Dr. Martha Jenkins was one of the four local residents selected for the prestigious South Central Kentucky Jefferson Awards for selfless public service, sponsored by the Daily News and the WBKO-TV, and presented April 19, 2012. Her story is one of decades of community service and numerous volunteerism awards and recognitions. In addition to teaching in the Department of Family and Consumer Sciences (FACS) at Western Kentucky University over a period of 40 years, she had continued that service after retiring from her faculty position. In addition to teaching, her involvement in campus and community organizations resulted in a string of accolades and service projects.
Although she has worked with numerous service organizations and groups, her particular passions are working with the FACS Phi Upsilon Omicron (Phi U) National Honor Society on their professional service projects involving the community and with the Dream Factory, Inc. of Bowling Green making dreams come true for critically and chronically ill children. The Phi U honor society has won national recognition for their projects in 13 of the last 15 years Jenkins has advised the professional service project. She says it is particularly rewarding to see students turned on to the joy of providing service to others. It is also rewarding to her to see the delight in the faces of Dream Factory children for whom she has been the dream coordinator.
This past year she Co-Chaired the “Preserving the Past-Sustaining the Future” juried quilt show and historic retrospective celebrating the 100-year history of the FACS Department at WKU. The exhibition at the Kentucky Museum opened October 21st and closed December 10th and included programming throughout the period. Telling the 100-year history of FACS from 1911 through 2011 required hours and hours of service prior to, during, and following the exhibition, as well as working with the Museum staff and numerous FACS alumni .
As current Chapter Advisor to the Phi U honor society that Jenkins has worked with since 1964, Cynthia Jones writes that Jenkins' story is one others should try to model themselves after and that the world needs more people like her. Romanza Johnson, as well as Marla and Ray Flannery, who submitted the nomination, noted that Martha continues to be a loving wife and mother and a dedicated member of her church.
Dr. Martha Jenkins