Annual Awards


Every year, KRC formally honors individuals who have demonstrated an active dedication to advancing justice and equity in community health and environmental policies in Kentucky through two awards:

  • Sue Anne Salmon Community Advocacy Award
  • Winnie Hepler Lifetime Achievement Award.

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    Named for Sue Anne Salmon, a leader in Kentucky environmental awareness, KRC presents this award for recent outstanding acts of courageous advocacy for the bettering of Kentucky's community and environment.

    A dedicated community member and environmental advocate throughout her life, Sue Anne was a journalist, photographer, farm manager, special needs teacher, and Master Gardener. She graduated from the University of Kentucky with a B.S. in Journalism and M.S. in Education, and she later went on to study graphic arts at. the California College of Arts. Sue Anne was known for her ample contributions to Water Watch, environmental spokesperson, and environmental writer. She was nominated for the Kentucky Environmental Quality Commission's Lifetime Achievement Award and the Earth Day recognition award.

    Sue Anne “smiled from ear to ear” when she learned of the award, according to her sister Lucy. Sue Anne died on January 13, 2010, after a six-year battle with ovarian cancer.


    KRC's Board of Directors established this award to be bestowed on an individual whose life's work has shown the dedication, selfless commitment to nature, the and courage to speak against injustice, as has been the life's essence of the individual for whom the new award was named: Winnie Hepler. 

    From walking in the picket line in support of civil rights in Louisville in the 1960s to her arrest for trespassing at the construction site of the Marble Hill nuclear power plant in 1977; from her early advocacy for air pollution control in Louisville to her work in 2004 and 2005 as a member of the Justice Resource Center and Rubbertown Emergency ACTion towards instituting and then defending an air toxics control program in Louisville; from her work with coalfield residents in the late 1960s in support of a ban on surface coal mining, to her presence at an EPA hearing on mining-related pollution in 2012, Winnie Hepler was a polestar in the horizon of faithful advocates for justice. Winnie passed away in 2020.

    Past recipients of the Sue Anne Salmon Community Advocacy Award

    • Aloma Dew
    • Corinne Whitehead
    • Wendell Berry
    • Chris Schimmoeller
    • Alice Howell
    • Winnie Hepler
    • Cassia Herron (2020)
    • Preston Miles (2021)
    • Dr. Natasha DeJarnett (2022)
    • Bennie Massey, Carl Shoupe, Roy Silver & Stanley Sturgill (2023)
    Past recipients of the Winnie Hepler Lifetime Achievement Award
    • Wendell Berry (2020)
    • Cathy Hinko (2021)
    • Oscar Geralds, Jr. - posthumously (2021)
    • John & Jean Rosenberg (2022)
    • Art Williams (2023)
    "It is Winnie's selfless and loving care for creation and her love of justice, that have marked her life."
    - Tom FitzGerald, KRC Director