Most Encouraging Kentuckian Awards Panel

For 2012, we’ve assembled a top flight Awards Panel of leading community hearts to help select this year’s five Award Finalists and perfect our plans for December 2nd’s Awards Dinner. You’re going to like who you meet here!

Krissie Bentley

Coordinator of LexRunLadies, writer of the blog My Radical Commitment and recently certified running coach by Road Runners Club of America  - as well as a non-practicing Therapist – all of this on top of her “day job,” Krissie’s unending encouragement of others oozes out of her veins. She’s helped practically everyone she’s ever met in her life – and smiles every step of the way.

To put it another way, Mrs. Bentley is the kind of person your puppy would crawl up on to rest his head on her lap.

Ernie Peel

Winner of 2011′s inaugural Most Encouraging Kentuckian Award, Ernie Peel has not only helped myriads of Kentuckians transform their lives through running, but he has become a role model in life. Countless marathons and half-marathons all over the United States have been conquered by Bluegrass runners because Ernie had the audacity to tell them they could do it – and if you’ve never tried leading a group of 400 uniquely bizarre runners, you have no idea the mountain Ernie’s climbed!

Kathy Plomin

Kathy served for nine plus years as President and Chief Professional Officer of United Way of the Bluegrass. Prior to that, Kathy spent 21 years with WKYT, the CBS affiliate in Lexington, rising to the position of Vice President of Sales and Marketing. Kathy’s leadership at United Way impacted the community in numerous ways, including the creation of 211, a 24 hour information and referral service, Get on Board, a training program in board development for under-represented population and Success by Six, a preparatory reading program for pre-schoolers. Additionally, under her leadership, United Way raised $70 million for needed services in Lexington and the surrounding region.

She has served on numerous local, state, regional and national boards including serving as the former national chair of the CBS Sales and Marketing Advisory Council. Her participation with Commerce LexingtonBluegrass Tomorrow and the 2040 Task Force has made her acutely aware of economic development issues facing the region. Kathy has been recognized for her leadership, having received numerous awards including Lane Report’s Top Women in Business, The Junior League top 75 women in 75 years, the Bluegrass Young Woman of the year award, the NAWBO life balance award, LexArts Apollo award, and the ODK honorary inductee recognition.

Kathy’s compassion is evidenced through the many causes she champions from the homeless to her participation as a member of the 5191 Commission that was formed after the tragic plane crash at Bluegrass Airport.

Mark “The Beast” Rucker

Mark is an attorney from Lexington who spent the majority of his adult life struggling with weight issues. As a result of his unhealthy lifestyle and weight, he suffered from high blood pressure, sleep apnea and was borderline diabetic. In February of 2011, at the age of 42, Rucker weighed over 365 pounds. It was then that he decided it was time to change his life – and has since run half-marathons, a full marathon, and is training for his second Ironman in 2013.

He intends to use his experience to help inspire and encourage others to begin their own journey to health and fitness. By focusing on his “small steps” philosophy, Rucker believes that anyone, at any age and in any physical condition, can change his or her life.

Kim Schuh

Kim, originally from Greenup County in eastern Kentucky, serves as corporate counsel for Nationwide Insurance Company and is married (her husband Tim trains our four-legged friends for Preston Stables) and is a mom of five. (Meg, Allie, Tori, Eva and Jake present a full time job, in themselves!)

After graduating from Morehead State University, Kim received her law degree from the University of Kentucky and is now a member of the Kentucky and Fayette County Bar Associations.

Kim attends St. Leo Catholic Church in Versailles – and if you have the privilege of knowing her, you know her personal focus centers on spiritual and physical wellness. She and her family live south of Lexington in some of the prettiest countryside in all the Bluegrass.