LIMA – Nominations for the 2020 Jefferson Awards for Public Service are now officially being accepted. The longstanding national program recognizes the “unsung heroes” by awarding individuals that give their time and effort to improve their communities on a volunteer basis.

Eight adults and four youth — under 18-years-old — will be recognized for their outstanding achievements with one of the 12 also receiving the added recognition of attending the national Jefferson Awards dinner in Washington D.C. The local representative for the national event will be announced during a recognition event to be held March 26.

The national program, founded in 1972 by Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, Sen. Robert Taft Jr. and Sam Beard, was brought to Lima region in 2001. Estella Adams was selected as the first local winner.

Today, the local Jefferson Awards accepts nominations for individuals from a multi-county region including Putnam, Auglaize, Van Wert, Hardin, Hancock counties, as well as Allen County. In addition to the recognition, each local winner will also receive a monetary award for a non-profit of their choice. Alberta Lee, a civic leader who believes in volunteerism and public service, is sponsoring monetary awards to accompany the Jefferson Awards medallions for the eight local adult winners who will each receive $350. Ed and Sandra Monfort (past winner) are the monetary sponsors for our four local youth winners, who will each receive $250.

Outside of the adult awards, local high schools and colleges are encouraged to nominate students for the four youth awards. Nomination forms can be located online at the website of They can also be picked up at the United Way offices, 616 S. Collett St., Lima, OH 45805. Nominations will be accepted until Feb. 19.

Sponsors of the local Jefferson Awards include Your Hometown Lima Stations, The United Way of Greater Lima, The Lima News and Husky Lima Refinery.