Mahendran Naidu, a volunteer in the Fayette County Public Schools and in non-profit programs, has been named the Fayette County "Hero of the Year" in the fourth annual Fayette County Heroes Campaign, a community awareness and fund-raising effort that recognizes people who make a difference in the community and support the local Red Cross through financial contributions.
Through Naidu's non-profit initiative, Educare, he has organized several youth-development programs in Fayette County, including student mentoring programs in public schools. He also is a founding board member of the Toyota Bluegrass Miracle League and serves on the board of several non-profit organizations, including the YMCA of Central Kentucky.
A team of 40 community leaders, led by co-chairs Joker and Leslie Phillips, has raised more than $117,000 for local Red Cross programs and services since Feb. 21. Donors raising or contributing at least $1,000 were eligible to nominate someone as the hero of the year.
A committee of Red Cross volunteers named Naidu the winner and made the announcement April 20 at the Marriott Griffin Gate Resort and Spa. The other finalists for the award were Lindy Karns, Dr. Dennis Kelly, and Ruth Mark.
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Here is the complete list of nominees: Terry Bishop, nominated by Corky Walker; Buzz Carmichael, nominated by Dr. John and Peggy Collins; Cecil Dunn, nominated by Rose Lucas College and School Planning Services; Cliff Feltham, nominated by The Nest; Jerry Goerz, nominated by The Kentucky Blood Center; Terry Hagan, nominated by Lexington Dream Factory; Lindy Karns, nominated by Stoll Keenon Ogden; Dr. Dennis Kelly, nominated by Dr. Jamie Jacobs; Virginia "Ginny" Lawson, nominated by Roger Guffey, Sandy Hackney, Rene Rogers and George Weick; Ruth Mark, nominated by Powell, Walton, Milward; Mahendran Naidu, nominated Drs. Rayudu and Usha Polisetty; John D. Small, nominated by Excel Mining; Sally Stevens, nominated by Drs. Jacqueline Noonan, Walid Abou-Jadoude, Jacqueline Sugarman and John Stewart, and Dr. and Mrs. Richard Lofgren; Hunter Stout, nominated by Dean, Dorton, Allen, Ford; Whitney Tyler, nominated by Risk Placement Services; University of Kentucky College of Medicine Salvation Army Clinic, nominated by UK HealthCare.