Volunteer advocate for families receives award created by Dispatch Media Group

East Side resident Babette Feibel, 81, has fostered more than 100 children, and in recent years has served as a tireless advocate for parents in Franklin County Family Recovery Court. Today she was honored as Dispatch Media Group’s Everyday Hero for 2018.

As a result of the award, sponsored by the Columbus Foundation, United Way of Central Ohio and CME Federal Credit Union, Feibel will receive $10,000 from the Columbus Foundation for the charity of her choice, as well as an in-kind gift of advertising services from the Dispatch Media Group worth $15,000.

Feibel was selected from among five finalists for the award. Twenty additional semifinalists were also celebrated at the event, now in its second year.

“This initiative was born out of the divisiveness of our times in the wake of the election of 2016,” said Ray Paprocki, publisher and general manager of Dispatch Magazines, speaking at a lunch ceremony at The Boat House. “We created Everyday Heroes to honor those whose selfless acts help heal, unite and improve our community.”

As a parent advocate in the Franklin County Family Recovery Court, Feibel befriends families in crisis and helps guide them through the system, driving parents to appointments, accompanying them to court appearances and advocating on behalf of the family at a variety of government agencies.

Gov. John Kasich moderated a panel discussion with the five Everyday Heroes finalists. He asked Feibel what motivated her to volunteer her time. “Why should I go to my grave with all the knowledge that I’ve gained being a foster parent?” she responded. “The one thing all these people have in common is they have never had anyone they can trust. And when they find someone they can trust, they progress in leaps and bounds.”

Summing up the conversation, Kasich urged attendees to find their own way of emulating the examples set by the nominees. “Everybody sees the dysfunction in our community,” he said. “We wring our hands, but there is an antidote. The antidote is what we do in our own community.”

“There’s nobody coming in on a white horse to solve our problems,” he said. “You and I will solve our problems, working together.”

The other four finalists were:

Sister Nadine Buchanan, a Dominican nun who helps women trapped in a cycle of prostitution, addiction and exploitation; Brad Hutchinson, a Fairfield County business owner who lends a helping hand—or a donation of money—to people in need in his community; Brandy Jemczura, a Clintonville resident who created Seeds of Caring, an initiative to involve children in community service. Rachel Muha, who responded to the murder of her son by creating a safe after-school space for at-risk youth.

To read more about the five finalists, the 20 semifinalists, and the Everyday Heroes initiative, follow this link.

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