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: the Sue Anne Salmon Community Advocacy Award and the Winnie Hepler Lifetime Achievement Award.

Keep reading to learn more about these awards and past winners.

Nominations are open trough September 30, 2022 for the 2022 awards. 
You can make a nomination at by completing the nomination form. 

    The recipients of KRC's Annual Awards are voted on by the Board of Directors.  These Awards are a formal acknowledgment of the recipient's dedication to advancing justice and equity in  Kentucky's community health and environmental policies.


    On January 9, 2010, the Board of the Kentucky Resources Council  authorized the first award ever given by KRC. The  “Sue Anne Salmon Community Advocacy Award,”  is intended to recognize those who demonstrate principled and courageous environmental advocacy for the betterment of community and the environment, as Sue Anne did for her whole life. 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. This award is to be given to honor and recognize recent, outstanding acts of community advocacy in a way that advances environmental justice in Kentucky.

      Preston Miles

      Preston and CREEC made Danville rediscover Clarks Run, and without them few would be aware such a creek existed. Over a career at Centre, he served as advisor to the environmental club, and developed the Natural Science course which helped lead to the Environmental Studies Major/Minor at Centre, was the chairperson of the College’s first sustainability efforts, and was instrumental in installation of campus solar panels and energy efficiency improvements.  Preston played a leading role in building consensus to oppose dangerous pipeline initiatives that threatened public safety in Danville, speaking to any and all groups about how the projects were bad for everyone. He has been a tireless community volunteer including decades of service for the Central Kentucky Wildlife Refuge. Preston and his wife Kathy have created forests and other native habitat across the 30 acre farm they live on in Boyle County,  and installed solar panels that shade their cage free chickens.


      In 2019, the Board of the Kentucky Resources Council established a new award to be bestowed annually 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 has been a polestar in the horizon of faithful advocates for justice.

      Cathy Hinko

      In 2021, we award the Winnie Hepler Lifetime Achievement Award to two outstanding individuals. The first is Cathy Hinko. Cathy recently retired from the Metropolitan Housing Coalition after serving 15 years as their Executive Director, and has benefited thousands through her 40 years of housing advocacy work. A graduate of Vanderbilt University Law School, Cathy practiced in Tennessee and Kentucky, focusing on housing law. She was the Executive Director of the Jefferson County Housing Authority before coming to MHC. Cathy has made a truly positive impact when it comes to fair housing, affordable and safe housing, and racial and social justice. Her work with KRC includes reforming the Land Development Code committee, work with Air Pollution Control  and LG&E cases on rates and on Demand Side Management. For this we are honored to acknowledge her with this award.

      Oscar Geralds, Jr. (posthumously)
      The second winner of the 2021 Winnie Hepler Lifetime Achievement Award is Oscar Geralds, Jr. Oscar was a Lexington attorney for over 50 years who achieved many environmental protections for Kentucky. Oscar was a friend, mentor, and hero to many in Kentucky's environmental movement. He spent his life serving and advocating for others - whether it was for his family,; as a scoutmaster of Troop 3; Calvary Baptist Church member; member of the Sierra Club, the Nature Conservancy, and the Kentucky Natural Lands Trust; board member for Legal Aid of the Bluegrass and the High Street Neighborhood Center; or throughout his distinguished professional career. One of his many successes was helping to lead the fight to prevent the building of a lake that would have flooded The Red River Gorge. He received the Access to Justice Award from Legal Aid of the Bluegrass and the Henry T. Duncan Award, Fayette County Bar Association’s highest award. KRC is indebted to his work and is honored to recognize not only Oscar’s career but the life of a man of great integrity.

        Past recipients of the Sue Anne Salmon Community Advocacy Award include:

        • Aloma Dew
        • Corinne Whitehead
        • Wendell Berry
        • Chris Schimmoeller
        • Alice Howell
        • Winnie Hepler
        • Cassia Herron
        Past recipients of the Winnie Hepler Lifetime Achievement Award (awarded for the first time in 2020)
        • Wendell Berry
        "It is Winnie's selfless and loving care for creation and her love of justice, that have marked her life."
        - Tom FitzGerald, KRC Director