Past Recipients & Nominees

The Leading Lights Steering and Selection Committees owe a debt of gratitude to the outstanding volunteers of the New River Valley, to the numerous individuals and organizations who saw a deserving individual and took the time to nominate him or her. Please be reminded each year that while Distinguished Recipients cannot be nominated for a Leading Light again, persons who are nominated and only honorees may be nominated again in subsequent years.


High School
Distinguished Recipients: Anna French, Auburn High School; Brianna Moser, Narrows High School

Anna French, Auburn High School
Brianna Moser, Narrows High School

Distinguished Recipients: Grace Ankeney, New River Community College; and Jarrett Holmes and Erica Martin, Virginia Tech

Grace Ankeney, New River Community College
Alivia Colon, Virginia Tech
Jarrett Holmes and Erica Martin, Virginia Tech
Isabelle Largen, Virginia Tech
Eli Miller, New River Community College

Distinguished Recipients: Elizabeth Warriner, Floyd County; Hope Harrell, Giles County; Darla Bray and Martha Ann Stallings, Montgomery County; and Kathryn Daily, Radford City

Darla Bray, Montgomery County
Kathryn Daily, Radford City
Bill and Corrine Graefe, Floyd County
Hope Harrell, Giles County
Jeri Rogers, Floyd County
Vern Simpson, Montgomery County
Martha Ann Stallings, Montgomery County
Portia Dawn Thompson, Floyd County
Robyn Toney, Montgomery County
Fred & Beth Umberger, Montgomery County
Elizabeth Warriner, Floyd County

Lifetime Achievement Awardee: Bill Ellenbogen, Montgomery County

Bill Ellenbogen, Montgomery County

Covid-19 Heroes
Campus Kitchen at Virginia Tech
Cookie Bandits
Plenty! Farm and Food Bank
New River Valley Public Health Taskforce Volunteers


High School
Distinguished Recipients:  Clay Jennings, Blacksburg High; and Lacy Bailey, Auburn High

Carly Cox, Pulaski County High
Brandi Clemons, Giles High
Gibson Graham, Christiansburg High
Violet Neikirk, Giles High
Morgan Ralph, Narrows High
Thinna Svetanant, Blacksburg High
Cohen Taylor, Blacksburg High
Heidi Treser, Blacksburg High

Distinguished Recipients:  Addison Levy, New River Community College; and Danielle Kassel, Virginia Tech

Amara Alexander, Virginia Tech
Amanda Guevara, Virginia Tech
Maya Johnson, Virginia Tech
Nick Kaloudis, Virginia Tech
Molly Kwitney, Virginia Tech
Jami Martin, New River Community College
Hannah Westbrook

Distinguished Recipients:  Becky Weeks (post-humously), Floyd County; Travis Sparks, Giles County; Sharon Thompson and Rhonda Whaling, Montgomery County; Sally Warburton, Pulaski County; and Dr. Daniel Kelly, Radford City

Chris Bowers, Floyd County
Katrina Underwood, Floyd County
Liz Warriner, Floyd County
Tess Brooke, Giles County
Penny Livesay, Giles County
Deborah Morris, Giles County
Jackie Brown, Montgomery County
Christine Gibson, Montgomery County
Elizabeth Hamley, Montgomery County
Graham Swinfen, Montgomery County
Tony Blair, Pulaski County
Robin Burdette, Pulaski County
Carolyn Dove, Pulaski County
Michael F. Emero, Pulaski County
Carolyn Mathews, Pulaski County
Shelia Nelson, Pulaski County
Cheri Strenz, Pulaski County
Mike Abbott, Radford City

Lifetime Achievement Awardee:  Dave Roper, Montgomery County

Lynne Clark, Pulaski County

Carol Fox, Montgomery County
Pat Worrell, Montgomery County


High School
Distinguished Recipients:  Hannah Shuff, Mackenzie Farmer

Violet Neikirk
Kayla Blevins
Morgan Rosenbaum
Jonathan Moore
Kaylee Corvin
Jaelyn Szerokman
Bronzson Lawson
Khushi Talajia

Distinguished Recipients:  Clendal Brown, New River Community College; Tanha Patel, Virginia Tech

Lisa Lane
Allie Parker
Jacob Benjamin
Carl Yao
Sofia Jorgenson
Lehi Dowell
Gabriella Magasic
Derek Chen
Alexa Keeler
Casey Molina
Kyera Broxton
Breon Case
Tiffany Smith
Denny Price
Morgan Duncan
Noelle Abbott

Distinguished Recipients:  Travis Cantrell, Floyd County; Rodney Freeman, Giles County; Kelly McPherson, Montgomery County; John Hess, Montgomery County; Dan Grubb, Pulaski County; Janiele Hamden, Radford City

