A United Way of Bartholomew County employee has received the state’s Distinguished Hoosier Award.

Joy King, who serves as volunteer coordinator for the agency, was surprised with the award Tuesday at the United Way offices after being told she was needed there for a meeting.

“I am speechless,” King said when she realized the meeting she had been asked to attend was actually a celebration of her work.

State Rep. Milo Smith presented the award on behalf of Gov. Mike Pence.

Story continues below gallery

The Distinguished Hoosier award is given on behalf of the governor to Indiana residents who demonstrate dedication and service above and beyond the call of duty to the state.

Nominations for King to become a Distinguished Hoosier began coming in frequently about three months ago, Smith said, around the same time as United Way’s Day of Service on Sept. 11.

This year, King recruited more than 1,000 volunteers to do maintenance and other types of work at dozens of locations around Bartholomew County.

“It’s not the number of people. It’s how good she makes people feel when they make a difference,” said Mark Stewart, United Way of Bartholomew County president.

Lee Swanson, a Hope retiree and family friend who nominated King for the award, said he had always admired her pluck and zeal for volunteer work. On the United Way Day of Service, however, he was particularly impressed with her resolve to complete the numerous projects all in one day.

“You could line up every contractor in the state and they could not have pulled all of that off in eight hours or eight days, but she pulled it off,” he said.

Although her own work as volunteer coordinator earned her the Distinguished Hoosier award, King said she could not take full credit for her accomplishments.

Working to make Bartholomew County a better place to live is a team effort, she said, and one she could not do without the help of her fellow United Way employees.

“Everything I’ve done I share with everyone in this room,” she said.

About the award

The Distinguished Hoosier Award was created to recognize Indiana residents who have “uniquely brought admiration and respect to the state through their character and accomplishments.” It is awarded at the discretion of the governor. Previous award winners have included professors, attorneys, business executives, veterans and community advocates, among others.

If you think someone you know is worthy of the Distinguished Hoosier Award, nominate them at in.gov/gov, then select “Indiana Honors and Recognition” from the menu.

Author photo
Olivia Covington is a reporter for The Republic. She can be reached at ocovington@therepublic.com or 812-379-5712.