2023 Governor's Ambassador Award Winners
Community Service and Volunteerism Award
Andrea Freadreacea and Jillian Hall, Kentucky Public Pensions Authority
Within a week of the tornado impacting the western part of Kentucky in December 2021, Jillian and Andrea had organized the transportation of supplies and cash to affected areas. Andrea personally took a truckload of supplies, including winter clothing, coats, blankets, toiletries, children's and baby supplies, and snacks/water, along with $175 in gift cards to the affected areas. Jillian is responsible for personally delivering 10,000 feminine care products to areas affected by the tornado, and continues to coordinate with local charitable organizations to provide free feminine care products to individuals who are not able to afford them. The Kentucky Public Pensions Authority is incredibly proud of what these two employees have been able to accomplish.
Jessica Ison and Tracy James, Kentucky Department of Parks
On June 18, 2022 the Kentucky State Police Post
14 was notified of a single vehicle collision which resulted in the deaths of
the driver, his wife, and their 4-year old child. The sole survivor was a
9-year-old who crawled out of the wreckage and flagged down Ranger Tracy James.
Ranger James along with Jessica Ison called KSP and local emergency services
while trying relentlessly to rescue the passengers. Once emergency services
arrived on scene, Ranger James took the 9-year-old away from the scene to find
friends of the family, dry clothes, and shelter. These employees made this
difficult time as bearable as possible for the sole survivor of this terrible tragedy.
Michelle Grant Rudovich, Kentucky Board of Nursing
After a short stint as Director of the Department for Medicaid Services’ Division of Program Integrity, she accepted the position of Deputy Executive Director of the Kentucky Board of Nursing (KBN) on March 2, 2020. Four days later, a state of emergency was declared in Kentucky due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Michelle was a driving force in KBN’s response to COVID-19. She was instrumental in developing paperless processes that permitted staff to work remotely without interrupting the work of the Board. Additionally, Michelle developed the process for reviewing and registering nurses and dialysis technicians from other states who applied to work in Kentucky during the state of emergency, thereby ensuring there were sufficient medical personnel in the Commonwealth to respond to COVID-19 while still accomplishing the Board’s mission to protect the public.
Michelle also played a leadership role in improving KBN’s visibility and communication with all of its stakeholders. Among the projects Michelle led during her tenure were redesigning KBN’s website, establishing the agency’s presence on social media, revamping annual reports and revitalizing the Board’s quarterly publication, the KBN Connection.
Michelle made measureable improvements to the agencies she led. She also helped lead a healthcare professional licensure agency through an historic global healthcare crisis. What makes these accomplishments even more amazing is that she accomplished many of them while fighting an eight-year battle with breast cancer. When Michelle sadly succumbed to the disease on September 24, 2020, her coworkers at KBN were stunned. Most were aware she was dealing with a health issue, but she never let on, through her words or her actions. She was always one of the hardest workers in the agency, never complained, and never sought pity. It was unfathomable to her co-workers that Michelle would not tackle the challenge of cancer as successfully as she tackled every other challenge placed in front of her.
Even before she became ill, Michelle was never one to draw attention to herself, instead focusing on her duty to the greater good. Michelle’s understated determination to accomplish honorable and worthwhile endeavors brought to his mind a quote from Albert Einstein: "Strive not to be a success, but rather to be of value." Michelle Grant Rudovich was the embodiment of those words.
Customer Service Award
Clinton Matney, Office of Vocational Rehabilitation
Clinton Matney has worked for the Office of Vocational Rehabilitation as an Adaptive Equipment Specialist II, but he has had many titles over the years. He is the Vehicle Mod Specialist for the Office of Vocational Rehabilitation and also a Certified Driving Rehab Specialist (CDRS). Clinton is a custom fabricator, welder, and electrician and is instrumental in assisting disabled drivers return to or maintain their employment. Several of his current and former coworkers all said the same thing: "There is no one else in the state of Kentucky that can do what Clinton does." Clinton has modified countless cars, trucks, vans, and tractors for driving and entry specific to the individual and their needs. These individuals cannot find anyone else who can custom fabricate for their type of modification. He has customized a Bobcat lift, combines, and other farming vehicles with electronic driving equipment to control the gas/brake and has even customized the up/down function for farm equipment buckets.
Outside of assisting the clients of Vocational Rehabilitation, Clinton regularly receives phone calls from out-of-state requesting his assistance. He has attended industry conferences around the country to participate in new and emerging technologies. He also presents at talks and other meetings for continuing education, although he says it’s not really his type of thing. He’d rather be building and working on whatever puzzle is in the shop. One of Clinton’s coworkers wrote, “He deserves recognition for his thoughtfulness, his intelligence, his determination, and his willingness to never give up. He believes in OVR’s mission, and he loves making life better for his consumers.” Clinton never turns a person away for any reason. Sometimes someone will show up at the shop for assistance unexpectedly and Clinton will drop whatever he is doing to fix the issue they are experiencing. He is always available to help his clients, no matter the time of day or day of the week. It doesn’t matter if it’s something he worked on two days ago or two years ago, his service never stops for his clients.
Professional Achievement Award
John Trowbridge, Kentucky National Guard
John M. Trowbridge spent most of his life in public service. He is an internationally known and respected military historian. Even during his military career with the Indiana and Kentucky National Guard, Mr. Trowbridge demonstrated a passion for writing and was extensively involved with documenting and sharing our Nation's military history. John's impressive list of publications provides a roadmap for the long-standing and varied commitments he has undertaken in salvaging Kentucky's military history from a forgotten past. He has and continues to work with various organizations, groups, and individuals to tell the stories of Kentucky's military history.
Over the past thirty-plus years, Mr. Trowbridge has written and continues to write a wide variety of military-related books and articles, and he has been involved with numerous projects and programs concerning military history and recognition of military veterans of the Commonwealth of Kentucky. These programs involved the participation of local, state, and federal governments, state and national veteran service organizations, and private groups and organizations. He has also served as chairman or as a member on many boards, commissions and committees.
Eastern Kentucky Veterans Center - Restorative Department, Kentucky Department of Veterans Affairs
All nursing home facilities have struggled due to COVID outbreaks and Staffing issues related to COVID outbreaks. During the earlier part of 2022, specifically during February and March 2022, our secured nursing neighborhood suffered a COVID outbreak. During this outbreak there was a total of 19 veterans who got sick with COVID, and a total of 16 nursing employees. The Restorative department stepped up and volunteered to cover all the various shifts that needed to be covered during a time when there was no other nursing staff available to care for the veterans housed in that specific neighborhood. Not only did the NASR II work shifts, their supervisor, Judy Hensley, LPN worked various shifts and assisted with nurse aide duties. The facility has been able to care for our veterans because of the care and compassion they have for our veterans.
These individuals are dedicated to the veterans and provide, and not only rehab services for our veterans but they also provide one on one socialization and provide snacks and drinks while providing individual and small group therapy sessions. Socialization for our veterans has been difficult during the COVID pandemic, so being able to provide this type of therapy has been a vital component of care to the quality of life. The restorative nurse aides have assisted throughout the COVID pandemic with other duties, such as screening visitors and COVID testing employees, after hours and weekends.
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