OSBF announces 2012 award recipients

The Ohio State Bar Foundation (OSBF) honored four individuals and two organizations at its Annual Meeting and Awards Dinner on Nov. 9 at the Hilton Columbus/Polaris.
Ronald W. Dougherty, Canton, received the OSBF’s highest honor, the Ritter Award. (Watch video interview)
As a partner in the Canton firm of Krugliak Wilkins Griffiths & Dougherty Co. LPA, Dougherty devotes substantial time and talent to many legal organizations. Dougherty is a Distinguished Life Fellow and past president of the OSBF, and has served on the OSBF’s Audit and Finance Committee since 2004. As a member of the Ohio State Bar Association, he has served on the Council of Delegates and the Board of Governors. Most recently, he served as the OSBA’s metro chair for the Moyer Legacy Fund Committee in Canton. He is also a Life Fellow of the American Bar Association. In 1961, Dougherty served on the committee that raised funds to construct Canton’s Pro Football Hall of Fame. He continued to work on behalf of the Pro Football Hall of Fame over many years, serving as general counsel for four decades and as chairman of its board of directors from 2006 to 2008.
Merle F. Wilberding, Dayton, received the Award for Distinguished Community Service.
As a senior partner in the Dayton firm of Coolidge Wall Co., LPA, Wilberding has made numerous contributions to the justice system and to the community. Over the past five years he has worked with Mary Lauterbach, mother of murdered Marine Lance Corporal Maria Lauterbach, pushing for legislative and administrative changes to protect victims of sexual assault in the military. He testified with Lauterbach before the U.S. House of Representatives Subcommittee on National Security and Foreign Affairs. These efforts have helped to effect significant legislative changes in the law and in the administrative directives of the Department of Defense. In the local community, Wilberding has participated in the Dayton Bar Association (DBA) Volunteer Lawyer Program for many years, and has served on the DBA Oral History Project. He serves as a member of the advisory council of the University of Dayton School of Law and the advisory council of the Wright State University College of Liberal Arts. He also serves on the Montgomery County Board of Library Resources and the Dayton Sister Cities Committee. He is an active member of Culture Works and a founding trustee of the Dayton Literary Peace Prize Foundation.
Jason W. Given, Coshocton, received the Community Service Award for Attorneys 40 and Under.
Between his work as partner in the Coshocton law firm of Leech, Scherbel, Peddicord & Given Ltd and his public service job as the prosecuting attorney for Coshocton County, Given still finds time to give back to his community. Given volunteers for the United Way, Big Brothers Big Sisters, and First Step Violence Shelter, and is a member and past president of the Coshocton Rotary. He serves Coshocton’s professional community as a founding member of the Coshocton Business Development Foundation, an organization that encourages investors to buy companies that could be relocated to Coshocton County. He is also member of the OSBA and a Fellow of the OSBF.
Denny L. Ramey, Columbus, was recognized as an Honorary Life Fellow of the Foundation.
Having served as the executive director of the OSBA and treasurer of the OSBF for 26 years, Ramey has guided both organizations through numerous changes and expansions. Ramey has also donated his time to many community and professional organizations. Over the years, Ramey has served on the executive advisory board for Ohio University’s College of Business Administration and as a member of the nominating council for the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio. He also served on the advisory board for the Greenbrier resort.
Court Community Service (CCS), Cleveland, received the Outstanding Program or Organization Award.
Originally, CCS began as a clearinghouse for community service projects in northeast Ohio. Now it is a place where people who have run afoul of the law can go for a second chance. This program has led numerous courts to believe that community service, as opposed to incarceration, is a better way to rehabilitate someone who has been convicted of a crime. CCS connects people with convictions from 13 greater Cleveland municipal courts for anything from traffic tickets to domestic violence with more than 300 nonprofit community service work sites. Instead of being penalized through incarceration, probation or fines, offenders can provide restitution by addressing community needs. For example, offenders may provide services such as feeding the hungry, painting over public buildings defaced with graffiti or doing yard work for the elderly. In the past month alone, CCS saved the community nearly a quarter of a million dollars, conducted educational programs for court referrals, and oversaw the planting of public gardens and collection of almost 6,000 bags of litter by CCS participants.
The Perry County Free Legal Clinic, New Lexington, received the Outstanding Program or Organization Award.
Judge Luann Cooperrider and Judge Dean Wilson first brought the idea for a free legal clinic to the Perry County Bar Association and Southeast Ohio Legal Services to address the high volume of pro se litigants seeking advice on how to proceed with foreclosures, divorces, child custody cases and criminal cases. These two organizations collaborated to create the Perry County Free Legal Clinic, which provides volunteers from the Perry County Bar Association and the Southeast Ohio Legal Services to meet with, on average, 10 to 15 people each month. The volunteers provide for the pro se litigant information and advice about how the legal system works. This program has helped those individuals who cannot afford to hire legal counsel but do not qualify for court appointed counsel.

About the OSBF
As the charitable arm of the OSBA, the Foundation advances the philanthropic interest of the Ohio’s lawyers to recognize excellence, improve the justice system and enhance public understanding of the law. For more information about the OSBF, please visit www.osbf.net.

 OSBF 2012 Ritter Award Winner



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