10 who make Covington a better place

‘Heart of Community’ winners generous with time, energy, intellect

COVINGTON, Ky. – The mayor’s former assistant who has become a one-woman volunteer force in her Eastside neighborhood. A long-time leader of the Latonia Business Association. Two recent graduates of Holmes High School who worked to help their schoolmates, among other things, reduce nicotine use.

The nine individuals honored with “Heart of the Community” awards from The Center for Great Neighborhoods of Covington have – in a nutshell – worked to make the city a better place to live.

“Cities become communities because people step up and give generously of their time, energy, and intellect,” said Shannon Ratterman, strategic initiatives director at The Center. “This award calls attention to some of those people because typically they operate outside the public’s eye. This is a great bunch of honorees.”

Also honored was the Northern Kentucky Health Department’s Kenton County Health Center, which received “The Great Neighbor Award” for its work to fight addiction and during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The “winners” were nominated by others in the community and will receive a personalized plaque. (Typically winners are also recognized at The Center’s Annual Celebration, but that event is not happening this year due to the pandemic.)  

The City helped publicize the call for nominations earlier this year as a close partner of The Center, a non-profit organization formed in 1976 that has helped nurture community leaders.

More details about the winners, as provided by The Center for Great Neighborhoods:

Lenette Beasley: Lenette is an official partner with Keep Covington’s Beautiful’s Adopt-A-Spot program and a Great American Cleanup site leader. Lenette's passion and care for her neighborhood is evident in her unwavering commitment to make positive change through collaboration and actions. Lenette has been able to lead by example and influence others to do good and to do beautiful things in her neighborhood. (Until recently, Lenette was the administrative assistant to Covington Mayor Joe Meyer.) 

Tim Eversole: As a local business owner (Bean Haus and Dari Crest) and longtime Covington resident, Tim has invested in the community, has created spaces for people to gather, and is generous with his time and business resources. He's always willing to help a neighbor or friend, rarely says “no” when asked for donations or volunteer time and is really someone who quietly invests his time and treasure in making the city a better place.

Brenda Fauber: Brenda is the chair of the Service Committee for the Covington Rotary Club. In this role, she organizes several impactful programs including weekly meals for Parish Kitchen clients.

Virginia Kerst: For over 30 years, Virginia has worked tirelessly to bring a better quality of life to Covington. She is an integral part of the Historic Licking-Riverside Civic Association, Baker Hunt, and many beautification projects. Virginia says, “I was just a part of work done by many other people, sometimes a small part.” To those who know her, however, she is the one consistent piece in this patchwork of community projects.

Kelly Kusch: Kelly had a vision of an independent, liberal arts high school in the heart of Covington that would teach students of all backgrounds to read carefully, think deeply, write accurately, and debate actively. In the past two years, she has brought this vision to a reality as Covington Classical Academy. As Head of School, Kelly does not take a salary at this time as she works to grow the school and make it an option for all. 

Gavriel Null: Gavriel exemplifies what it means to be a resourceful, ingenious, and a goal-oriented student. Gavriel is a recent graduate of Holmes High School and during the 2020-2021 school year, she led members of Holmes High School’s Successful Bulldog Enterprise in an effective marketing campaign to bring awareness to the negative effects of vaping and nicotine use. Gavriel used her leadership skills and creativity to help reduce the surge in underage use of nicotine amongst her peers and other teens in her community.

Pat O’Donnell: Pat has been a steward of the community through his involvement and leadership of the Latonia Business Association. Through his leadership the people of Covington have seen improved surroundings from local planters, improved engagement through the Halloween Block Party, support and participation for the improvement of the Vietnam memorial, among numerous other projects.

Amir Rice: Amir is an ambitious, enterprising, and determined student who strives to be the best at any task given to him. Amir is a recent graduate of Holmes High School and is currently a college freshman. During the 2020-2021 school year, he was the CFO of Holmes High School’s Successful Bulldog Enterprise. He helped to lead an effective marketing campaign to bring awareness to the negative effects of vaping and nicotine use. Amir used his knowledge of finances and his leadership skills to help reduce the surge in underage use of nicotine amongst his peers and other teens in his community.

Tamra Womble: Tamra is a passionate volunteer who gives freely of her time to maintain pocket gardens and neighborhood planters, and pick up litter as a participant in Keep Covington Beautiful’s Adopt-A-Spot and Great American Cleanup programs. During tax season, Tamra also volunteers with The Center’s free income-tax preparation program, coordinating intake for every client and making coming to The Center to have taxes done as pleasant and efficient an experience as possible.

Kenton County Health Center: Part of the Northern Kentucky Health Department’s network of health centers, the Kenton County Health Center is being recognized for long-term service to the community and its participation in responding to health crises like the COVID-19 pandemic and the heroin epidemic. Without fanfare, the health center’s staff provides much-needed health care and prevention services to vulnerable residents. Services include the WIC supplemental nutrition program, women’s health services, STI testing and treatment, adult and child immunizations, childhood lead case management, and TB case management. One of this community’s real gems, the health center generally goes unnoticed. But if you are among the families and individuals who depend on it for services, you know what a valuable resource it is.




For more details and pictures of the winners, see The Centers’ Facebook page HERE, which will feature more in-depth pieces in the coming weeks.


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