(Posted Feb. 20, 2019)
By Kristy Zurbrick, Madison Editor
Everybody knows somebody whose very nature it is to help others.
On Feb. 14, the London Rotary Club honored five such somebodies at their annual Service Above Self awards. The presentation took place at the Madison County Senior Citizens Center in London.
Rotary member Misty Bradley introduced the four Service Above Self winners. Member Kelly Snyder introduced the annual Four Way Test Person of the Year.
Four Way Test Person of the Year
- Marcus Freed
Rotary’s Four-Way Test asks the following: 1) Is it the truth?; 2) Is it fair to all concerned?; 3) Will it build goodwill and better friendships?; 4) Is it beneficial to all concerned?
“Marcus Freed is dedicated to helping others both here in our community and across the world and is a true example of the ideals of Rotary,” Snyder said.
Freed worked as a fourth-grade teacher at London Elementary for 12 years and as a guidance counselor at London Middle School for 20 years.
In retirement, he spends his time in many volunteer pursuits, including hours at Madison Health where he greets visitors and helps them find their way around the hospital. He also has become a leader in the hospital’s Auxiliary.
“Whether he is outside selling geraniums or recruiting bakers for the Bake-Nic, he does it with energy and enthusiasm. He even spent Christmas Day caroling for the patients who had to be in the hospital,” said Snyder.
Freed is immersed in prison ministry. Through the Horizon Prison Initiative, he helps inmates examine their faith and find strength, hope and forgiveness. He also volunteers with Kairos Prison Ministry.
For the past 10 years, Freed has participated in Ride for Missions, pedaling and raising money for missionaries around the world. Last year, he biked 375 miles over five days from Memphis, Tenn., to Montgomery, Ind.
Also in 2018, he traveled twice to El Salvador to take part in Wheels for the World. Each time, he helped to distribute more than 200 wheelchairs to children and adults with disabilities. In the past year, his service to others also has included donating blood platelets 23 times at the Red Cross for cancer patients. The two-hour process gave him time to continue studying Spanish as a second language.
Upon accepting the Four Way Test Person of the Year award, Freed thanked the many mentors he’s had in his life, including his parents, siblings, and wife. He also thanked God. He praised Rotary as an organization with a focus on humanitarianism.
Service Above Self honorees
- Carol Ansel
Carol Ansel started her career with Madison County Children Services and has spent the past 25 years at the Madison County Board of Developmental Disabilities (MCBDD).
“Carol puts those that we serve first and is always spending her personal time assuring the health and safety of our folks,” wrote Susan Thompson, MCBDD superintendent, in her nomination letter.
In addition to her duties as family support services director, Ansel serves on many statewide committees and has been active with Special Olympics.
“The last years at the county board have been very fulfilling and rewarding,” Ansel said.
A resident of London since 1986, she is a past president of the community’s former Jaycees chapter and belongs to First Presbyterian Church, where she has served as a deacon and played in the bell choir.
She is the mother to 24-year-old twins who, during their school years, kept her busy with the London soccer and football programs.
- Phyllis Follrod
Anyone born in Madison County in the past 50-some years likely knows Phyllis Follrod. A retired registered nurse, the London native worked from 1963 to 2017 in the obstetrics department at Madison Health.
She helped to deliver multiple generations of babies. Ironically, Follrod herself was born at home.
“I still get emotional because I miss it,” she said about her work at the hospital. “To anybody I have touched, I love you all.”
Follrod is an active member of Newport United Methodist Church, where she often can be found in the kitchen, making noodles or pies for an upcoming church dinner.
- Diane Furbee
In the fall of 2016, St. Patrick Church in London partnered with Madison Senior Living Community to host community suppers, offering a hot meal to anyone looking for one. Diane Furbee serves as St. Patrick’s point person on the project, which now includes meal delivery and feeds up to 200 people the second and fourth Wednesdays of each month. Furbee also coordinates the church’s Healing Meals ministry, providing meals to parishioners who are recovering from surgery or other hospital stays.
“We couldn’t do what we do without lots of volunteers,” Furbee said. “It’s a great way to touch people–through a meal.”
Last summer, the church hosted the Gospel Road community service program. Furbee coordinated meals and snacks for the 150 high school students and chaperones involved in the ministry. She also served many years as the church’s coordinator for the Welcome Table, a food ministry in London, and she regularly volunteers at HELP House.
- Mary Anne Wood
During her 18 years as children’s librarian at London Public Library, Mary Anne Wood has coordinated thousands of programs for the community’s youth, from storytimes for infants and toddlers to scavenger hunts for teens and visits from the Columbus Zoo, COSI and Newport Aquarium. She is best known for the summer reading program which encourages children to read during their time off from school.
Wood is all about connecting children with the library in any way she can. She regularly travels to area preschools, daycares and Head Start to perform programs for children who are not able to get to the library.
She visits schools in different storybook costumes and stresses the value of having a library card. She created a new “student library card” that gives children ages 5-17 the ability to check out five books at any time and access to library materials even if their parents’ card is not in good standing.
About her job, Wood said, “I just do it because I love it. I love the kids. I have fun. I’m a kid myself.”