Prince Edward native honored with a Jefferson Award

Published 10:09 am Wednesday, January 17, 2024

Recently, a 1998 Prince Edward County High School graduate was honored with a Jefferson Award for her outstanding service to her community.  

Dennine Smith was honored at the commencement of Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week in Howard County, Indiana, surrounded by volunteers, family, and community members, marking the beginning of a significant week for the organization she works for, Kokomo C.A.M. (Coordinated Assistance Ministries).

Each month, WRTV presents the Jefferson Award for Multiplying Good to an outstanding individual in central Indiana who is actively making a positive impact in their community, contributing to the betterment of central Indiana as a wonderful place to reside.

Email newsletter signup

Known as the “Nobel Prize for Public Service,” the Jefferson Awards recognize ordinary people who do extraordinary things.

“I feel extremely honored to be listed among the many public servants and community leaders who have received this prestigious award,” Smith said. “It is always my hope that my efforts positively impact the lives of the individuals we serve and influence future and current service providers, but most importantly, that my efforts glorify God. This acknowledgment is an opportunity to share our work at C.A.M. and influence others to serve people in whatever ways they can.”

A ministry to the homeless 

According to WRTV, Smith received this recognition for her work managing a shelter for individuals in a 6-county region of North/Central Indiana without stable housing or a safe place to quarantine during the pandemic. 

Her leadership of Coordinated Assistance Ministries, a ministry to the homeless and underserved, impacts the lives of many every day.

C.A.M. brings together local churches and groups to address the needs of underserved populations in Howard County and the neighboring areas. Their efforts encompass providing shelter, food, hygiene items, aid with housing applications, organizing transportation, and more.

When it comes to her position, Smith said the thing that she loves the most about her job is that she has had the opportunity to use many of her previous work and educational experiences in this role. “As a human service and public health professional, I am grateful for the opportunity to use my skills to impact the lives of individuals who are often marginalized in society,” Smith said.

Earning Jefferson Award

Originally established in the 1990s, C.A.M. has expanded its services and relocated to a larger facility under the leadership of Smith, who now serves as the executive director.

“William Gary, the President of the Board, said of Smith, “We often said it was the best-kept secret,” emphasizing her ability to draw people towards the cause. 

According to Smith, the organization typically assists nearly 1,000 individuals in need per month, with some days seeing up to 80 people seeking their help.

“Our focus is on enhancing people’s lives, aiding them in problem-solving. This truly makes a substantial impact on the lives of our entire community.” Smith said.

Smith is the daughter of Darlene and the late John A. Jordan, Jr. She resides in Kokomo, Indiana, with her husband William and their family. 

Editor’s note: Crystal Vandegrift wrote this story for The Farmville Herald.