The 2019 Rotary McGowan Courage Award recipients are (back row left to right): Jordan Tabor of St. Peter's High School, Jacob Greer of Crestview High School, William Schaefer of Lexington High School, Austin Holbrook of Lucas High School, Jimmy Baumberger of Madison Comprehensive High School, (front row left to right): Megan Owen of Shelby High School, Brynn McQuate of Mansfield Christian School, Aaron Farnsworth of Clear Fork High School, Taylor Bush of Mansfield Senior High, and Mikey Tagg of Ontario High School.

"Society often overcompensates mediocrity while lightly passing over acts of extra courage, effort, and excellence." -- Brigadier Bill McGowan

It's without question Richland County is home to some courageous students who have demonstrated perseverance and strength in the face of adversity. 

Ten of these students were recognized Tuesday during the Mansfield Rotary Club's McGowan Courage Award luncheon at the Holiday Inn in downtown Mansfield.

The Rotary McGowan Courage Award was founded in 1968 by the Rotary Club of Mansfield. It was named in honor of Brigadier Bill McGowan, past commander of the Mansfield Salvation Army Post and long-time Rotary member.

This award honors local high school students who have faced life experiences of adversity and hardship with extraordinary courage, tenacity and fortitude. Past honorees have included over 200 youth who have risen above mental or physical impairments, debilitating family situations or some other tragic circumstance.

Each year, students are nominated by school officials who make the selection from their respective student bodies. For the first time in award history a Shelby student received the award this year. 

The 2019 recipients are Aaron Farnsworth of Clear Fork High School, Jacob Greer of Crestview High School, William Schaefer of Lexington High School, Austin Holbrook of Lucas High School, Jimmy Baumberger of Madison Comprehensive High School, Brynn McQuate of Mansfield Christian School, Taylor Bush of Mansfield Senior High, Mikey Tagg of Ontario High School, Megan Owen of Shelby High School and Jordan Tabor of St. Peter's High School.

During Tuesday's luncheon, the students were presented with a certificate from the Mansfield Rotary Club, proclamations from the mayor of Mansfield and Richland County Commissioners, an American flag that was flown over the U.S. Capital Building, a certificate for one class at North Central State College, a gift certificate for a show at The Renaissance Theatre and a family membership to the Mansfield Art Center.

Award recipients also received a financial award of $1,000 which may be used toward any further education, work or other needs. Additionally, each student received a savings account certificate from Richland Bank in the amount of $100.

Kristie Massa of the Mansfield Rotary Club commended the students for their courage and applauded their support systems, including school staff and administrators. 

"I know that you've all played a very important part in these young people's lives," she said. 

Vinson Yates, president of OhioHealth Mansfield and Shelby Hospitals, said he was personally humbled by the students' stories. 

"You've already proven yourselves all very, very successful young men and women," he said. "I look forward to hearing about the next chapter in each one of your lives."

Yates encouraged the students to "keep at it." 

"Courage and character make all the difference," he said. 

The Rotary McGowan Courage Award recipients of 2019 are:

(Click the photo to read more about each student) 

Clear Fork High School’s Aaron Farnsworth

Crestview High School’s Jacob Greer

Lexington High School’s William Schaefer

Lucas High School’s Austin Holbrook

Madison Comprehensive High School’s Jimmy Baumberger

Mansfield Christian’s Brynn McQuate

Mansfield Senior’s Taylor Bush

Ontario High School’s Mikey Tagg

Shelby High School’s Megan Owen

St. Peter’s High School’s Jordan Tabor

The Rotary McGowan Courage Award is supported by these sponsors: OhioHealthRichland BankHaring RealtyMechanics BankGorman RuppNorth Central State CollegeRichland SourceShelby Rotary ClubThe Ohio State University at MansfieldMansfield Art CenterThe Renaissance TheatreSnyder Funeral HomeHamilton Insurance Group, Mansfield Area YRichland Area Chamber & Economic DevelopmentMansfield Memorial HomesBuckeye HorizonChuck Warner & AssociatesBaker's Collision RepairCatalyst Life ServicesMiller's Diamond Jewelry, Scott and Adena King, Charles Cook, Jon Young, Dan Phallen, Gary Stroup, Harold Davis, Steve Cummins, Karen Redfearn, Scott and Mary Young, Betty Preston, Pam Sigenthaler, Melanie Riggleman, DJ Daniels, Win Meek, Walt Chaffee, Pat Chilcote, and David Crawford. 


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Thrive Reporter

Thrive reporter. Graduate of Ontario High School and Ohio State Mansfield. Wife. Mom. Dog lover. Fitness enthusiast. Plant collector. Mac and cheese consumer.