On Wednesday, November 20th, Direct Energy, along with media partner, ThisWeek Community News, held a special award event for the three finalists of the 2nd annual Columbus Volunteer Citizen of the Year award program: Ruth Krumm of the Johnstown-Northridge Community Food Pantry, Jim Caronis of Operation Buckeye, and Maren Roth of the Jack Roth Fund.
At the award event, Jim Caronis was named the 2013 Columbus Volunteer Citizen of the Year winner, complete with receiving a $5,000 donation to Operation Buckeye from Direct Energy. As semi-finalists, both Maren Roth and Ruth Krumm received $500 donations to their charities from Direct Energy as well. It was a tough decision to make, as all three semi-finalists have been very active in the Columbus, OH community for many years.
At 91 years young, Ruth Krumm has been volunteering for the Johnstown-Northridge Community Food Pantry for more than 40 years. Despite her age, Ruth can be found at the pantry most weekdays and sometimes on the weekends collecting and organizing canned goods to fill boxes for local families in need, all without government support. Ruth serves approximately 175 needy families, and when a person is unable to come to the pantry to pick up their food, Ruth is the first to volunteer to deliver the food to them. Further, the whole community of Johnstown has rallied behind Ruth’s efforts to help the less fortunate. From nearby students to youth camps, everyone is inspired by Ruth’s goodwill.
As the founder and president of Operation Buckeye, Jim Caronis has given care packages to more than 25,000 U.S. service men and women over the past 6 years. As a U.S. Army veteran himself, Jim is all too familiar with the challenges faced by deployed troops. Therefore, Jim gathered his friends and family to begin Operation Buckeye, a nonprofit that sends care packages to troops overseas. Under Jim’s guidance, Operation Buckeye has grown steadily and to date, over $700,000 has been raised to support its mission. In his nomination, Jim is described as an action-oriented person with contagious enthusiasm and drive. When he hears of troops having hardships, he springs into action to develop a campaign that will help them get through it, even while being thousands of miles away. Additionally, Jim has used Operation Buckeye as a tool to teach young people about the importance of giving back by hosting various community service and fundraising initiatives.
Maren Roth is described a nonprofit advocate. To honor her father who lost his battle with lung cancer nearly 10 years ago, Maren started the Jack Roth Fund and has raised more than $700,000 for charity since its inception. Funds raised go to the Arthur G. James Cancer and Richard J. Solove Research Institute at Ohio State University to support research and treatment that is vital to combatting lung cancer. Funds also go to Camp Netaim, a camp for special needs children in Israel, a cause that was very dear to Maren’s father. Maren organizes several events throughout the year to contribute to the Jack Roth Fund, such as the Jack Roth Rock n’ Run, a 5K run and walk that features food, music, awards and prizes for the whole community. As the owner of a local business, Rowe Boutique, Maren hosts an annual fashion show where all proceeds benefit her father’s fund.
Again, we want to congratulate Jim Caronis for winning the 2013 Columbus VCOY award from Direct Energy, and we want to honor all of the hard work that Jim, Ruth Krumm, and Maren Roth put into their volunteer efforts every single day.
Photo: 2013 Columbus VCOY Winners (from left: Tom Prisk, Commercial Manager for Direct Energy and Jim Caronis, 2013 Columbus Volunteer Citizen of the Year)