’s honorees include Brent Treash, and Emory & Henry alumnus and director of media relations for the college where he has worked for eight years. He is the current chair of the Bristol Rhythm and Roots Reunion organizing committee, of which he has been a part for 10 years. Treash was cited for his “vision for and commitment to the BR&R event, and his sense of the festival’s larger purpose, which has made it a significant component of the sustainable economic redevelopment of the Tri-Cities region.”

Dr. Shelley Koch, associate professor of sociology and chair of the E&H Department of Sociology, received the faculty award. Koch is an activist for increasing access to high quality, locally grown food. She helped establish a partnership between the College’s organic garden and the Head Start Program of People, Inc., to provide locally grown produce for children in that program and their families. In her work as a professor, Koch integrates civic engagement components into several of her classes with a focus on the ecosystem.

Emory & Henry student Jake Caudill also received a Hope Award for his commitment to environmental stewardship. Caudill is a triple major in civic innovation, geography and environmental studies. He is a leader of the Outdoor Program and worked with a team of Bonner scholars at Sugar Hollow Park to develop the GOLD program, an environmental educational program for all ages. He is a member of Habitat for Humanity and works in the College’s Holston-to-Liffey Program in Dublin, Ireland.

Nancy Williams, a member of the Glade Spring, Va. community, was recognized for her untiring efforts to help build the Salt Trail, a long-abandoned rail bed, into a community walking trail. She pulls weeds, lays brick, cuts brush, advertises, advocates, and encourages on behalf of the effort. She has lead the efforts of Emory & Henry students and taught them the importance of the Trail for the economic life of Glade Spring, and how to link civic life and the natural environment.

The Holston Rivers Chapter of the Virginia Master Naturalist Program was recognized with a Hope Award for its educational programming and advocacy for the diverse natural environment of the Holston watershed through their volunteer service and educational programs. Through its values and its work, the Holston Rivers Chapter is making this watershed a better, healthier and stronger place for everyone in the region.

The College-Community Club Award for a student project was given to the Intergenerational Environmental Education Initiative, which has facilitated intergenerational workshops and conversations about the environment and the work of sustaining it. With collaborators and supporters from a range of organizations, this innovative program will help ensure the environmental integrity of this region into the next generations.

“The Hope Awards is a means by which this College bears witness to what it believes in and in what it values,” said Tal Stanley, director of the Appalachian Center for Civic Life. “Emory & Henry College and its Appalachian Center for Civic Life believe in lives that link learning with civic service, and in so doing build hope in and for this place.”

In his remarks, Dr. Stanley also recognized attendees Dr. Steve Fisher, the founding director of the E&H Appalachian Center, and Sara Reese, resident artist at Abingdon’s Arts Depot, for creation of the one-of-a-kind awards.

  • (Left to Right) Nancy Williams, Katie Cordle, Jake Schrum, Jake Caudill, Brent Treash, Shelley Koch
    (Left to Right) Nancy Williams, Katie Cordle, Jake Schrum, Jake Caudill, Brent Treash, Shelley Koch
    David Grace

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McGlothlin Center for the Arts

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