Martha Sullivan, Floyd
Darcie Luster, Floyd
Sarah Merfeld, Floyd
Chris Wolf, Floyd
Ralph Robertson, Giles
Freddie Ratcliff, Giles
Aury Cook, Montgomery
Mike Eggleston, Montgomery
Michael Carrol, Montgomery
Ronald Flanary, Montgomery
Lynn Brammer, Montgomery
Betty Day, Montgomery
Dean Jackson, Pulaski
Betty Lou Kirkner, Pulaski
Stan Stanley, Pulaski
Mike Abbott, Radford
Charlie Buchinsky, Radford
David Pynn, Radford
Ann Walker, Radford
Lee Stewart, Radford
Jenny Riffe, Radford
Teresa Dickens, Radford

Lifetime Achievement Recipient:  Carol Smith

Wallace Huff
Myrl Jones, 

Bobbie Knoezer


High School
Distinguished Recipients:  Neha Hudait; Megan Talarek

Allison Sparrer
Charlie Buchinsky

Distinguished Recipients:  Olivia Obertello; Hunter Cole

Amy Chen
Breanna LaTondre
Brooke Souders
Delaney Beattie
Emily Millar
Franklin Edwards
Heather McGovern
Jessica Tucker
Kaley Holloway
Martha Legg
Megan Mickey
Nicole Kurka
Riley Clark
Tori Schmehl
Tyler Hall
Dana Draugn

Distinguished Recipients:  Vickie Spangler, Floyd County; Lynn Hill, Giles County; Archie Boothe, Pulaski County; Janne Mathes, Montgomery County; John Galbraith, Montgomery County; Penny Sweet, Radford City

Cathy Shaut, Floyd
Robin Atkins, Giles
Sharon Lowery, Giles
Ann Raridon, Montgomery
Betsy Hagan, Montgomery
Bonnie Hawks, Montgomery
Charlie Whitescarver, Montgomery
Christie Heslip, Montgomery
Kelly McPherson, Montgomery
Lynn Brammer, Montgomery
Matt Adamo, Montgomery
Raymond Lyons, Jr, Montgomery
Sid Bingley, Montgomery
Stephanie Palmer, Montgomery
Terri Welch, Montgomery
Bill Roth, Montgomery
Carrie Owens, Pulaski
Charlie Barbettini, Pulaski
Ron Mady, Pulaski
Shelia Nelson, Pulaski
Melinda Dunford, Radford

Lifetime Achievement Recipient:  Tom Sherman

Alicia Stanley
Judy Ison
Jim Kelly
Patricia Baird
Woody Crenshaw


High School
Distinguished Recipients: Taylor Hawkins, Floyd County; and Jessica Shelburne, Pulaski County

Bethany Hsiao, Blacksburg
Brendon Pettus, Eastern Montgomery
Carlee King, Auburn
Cody Hardwick, Christiansburg
Joseph Carman, Blacksburg
Tyler Kwak, Christiansburg
Violet Neikirk, Giles High

Distinguished Recipients: Kyndal Stykes, Virginia Tech; and Sydney Curtis, Virginia Tech

Ajla Becirevic, Radford University
Ammon Miller, New River Community College
Emma Thompson, Virginia Tech
Jacob Long, Virginia Tech
Linda Beckett, Virginia Tech
Matthew Boward, Virginia Tech
Murphy Massey, Virginia Tech
Rebecca Brown, Virginia Tech
Samantha Capaldo, Virginia Tech
Samantha DiBiaso, Virginia Tech
Toby Akers, Radford University

Distinguished Recipients: Susan Sutterer, Floyd County; Ann Goette, Giles County; Diane Blair, Pulaski County; Jean Umberger, Radford City; Scott & Mendy Sink, and Barnett Carr, Montgomery County.

Anthony Woodyard, Pulaski County
Cathy Shaut, Floyd County
Charles Herbert, Giles County
Charlier Whitescarver, Montgomery County
Claude Wimmer, Giles County
Connie Richardson, Giles County
David Brady, Giles County
David Hagan, Montgomery County
Elaine C. Cook, Montgomery County
Gordon Yee, Montgomery County
Irvin Clark, Radford
Jannes Mathes, Montgomery County
Judy Foster, Montgomery County
Kimberly Haug, Radford City
Krittanai (Gap) Pisarnpong, Montgomery County
Marcia Murphy, Montgomery County
Mel Hassan, Radford City
Melinda Dunford, Radford City
Nikki Collins, Giles County
Patsy Akers, Pulaski County
Peggy Rasnick, Montgomery County
Penny Sweet, Radford City
Sara Perks, Montgomery County
Sharon Eifried, Pulaski County
Sharon Friedberg, Montgomery County
Tacie Jones, Montgomery County
Trish Muldoon, Giles County
Valerye Phillips-Downing, Montgomery County
Vickie Spangler, Floyd County
William Neely, Montgomery County

