Columnist Merlene Davis, Nursing Home Ombudsman Agency named humanitarian award winners

Herald-Leader columnist Merlene Davis and the Nursing Home Ombudsman Agency have been selected by the Kentucky Conference for Community and Justice to receive the 2012 Lauren K. Weinberg Humanitarian Award.

The recipients will be honored Oct. 16 at The Plantory non-profit center at East Third Street and Midland Avenue.

Since 1951, the Humanitarian Award has been given to individuals and organizations in the Bluegrass whose dedication and service to the community promotes respect, understanding and tolerance among all people, according to a news release from KCCJ.

Davis began working at the Lexington Herald-Leader in 1983, first as a reporter and then as a columnist. Throughout her career, she has written about people, projects and programs in the community that demonstrate the ideals of universal respect, acceptance and fairness. Davis has used her column to speak out for fairness, to raise awareness about those less fortunate, to inform with respect, and to celebrate our common humanity, the release states.

The Nursing Home Ombudsman Agency was founded in 1981 by citizens concerned about conditions in area nursing homes. Since then, the agency has become an award-winning, nationally recognized program serving more than 4,800 long-term care residents in 17 counties with a corps of certified ombudsmen who regularly visit residents, provide them with advocacy services, and monitor the quality of care in the facilities. The agency and its ombudsmen work to protect and empower residents, investigate and resolve complaints, and promote legislation that improves the quality of life for some of our most vulnerable citizens, the news release states.

The Humanitarian Award is given in honor of community leader and activist Lauren K. Weinberg, who died in 1993. For more information, go to or call (859) 255-6999.