"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
Aaron Farnsworth was diagnosed with muscular dystrophy at the age of 3. He has associated we…
Crestview High School’s Jacob Greer
Aristotle once said, "The ideal man bears the accidents of life with dignity and grace, maki…
Lexington High School’s William Schaefer
William Schaefer's life was altered at the age of 14 with a diagnosis of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma.
Lucas High School’s Austin Holbrook
Austin Holbrook is one of Lucas High School's most courageous students, according to princip…
Madison Comprehensive High School’s Jimmy Baumberger
Jimmy Baumberger may appear to be a typical high school senior, but he has conquered signifi…
Mansfield Christian’s Brynn McQuate
Resilient. That's one of the best words to describe Mansfield Christian student Brynn McQuate.
Mansfield Senior’s Taylor Bush
Taylor Bush has persevered despite many obstacles.
Ontario High School’s Mikey Tagg
Mikey Tagg and his family, as well as the entire Ontario student body, have refused to allow…
Shelby High School’s Megan Owen
Imagine waking up every day of your life hoping that breathing wouldn't be a struggle.
St. Peter’s High School’s Jordan Tabor
The Rotary McGowan Courage Award is supported by these sponsors: OhioHealth, Richland Bank, Haring Realty, Mechanics Bank, Gorman Rupp, North Central State College, Richland Source, Shelby Rotary Club, The Ohio State University at Mansfield, Mansfield Art Center, The Renaissance Theatre, Snyder Funeral Home, Hamilton Insurance Group, Mansfield Area Y, Richland Area Chamber & Economic Development, Mansfield Memorial Homes, Buckeye Horizon, Chuck Warner & Associates, Baker's Collision Repair, Catalyst Life Services, Miller'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.