The John C. "Jay" Barker Alumni Community Service Award was created in 2013 by the COTC Alumni Council and is presented annually at the July 3rd Independence Day concert and fireworks to recognize COTC alumni who have made a significant impact by their service to the betterment of our community. The inaugural award was presented posthumously in July 2014 to John C. "Jay" Barker and named in his honor.
2018: Julio Valladares
In 1981, 18-year-old Julio Valladares traveled to Newark, Ohio, with the El Salvador National Baseball Team to compete in the international Babe Ruth World Series. Now he calls Newark home and is doing his part to give back to the town that gave him a new beginning.
Today, Valladares has traded his amateur baseball career for one in accounting. He served as the treasurer of Gahanna-Jefferson Public Schools for 17 years. When an opening at Newark City Schools (NCS) became available in 2017, Valladares capitalized on the opportunity to return to the place where his life in this country began. He currently serves as the treasurer of NCS and secretary to the NCS Board of Education.
Accepting his current position marked the third time Valladares came to Newark. In his nomination letter, Robert McGaughy, COTC's first business officer and retired Licking Memorial Hospital administrator, described how Valladares returned to Newark in 1982, one year after participating in the world series, to live with his host family. He worked many odd jobs until he was able to afford his own housing, and he was granted citizenship in 1985. Valladares enrolled at COTC in 1990, continuing to work in unskilled labor positions while pursuing his education.
Valladares graduated from COTC with an associate degree in accounting technology in 1994. This gave him the opportunity for better employment, which in turn provided the means to advance his education. Valladares received a bachelor's degree in accounting in 1997 and then a Master of Business Administration in 2000, both from Franklin University. The job opportunities followed.
Valladares is a member of the Newark Rotary Club and the Licking Memorial Hospital Development Council. He also volunteers for Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA), a local affiliate of the Licking County Housing Organization. He assists the elderly and others that do not have the knowledge or financial means to prepare and file income tax returns. This work touches many families in Licking County.
McGaughy wrote in his nomination letter, "I have been very impressed with Julio's motivation, integrity and willingness to help others. He is someone who adds value to whatever group or organization he serves. His life has been a positive example of what can be done to overcome adversity and become successful."
Photo caption: (L-R) COTC President Bonnie L. Coe, Ph.D., Beth Barker, Spencer Barker, COTC Alumni Council President Kevin Carver, Julio Valladares and Robert McGaughy
2017: Sarah Terry
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.
"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 Teri Holder, former COTC vice president of extended campuses and the Gateway.
Photo caption: (L-R) Sarah Terry, Spencer Barker, Beth Barker, COTC Alumni Council President Kevin Carver, COTC Director of Development Matt Kelly
2016: Sandra L. Miller
Vickie Maple, Director of the Workforce Development Innovation Center, presented Miller with the COTC John C. "Jay" Barker Community Service Alumni Award during the 2016 July 3rd Concert and Fireworks at the Newark campus.
Sandra L. Miller of Newark, 69, graduated with a nursing degree from COTC in 1981. Miller worked at health centers and hospitals after graduation, but eventually realized that she wanted to use her skills to help people across the nation as a disaster relief volunteer with the American Red Cross. Miller served 19 years with the Red Cross and assisted in 38 disasters, including September 11th. She was also recognized nationally with the Clara Barton Honor Award for Meritorious Leadership. The award is one of the highest awards the American Red Cross bestows on volunteers.
Left to right: John Barker's son, Spencer, his widow, Beth, Miller, and COTC Alumni Council President Bill Spurgeon.
2015: Jerry L. Billman
Bonnie L. Coe, Ph.D., President of COTC, presented Billman with the John C. “Jay” Barker Alumni Community Service Award during the 2015 July 3rd Concert and Fireworks at the Newark campus. “For all of his volunteerism and service, we want to recognize the tremendous impact Jerry has had in our community,” said Coe.
For over a decade, Billman has dedicated himself to improving his community. Billman is currently a member and President of COTC’s Alumni Council, a member of the Licking County Foundation Marketing & Public Relations Committee and a member and past President of the Rotary Club of Newark-Heath, where he is the Chairman of the Dictionary Project and Co-Chairman of the Rotary District 6690 Polio Plus Program. In the past, Billman also served as a member of the Society of Manufacturing Engineers, the Knox County Career Center Advisory Committee and a Licking County United Way Committee Volunteer.
2014: John C. "Jay" Barker
On July 3, 2014, Central Ohio Technical College and the COTC Alumni Council presented the inaugural alumni community service award posthumously to John C. “Jay” Barker and dedicated the honor to bear his name.
Barker, who passed away in March 2014 at the age of 50 after a brief illness, was a proud COTC alumnus, incoming president of the college’s alumni council, and a very active volunteer in the community serving on multiple local non-profit boards and organizations in Licking County. 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.