Those who give freely were given praise by the American Red Cross at the 16th annual Bales’ Humanitarian Gala on Thursday evening.
“The purpose of this event is to honor humanitarianism and honor people who prioritize reaching out to the community,” said Catie Wheatley, executive director of the American Red Cross Clark County Chapter.
The inaugural event was held in 1988. It honored Hazel and Walter Bales — longtime local business leaders. They were also strong supporters of Clark County Red Cross, which is how the Bales and Red Cross partnership formed.
Now, each year the Gala recognizes Humanitarian Award recipients in the Bales’ honor.
“We had our first meeting in January. Luckily, we have a strong foundation and a lot of support from the community,” Wheatley said.
Three humanitarians were recognized — Paula Robinson, Harold Goodlett and Jennifer Mills-Knutsen.
Scott Carr, chairperson of the Red Cross board of directors, presented the awards to the recipients.
Robinson, Floyds Knobs, who volunteers with several organizations, was the first honoree. Carr said the one item he remembers reading in the nomination packet are the words, “I know she is a gift from God.”
“I encourage everyone to find a charity they connect with and give back,” Robinson said. “The rewards you’ll get back are well worth the investments.”
Goodlett, Charlestown, serves on the gala community board. Carr said Goodlett is a man of integrity who wants others to succeed alongside him.
“It is, I think, one of the best awards that could be bestowed upon a person,” Goodlett said.
In his remarks, Carr said the Rev. Mills-Knutsen, pastor at St. Luke’s United Church of Christ, has developed a significant track record for helping people in a short period of time.
“In pastoral life, much like a Red Cross worker, we are invited to be with people on the worst days of their lives, but also on the best,” Mills-Knutsen said.