Everyone who knows Ann Wiseman will tell you that she is a doer. Whether it is selling tickets for the Christmas Tour of Homes sponsored by the Highlands Museum and Discovery Center, encouraging friends, neighbors and anyone else who will listen to buy tickets for the next pancake breakfast sponsored by the South Ashland Lions Club, or organizing a food drive to support the Ashland Community Kitchen, she stays busy, making her an indispensable volunteer for a number of non-profit organizations and her church, First Presbyterian Church of Ashland.
Wiseman does all this and much more despite being forced by arthritis to retire as a nurse, having four knee replacement surgeries and six back procedures, and being mostly confined to a wheelchair. Despite her physical limitations, Wiseman, a mother and grandmother, has been president of the South Ashland Lions Club, organized two food drives for the Community Kitchen, served as moderator of the Presbyterian church’s women’s group, is secretary for the Boyd County Extension Service’s homemaker’s group and is an avid fundraiser for the Highlands Museum and Discovery Center.
All this and more makes Ann Wiseman a most fitting choice as this area’s fifth Steel Magnolia Award honoree of the Middletown Community Foundation. The award, which has the same name as an award-winning play featuring an all-female cast, honors women who have overcome obstacles to positively impact the community. The program is funded by the AK Steel Foundation.
The award is for women who have shown exceptional strength, courage, compassion and leadership through their work in support of their communities. Nominations by essay were solicited over the summer from the public in each of the 10 communities where AK Steel operates a facility. Volunteer judges from the various communities reviewed the essays of those who agreed to be considered for the award, and no more than one honoree in each community was selected based on the judges’ combined scores.
“Despite personal challenges, each of the award recipients has inspired those around her and has made a meaningful impact in the lives of others,” said AK Steel Chairman, President and CEO James L. Wainscott. “Through the company’s foundation, we are proud to sponsor the Steel Magnolia Awards.”
Ann Wiseman is a quiet, unassuming community leader who has never boasted of her achievements. She has continued to lead a productive life because she has allowed the many things she can do to more than compensate for the few things she no longer is physically able to do.
Ann Wiseman’s husband, James, a community leader in his own right, nominated his wife for the award. He wrote that his wife faces challenges “with compassion, optimism and enthusiasm.”
Ann Wiseman’s award also proved to be something of a windfall for Ashland Presbyterian Ministries. Each recipient designates an eligible charity to receive a $1,000 donation in honor of her selection and Wiseman chose Clean Start, the ministry sponsored by area Presbyterian churches that provides showers, mailboxes, haircuts and other services for the homeless in The Neighborhood in old Johnson’s Dairy building on Carter Avenue. The ministry, the first of its kind in the region, has been in the building about a year.
We congratulate Ann Wiseman on this most fitting award.