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New President donates bonus to charity organizations

Bellbrook Lion's Club Donations
Bellbrook Lion's Club Donations
Photograph provided by Lion's Club

Kirk Barrett, the new President of the Bellbrook Lion’s Club and employee of Vectren made a $5,000 donation to the club that inspires him to be more involved in the community. He received the money as an award from Vectren Energy. Barrett gave the money to the Lion’s Club with the condition that he could choose three organizations to donate. One of the organizations he chose was 4Paws for Ability in an effort to change the lives of many disabled children, adults and veterans.

“Vectren gave me a special award. And part of the award was $5,000 to the charity of my choice, which obviously would be the Lion’s Club. Because the Lion’s Club has now become a 501(C)(3), a charity that you can donate to and be tax deductible,” Barrett said. “I searched out a new cause that was a 501(c)(3) charity that I believed in. So, 4Paws for Ability was fairly new in the area and I liked their cause.”

On July 2nd, Barrett, through the Lion’s Club, donated $1,000 to Jessa Kenworth, a representative of “4Paws for Ability. Based out of Xenia, 4Paws for Ability is a non-profit organization whose mission is to place quality service dogs with children with disabilities and veterans who have lost the use of limbs or hearing, help with animal rescue, and educate the public regarding the use of service dogs in public places. The dogs are specially trained for the recipient, and it is not cheap. On average, it costs over $22,000 to train a dog for the specific needs. When a dog is placed with a family or an adult, they are asked to raise $14,000 through fundraisers and donations to help pay for the dog. Even after the recipient receives their dog, the dog’s training is not complete. They are required to have yearly training to help keep them sharp and alert. On a yearly average, it costs about $1,500 to $2,000 to maintain a service dog, so donations are greatly appreciated.

At the time of the donation, Kenworth brought Connor, one of the service dogs, a one-year old mixed Golden Retriever/Labrador who was in the process of being trained to help a client who lost his previous service dog to old age. Kenworth had Cooper demonstrate some of the training he has endured in order to serve the needs of his future partner. At the end of the presentation, Barrett presented Kenworth and 4Paws for Ability a check for $1,000.

Barrett was nominated for Vectren’s Neil C. Ellerbrook Award by co-worker and Bellbrook City Mayor, Robert Baird for his dedication to volunteerism. The Neil C. Ellerbrook Award is given in honor of the previous chairman and CEO of Vectren, who retired in 2010 and had to step down because of a disability. The award is given to a person who has made a difference in the community through volunteering and helping the disabled.

“Vectren is a very generous company and most people have no clue,” Barrett said. “In order for me to qualify for the award, I had to work for Vectren, do a minimum of 200 hours of volunteer work for a volunteer organization. I didn’t know that Mr. Baird had submitted me for the award until I heard I won. He knew about my volunteer work here [The Bellbrook Lion’s Club] and I am the volunteer coordinator at Vectren. I recruit volunteers for different activities that Vectren supports like Crayons to Classrooms, United Rehabilitation Services, Rubber Ducky Race, and things like that. I volunteer at the Air Show and all that added up in my application.”

Barrett also chose to donate $500 to Pilot Dogs and $1,000 to Kamp Dove Tail in Hillsboro. The Bellbrook Lion’s Club donates to these two organizations fairly regularly. The remainder of the award money will be held by the Bellbrook Lion’s Club and will be used at their discretion.

For more information on 4Paws for Ability, visit http://4Pawsforability.org or more information regarding Vectren’s other charity efforts in the area and around the nation, visit Vectrenfoundation.org/in-the-community.html.