Prestonsburg, Ky – Big Sandy Community & Technical College (BSCTC) proudly announces the first recipient of the Dr. William “Bill” Loftus Humanitarian Award: Judy K. Howell, Director of Library Services and political science professor.
The honor is awarded to an exemplary Big Sandy employee who demonstrates a sustained commitment to service, especially for the benefit of students, over a lifetime. He or she initiates actions, both large and small, to help others and inspires the college and community to participate in service. The recipient also demonstrates a deep respect for students no matter their place in life’s journey. He or she is recognized by peers regularly and consistently going above and beyond in service to the college and community.
Professor Howell embodies Dr. Loftus’s ideals to “commit to service and strive each day for achievement – through discipline and leadership of self. Through this investment, our lives become richer, our communities grow stronger, and our world is transformed into something better” (Loftus’s Life Philosophy).
BSCTC President Sherry Zylka commented, “Our communities are strengthened each day by the work of Judy K. Howell. We are not only a better college because of her, but we are better individuals through her example.”
Since March, Judy has helped students and faculty fully transition to remote learning—and now as faculty transition back to the in-person classroom. Through the summer, she led two “hybrid” boot camps to prepare faculty for the demands of online teaching and learning.
Judy goes above and beyond to help students in their daily lives. She led a drive for donations and arranged for food to be available to hungry students in the library. This is just one of many examples.
For Judy, service is a calling. Her philanthropic work is extensive: For 20+ years, she has led the Christmas in the Park, an initiative of the local Women’s Club. From organizing the BSCTC toy drive to securing volunteers, Judy leads the event. In December, hundreds of children in our region receive toys and an enjoyable evening, full of face painting, games, hot chocolate, and Santa, of course.
Each year Judy makes a call for formal wear for the benefit of Riverview Nursing Home, whose residents get to enjoy a formal party. Judy collects and delivers the clothes. She also dresses up for the college’s Trunk or Treat each November and hands out candy from the back of a car.
Just a few years ago, Judy raised money, nearly $2500, to help a faculty member who was suffering from cancer to pay his bills. Judy does quality work and does so selflessly; she works hard for the benefit of others.
Judy Howell is beloved and appreciated and most deserving of the first Loftus Humanitarian Award. When asked her thoughts upon receiving this honor, Judy stated, “I worked with Bill for many years, and he was a role model for community engagement and service. To receive the Bill Loftus Humanitarian Award is truly an honor, and I will continue to live up to this award.”