November 17, 2020 ─ The News-Gazette and the Community Foundation of Randolph County continue their celebration of local heroes who have made an impact on the community or have gone above and beyond expectations to serve others. This effort is the result of a community foundation program that helps recognize such people while also raising money to help others.
“We thought a really neat thing would be to create a list of Randolph County Heroes,” said Community Foundation board member Cathy Stephen Miller of the ongoing program which started in 2015. “For $1,000, anyone can nominate a person (living or deceased), organization, business, or community organization for the designation as a Randolph County Hero. The money goes into our unrestricted fund, which the board uses to do great things for Randolph County. It all has to do with making Randolph County a great place to live.”
People who are designated as Randolph County Heroes will have a plaque in their honor at the foundation office, and will be featured in the News-Gazette.
The newest Randolph County Heroes are Allen and Betsy Jefferis. They were nominated by a generous donor who wishes to remain anonymous.
Betsy and Allen Jefferis have been valiant members of the Union City community more than half a century. Allen was a businessman from the time he and his bride returned from college. Betsy championed the arts as a member of the Art Association of Randolph County and, along with Allen, took an active role in the restoration of the old railroad depot which became the home of the Art Association of Randolph County in 1983. Along with others of that group of “restorers” they formed what is now the Preservation Society of Union City, IN/OH. That group then restored and repurposed the old Kirschbaum Building (now the Antiques Mall) and the old hotel and commercial buildings which became the City Museum, Community Room and the City’s City Hall and Council Chamber. Always thinking of the betterment of Union City and Randolph County both Betsy and Allen have left an indelible mark on the city and the county. It was through the efforts of Allen and other businessmen that the Union City Community Fund was established from the proceeds from the sale of the old Union City Hospital. That fund, in turn, became the initial building block of the Community Foundation of Randolph County. Allen Jefferis holds the title of Director Emeritus at the Foundation which is reserved for those retiring directors who have had distinguished service and whose extraordinary contributions set them apart from their peers. Achieving the status of Director Emeritus is to be viewed as the highest honor that the Foundation may bestow upon a Foundation Board member. Betsy and Allen Jefferis are truly Randolph County Heroes!