Lifetime Achievement Recipient: Catherine Vaughn Pauley, Floyd County

Aldora Green
Joe Thompson
Larry (L.B.) Day
Margot Thompson
Marsha Garrison
Stephen Howard
Woody Crenshaw


High School
Distinguished Recipients: Connor Moran, Christiansburg High; and Aaron Miller, Radford High

Alyssa Sampson, Eastern Montgomery
Andrew Earp, Christiansburg
Asher Quesenberry, Christiansburg
Dakota Driscoll, Blacksburg
Jeremiah Rutherford, Blacksburg
Kim Nichols, Eastern Montgomery
Shayley Martin, Auburn
Tiana Cole, Christiansburg
Tori Deibler, Christiansburg
Zachary Nelson, Christiansburg

Distinguished Recipients: Kelly Berry, Virginia Tech; and Elizabeth Domann, Virginia Tech

Alyssa Wray, New River Community College
Anna Olenick, Virginia Tech,
Audrey Semel, Virginia Tech
Austin Rakes, Virginia Tech
Clare Kelling, Virginia Tech
Hayley Piercey, Virginia Tech
Jordan Coburn, Virginia Tech
Levi Meadows, New River Community College
Macarah Collins, New River Community College
Shannon Cooke, Virginia Tech
Stephanie Hoang, Virginia Tech
Taylor Quesenberry, Virginia Tech

Distinguished Recipients: Susan Icove, Floyd County; Doug & Donna Martin, Giles County; Bill & Nancy Hudson, Pulaski County; Keith Nunn, Radford City; Ben Crawford and Melbert Robertson, Montgomery County.

Lifetime Achievement Recipient: Don Mullins, Montgomery County

Allyne Schoff, Blacksburg
Arden Howell, Christiansburg
Ben Crawford, Blacksburg
Betty Bartschmid, Blacksburg
Catherine Vaughn Pauley, Floyd County
Dot Sowers, Pulaski County
Doug Townley, Pulaski County
Lt. Colonel George McNeill, Montgomery County
Isabelle Marchand, Montgomery County
Jennie Hodge, Montgomery County
Irvin Clark, Radford City
Karen Day & McCabe Coolidge, Floyd County
Larry (L.B.) Day, Montgomery County
Lesa Viers, Pulaski County
Lois Wade, Montgomery County
Lynn Brammer, Montgomery County
Lynn Chinault, Pulaski County
Michaelene (Mickey) W. Balconi, Pulaski County
Michele Ren, Radford City
Pam Reed, Montgomery County
Toby Simmons, Montgomery County
Tacie Jones, Giles County
Vickie Spangler, Floyd County


High School
Distinguished Recipient: Olivia Hodge, Blacksburg High

Aaron Garnett-Deakin, Blacksburg High
Carlie Perry, Pulaski County High
Emma Pratt, Floyd County High
Ethan Bass,  Christainsburg High
Garrett Graham, Christainsburg High
Jessika Ross, Blacksburg Hgh
Todd Cochran, Christiansburg High

Distinguished Recipient: Austin Larrowe, Virginia Tech

Austin Moon, Virginia Tech
Cynthia Guerin, Virginia Tech
Emily Neer, Virginia Tech
Joelle Shenk, New River Community College
Katie Atkinson, Virginia Tech
Katherine Bean, Virginia Tech
Sahal Thahir, Virginia Tech
Tina Hosey, New River Community College
Zach Monroe, Virginia Tech
Zachary Scott, Virginia Tech

Distinguished Recipient: Todd Fitch,  and Molly McClintock,  Montgomery County
Lifetime Achievement Recipient: Dr. George Smith, Shawsville

