The Ripley County Community Foundation is proud to recognize Owen Menchhofer as the 2023 President’s Award recipient. The President’s Award is given to an organization or an individual who has substantially furthered the mission of the Community Foundation.
Owen Menchhofer was integral in developing and implementing Wreath’s Across Ripley County. Through this program, the Ripley County Community Foundation partnered with the Ripley County Historical Society (RCHS) to update historical records while honoring the sacrifices of local veterans. In 2022, Owen, and a handful of volunteers from the Ripley County Historical Society, spent countless hours researching records to identify the names of local veterans along with their branch, years of service, and honoraria received.
Owen, an avid supporter of US military personnel and their families, recognized that the RCHS efforts aligned with the national program known as “Wreaths Across America.” Wreaths Across America (WAA) has a mission to Remember the fallen, Honor those that serve, and Teach the next generation about the value of freedom. WAA’s capstone project is to honor veterans by placing a wreath on the graves of US veterans during the Christmas season. This spurred Owen and his team to expand their efforts from merely identifying Ripley County veterans to locating their graves so that a wreath could be laid on each headstone.
On December 17, 2022, thanks to Owen’s efforts, over 4000 wreaths were placed on the graves of veterans who were laid to rest in over 200 cemeteries in Ripley County. Wreaths Across Ripley County was recognized by WAA for honoring the most veterans in the State of Indiana in 2022. Additionally, Owen’s efforts were solidified for future generations with the creation of the “Remember, Honor, and Teach Fund” at the Ripley County Community Foundation. The purpose of this endowment fund is to generate grants which will perpetually support programs that will: 1) honor the sacrifices of US veterans and their families, 2) preserve democracy and ethics in our society, and 3) preserve our history.
“We are blessed to be supported by individuals like Owen Menchhofer, who serve their community and have the passion to lead projects such as this,” stated Amy Streator, Executive Director of the Ripley County Community Foundation. “Wreaths Across Ripley County” is an example of the flexibility of the Community Foundation as it works to Connect People Who Care with Causes that Matter. This, of course, cannot be achieved without the generosity of our community, and we are proud to recognize Owen Menchhofer for being an unsung hero of Ripley County.”
Wreaths Across Ripley County will continue this holiday season with the hope that it will raise the necessary funding to honor 4100 veterans laid to rest in Ripley County. You can help support the effort by sponsoring a veteran’s wreath for placement on National Wreaths Across America Day 2023 – Saturday, December 16.
Through Wreaths Across America’s national $5 back program, sponsorships received ‘do good twice’ as $5 of each $17 wreath sponsorship made to Wreaths Across Ripley County will go back to the Ripley County Community Foundation to benefit local programs and initiatives. In addition, a live, balsam wreath will be placed on the headstone of an American hero. To sponsor a wreath for Wreaths Across Ripley County, visit www.rccfonline.org/donate, or contact the Ripley County Community Foundation at 13 E. George Street, Suite B, Batesville, IN 47006, or by phone by calling 812-933-1098.