April 10, 2012

SKO Attorney, Tom Williams, Receives Jack Olive International Heart of Compassion Award

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Thomas M. Williams
Member, Stoll Keenon Ogden PLLC

Compassion in Action Awards

City of Louisville, Seattle’s Youth Ambassadors Among Those Honored

Compassionate Action Network

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A mayor who is harnessing the time and energy of his city’s residents to volunteer and perform simple acts of kindness. An attorney, long involved in interfaith work, who challenges his fellow citizens to “let compassion grow and be a formidable presence in our community.”

They were two of the people honored by the Compassionate Action Network International for making extraordinary efforts over the past year to make the planet a more compassionate place to be. Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer received the Jack Olive International Compassionate City Award. Attorney Tom Williams, co-chair of the Partners for a Compassionate Louisville, received the Jack Olive International Heart of Compassion Award.

Fischer said that compassion is one of the key values he emphasizes as mayor, along with learning and health. He set a goal of having 55,000 Louisville residents turn out for a week of volunteerism later this month. So far, 70,000 have volunteered.

“Compassion is calling to something inside of us to build our human potential,” he said, adding that he hoped to have a “compassionate competition” if other cities want to see if they an turn out more volunteers.

“My hope is that people can see that compassion is more the norm than the exception,” Williams said. “There is a phenomenon that when you can name something you can see more of it, and people will realize that compassion is a common thread. It’s the compassionate life that binds us together.”

Olive, who died in January, was a minister, an assistant SU dean and lifelong worker in the field of interfaith dialog. Spalding University President Tori Murden McClure and Seattle’s Youth Ambassadors and their advisor Lori Markowitz also were honored.

Seattle’s Youth Ambassadors, high school youths who work to bring the culture of compassion to the classroom received the 2012 Jack Olive International Compassionate Organization Award. Murden McClure, who became the first woman to row across the Atlantic Ocean in 1999, received special recognition as the leader of the first compassionate university in the world.

McClure says the small Kentucky college has a history of leadership in training students in the compassionate fields of teaching and nursing.

A reception was held at Marguerite Casey Hall Wednesday evening. Since the compassion campaign began four years ago, Louisville joins Seattle and seven other cities committed to develop 10-year programs to create cultures of compassion around projects ranging from community policing to citizen volunteer initiatives. In addition, three countries, one region and 71 cities have become candidates for “compassionate” status. Schools, and recently, two universities, have declared themselves compassionate institutions of learning.

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