NEWARK, Ohio, July 31, 2017— Some people overcome adversity to make a positive impact. Sarah Terry is one of those people, and her altruism was recognized on July 3, 2017, when she received the John C. "Jay" Barker Community Service Alumni Award presented by Central Ohio Technical College (COTC) at the annual Independence Day concert and fireworks held on the shared campus of The Ohio State University and Central Ohio Technical College.
"My reaction to winning the award was, "Who me?'," said Terry. "I don't look to win awards for the things that I do in the community. I love helping others; I have since I was a child."
Terry is a 2016 graduate of COTC's human services program and currently serves as an AmeriCorps college completion coach at COTC. She works with at-risk students and develops outreach activities in the communities where COTC is located.
Over her first year, Terry spearheaded many efforts to help the less fortunate in central Ohio. Twice she organized collections for women in domestic violence shelters, and she rallied fellow staff members to provide a holiday meal and gifts to a struggling COTC student. For Mother's Day she coordinated with staff and students to plant flowers and hand-paint pots for women in domestic violence shelters. At the time of her nomination, she was helping a young person collect children's books for a local 4-H project.
Terry says she is drawn to this population. "I know how it feels to walk away from your life because of choices that someone else was responsible for doing. You have to leave so much, and you're not thinking about the bare necessities that you or your children might need."
Terry was a student at COTC when she was a victim of domestic violence. Terry credits Teri Holder, former COTC vice president of extended campuses and the Gateway, for keeping her in class and finishing her associate degree. It was Holder who nominated her for the award.
"Her desire to improve the lives of individuals in central Ohio is inspiring, her energy is endless and her devotion to the college is contagious," said Holder. "She is a walking testimonial of the impact an education can have on a life and she eagerly shares her time, talent and resources with anyone fortunate enough to cross her path."
The COTC John C. "Jay" Barker Community Service Alumni Award was created in 2013 by the COTC Alumni Council to recognize COTC alumni who have made a significant impact through their service to improve our community. The inaugural award was presented posthumously in July 2014 to John C. "Jay" Barker and named in his honor. Barker was active in the Licking County Courthouse Lighting Committee, Licking County Senior Levy Committee, COTC Alumni Council, Energy Cooperative Operation Roundup Foundation Board, Licking County Governmental Preservation Society, National Heisey Glass Museum Board, Rotary Club of Newark-Heath and Ohio Bankers League.
Photo caption: (L-R) Sarah Terry, Spencer Barker, Beth Barker, COTC Alumni Council President Kevin Carver, COTC Director of Development Matt Kelly