Before we officially close the books on 2020, we are excited to announce the recipients of our annual awards for achievements in advancing environmental protection and justice in Kentucky.
The first award, the Sue Anne Salmon Community Advocacy Award, is given to a person who, like Sue Anne, has patterned courage, tenacity, grace, and love of others, in their life and life’s work.
The second award, which is new this year, will be bestowed annually on an individual whose life’s work has shown the dedication, selfless commitment to nature and others, and courage to speak against injustice, as has been the life’s essence of the individual for whom the new award is named: Winnie Hepler.
We hope to be able to hold our annual meeting again in the Fall of 2021 to celebrate the 2020 and 2021 winners in person. But until then, let us honor the 2020 winners by allowing their accomplishments to serve as an example to each of us to recommit ourselves to passionately protecting our environment in the new year.
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 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.
The Board of the Kentucky Resources Council is proud to bestow the 2020 Sue Anne Salmon Community Advocacy Award on Cassia Herron, who through her many advocacy efforts has demonstrated principled and courageous effort for the betterment of the community and the environment.
Cassia is someone who has a long history of connecting food justice, environmental justice, and statewide agricultural system reform. She has worked with the Community Farm Alliance, is currently Chair of Kentuckians for the Commonwealth, and is spearheading the drive for a community-owned grocery (Louisville Community Grocery).
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.
The Board of the Kentucky Resources Council is proud to bestow the 2020 Winnie Hepler Lifetime Achievement Award on Wendell Berry, who through his lifetime of writing and advocacy efforts has demonstrated principled and courageous commitment to the betterment of the community and the environment.
Wendell, a past winner of the Sue Anne Salmon Community Advocacy Award, (and a friend and former teacher to Sue Anne) is a poet, novelist, activist, teacher, mentor, environmentalist, and farmer. For decades, Wendell has lived a life and patterned for others a philosophy that values quality over quantity, community over individual aggrandizement, justice over greed, community health over individual profit, and which has shown what it means to truly live sustainably, justly, and morally. We are blessed by the example that Wendell (and his wife and co-conspirator for justice Tanya) have set for us. Winnie would have approved wholeheartedly of the choice - as we recall both she and Wendell were arrested at the 1977 Marble Hill protest!