Mount Vernon Nazarene University: Life Changing

Patrick and Sandy Rhoton receive MVNU Zelkowitz Award for service

RhotonDecember 14, 2015

MOUNT VERNON, Ohio — Mount Vernon Nazarene University, proud community partner for the Knox County Food For The Hungry (FFTH) drive, presented the 2015 Zelkowitz Memorial Award to Patrick and Sandy Rhoton of Mount Vernon on Saturday, Dec. 12, at City Hall during the annual FFTH live broadcast.

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For 34 years, Knox County's Food For The Hungry has grown and thrived because of the efforts of many volunteers who give their time and talent to support Interchurch and The Salvation Army, local agencies who support community members in their time of need.

In 1995, MVNU launched the Zelkowitz Memorial Award to honor one of the drive's early leaders, the late Stephen Zelkowitz, owner of WMVO/WQIO and Mt. Vernon Cablevision. The award recognizes Knox County residents who have made community service, especially Food For The Hungry, a priority in their lives.

This year's recipients have made their service to FFTH a family affair. Sandy Rhoton served as the Drive Coordinator from 2009 until her retirement in early 2014. This included working closely with all of the partner and community organizations that support the drive. Sandy continues to volunteer time to the drive each year. Her husband Patrick has helped coordinate the high school food drive and also helps tabulate the physical food collected around the county on the day of the collection.

Both Patrick and Sandy grew up around West Alexandria, Ohio and met in high school. Sandy earned her associate's degree from MVNU in 1972 and returned to complete her Bachelor's in Business Administration in 2002. Sandy worked at MVNU in a variety of positions from 1992-2002, then was the university's New Student Transition Coordinator from 2002-2009.

Patrick served in the U.S. Navy from 1969-1973, then attended MVNU and graduated with his degree in accounting in 1977. Patrick has worked for Morrow County Hospital, Knox Community Hospital, Cooper Energy Services, Replex Plastics and for MVNU as Director of Human Resources from 1998-2011 and Director of Campus Safety from 2011-2014. He also served the Ohio Air National Guard for 25 years as a master sergeant and major.

The Rhotons' community involvement and service has included volunteer, board and committee responsibilities at Lakeholm Church of the Nazarene. Their leadership and direction has influenced organizations and events like the Kiwanis Club of Mount Vernon, Leadership Knox, The Salvation Army, the Greater Knox County Will Graham Celebration, Big Brothers and Big Sisters, and a number of human resource professional groups.

Patrick and Sandy have been married for 43 years. They have two grown children, Amber and Emily, and six grandchildren.

"Sandy and Patrick's ongoing commitment to Food For The Hungry is genuine," said Sally Nelson of WRP CPA's and FFTH board treasurer. "We are blessed that these two have chosen to share their energy and many talents with our drive. It is very fitting that they have been honored with this award."

"Sandy was the quarterback in the drive that took us from a dream to a reality," said John Feltman, board member from the Knox County Career Center. "She and Pat worked together with the hustle of the Energizer Bunny! They are people of action, not just words."

"It's very exciting to honor the Rhotons with this year's Zelkowitz award," said Joe Rinehart, MVNU's Director of Broadcasting and FFTH board president. "Getting to work with them at several different levels, I've experienced first-hand their energy, commitment and desire for helping others. Patrick and Sandy have been mentors, trusted friends and colleagues for many in our community, including our family."

Mount Vernon Nazarene University is a private, four-year, intentionally Christian teaching university for traditional age students, graduate students, and working adults. With a 327-acre main campus in Mount Vernon, Ohio, and several convenient Graduate and Professional Studies locations throughout the state, MVNU emphasizes academic excellence, spiritual growth, and service to community and church. MVNU offers an affordable education to more than 2,100 students from 28 states and 16 countries/U.S. territories.

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