By Berry Dilley and Dr. Carolyn Lewis

Athens City Commission on Disabilities

It is time to submit nominations for the 2021 Athena Award. This is the seventh year a community member who has made outstanding contributions to the City on behalf of those who live with disabilities will be recognized. Nominations are made by members of the community, from which the Athens City Commission on Disabilities selects.

The Athena Award, named for the Greek goddess after whom our city is named, is presented annually. In the early history of the Commission, chairman Larry Jageman recognized a number of people with letters. The commission later moved to the idea of a single annual award and the name of the award was still a City Service Award. Commission members decided to have a distinctive name and Dilley’s son, Stephen Coy, suggested the Athena Award. In the process of deciding how to identify each year’s recipient, the commission felt that the community should play an important role in the selection process.

The characteristics and qualities of the ancient Greek goddess Athena were appropriate for that time and place. Our 21st Century Athena is a different being, reflecting this time and place. Our Athena is a visionary. She celebrates uniqueness, recognizes inequities, sees possibilities, fights for justice, delights in who we are, and loves the Athens community.

With the annual Athena Award, we honor a community member who is an outstanding advocate for those with disabilities, reflecting the qualities and characteristics of our Athena. Award nominees should meet any or all of the following criteria for contributions to individuals with disabilities: Improves the quality of life; advocates for issues; volunteers to have a positive impact; develops new programs or services; offers exceptional customer service; and demonstrates innovation or entrepreneurship that has a positive impact. Past recipients are Dr. Larry Jageman, Michael Pletcher, Dr. Noriko Kantake, Elise Sanford, Dr. jw Smith and Patty Mitchell.

Nominations for the Award will be accepted now through Tuesday, Sept. 1, 2021. To nominate someone who deserves this honor, download the nomination form and email it to, or mail it to Athens City Hall, Attn: Mayor’s Office, 8 E. Washington Street, Athens, Ohio 45701. Hard copies of the nomination form may be obtained by calling the Mayor’s Office, 740-592-3338.

The 2021 Athena Award is scheduled to be presented at a special event hosted by Mayor Steve Patterson and the commission at Arts/West, Wednesday, Nov. 3, from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m. It is the only award given by the city. The event is free and open to the public, however RSVPs to the commission’s email address are encouraged to assist with planning. If there are COVID restrictions, they will be observed.

Dilley is co-founder and member emerita of the Commission; Dr. Lewis is a current member and serves as treasurer. For information on the commission, go to

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