April Danner, Christiansburg
Betty Watts, Blacksburg
Brenda Roberts, Blacksburg
Charles “Chuck” Harris, Blacksburg
Christina Link-Owens, Pembroke
Dr. Clarence W. Taylor, Jr., Blacksburg
Ret. Colonel Dallas Cox
Danny Yopp,Christiansburg
Donald Fraser, Blacksburg
Donna Travis, Pulaski
Elizabeth Umberger, Christiansburg
Gale Gulbenkian, Blacksburg
Gale Stowers, Newport
Gary Brumfield, Christiansburg
Gary Graham, Christiansburg
Ileda Shelor, Floyd
Jennifer Miller, Christiansburg
Jim Dubinsky, Blacksburg
Jim Lawrence, Blacksburg
John Hess, Christiansburg
Julie Earthman, Blacksburg
Logan Brooke, Newport
Lucinda McDermott Piro, Radford
Lynn Brammer, Christiansburg
Matthew McGarvey, Blacksburg
Mendy Sink, Blacksburg
Molly McClintock, Christiansburg
Nikki McGregor, Radford
Perry Martin, Newport
Raymond Plaut, Blacksburg
Ron Brown, Christiansburg
Scott Cramer, Blacksburg
Scott Sink, Blacksburg
Shirley Mcthgrson, Christiansburg
Thomas Susano, Christiansburg


Distinguished Recipient: Rebecca Kay Stephens, Giles County

Erin Hamric, Pulaski
Lindsey Janney, Floyd
Shana Davis, Narrows

Distinguished Recipient:
Chelsea Hall, Virginia Tech

Joanne Ng, Virginia Tech
Kenna Crane, Radford University
Kieley Sutton, Virginia Tech
Kyler Stemen, Blacksburg
Kylie McGoldrick, Virginia Tech
Lisa Hill, Virginia Tech
Morgan Eary, Virginia Tech
Nicole Abramson, Virginia Tech
Red Rae Lee, New River Community College
Sarah Rouzer, Virginia Tech

Distinguished Recipient:
Dr. Steve Jacobs, Blacksburg; Mary Susan Vehorn, Radford
Lifetime Achievement Awardee: Dave & Merilyn Armstrong, Dublin

Anthony Asselin, Blacksburg
Deena Flichum, Blacksburg
Don Fraser, Blacksburg
Don Mullins, Blacksburg
Edna Love, Pulaski
Gail Vaught, Pearisburg
Janet Keith, Willis
Janne Mathes, Blacksburg
Rev. Jenene Lewis
Jesse Sims, Christiansburg
Jettie Montgomery, Radford
Joe Sheffey, New River
Karli Minnick, Radford
Marian Kelso, Blacksburg
Marlyn Anderson, Dublin
Matt Nottingham, Blacksburg
Merissa Sachs, Blacksburg
Nancy Rooker, Christiansburg
Rick Mansell, Pulaski
Roger Hudson, Pulaski
Sally Stapleton, Radford
Vicki Eggleston, Blacksburg
Wayne Bishop, Christiansburg
Wayne W. Campbell, Blacksburg (posthumously nominated)


Distinguished Recipient: Laura Froggard, Blacksburg

Olivia Hodge, Blacksburg
Paige Crane, Blacksburg
Thomas Kozikowski
Walter “Dan” Cook, III, Pembroke

Distinguished Recipient:
Ryan Brock, Virginia Tech

Alicia Gerald, Radford University
Cherry Messer, New River Community College
Christine Djordjevic, Virginia Tech
Conor Hand, Virginia Tech
Danny Blumberg, Radford University
Kristian Carden, Radford University
Minoka Gunesekera, Virginia Tech
Cadet Paulina Gochnour, Virginia Tech
Shannon Lloyd, Virginia Tech
Stephanie Myrick, Virginia Tech

Distinguished Recipients:
Col. John Getgood, Floyd; Doris Hendrickson, Radford; Kim Schwenk, Blacksburg

Bea Ake
C. Wayne Bishop, Christiansburg
Charlie Herbert, Pearisburg
Dean Gall
Doris Hendrickson
Gary Brumfield, Christiansburg
Gary Johansen, Blacksburg
Hugh Campbell, Blacksburg
Ina Dunford, Blacksburg
Joe Ivers
Jo Martin, Narrows
Karolyn Givens, Blacksburg
Dr. Matthew Marry
Patty Manthe, Blacksburg


Distinguished Recipient:  Anna Marie Keppel-Benson, Blacksburg

Alexandra Miley
Laura Froggatt
Timothy Worles

Distinguished Awardee: Analise Adams, Virginia Tech

Danny Hazelwood
Emily Wilkinson
James T. Lee
Jason Forsyth
Jessie Gunter
Joel McCormick-Goodhart
Justin Graves
Kristin Haas
Kyle Gardiner
Nicholas Mason

Distinguished Recipients: Jerry Higgins, Radford; Rebecca Rees, Blacksburg; Lindsay West, Blacksburg

Angela Little
Arlean Lambert
B.J. Flack
B’easy Thompson
Bob Job
Brenda Springer
Dale Mull
Dawn Barnes
Deena Flinchum
Donna Morgan
Dorothy Williams
Elizabeth Foster
Frank Lau
Gary Brumfield
Henry Ingram II
Jo Ellen Taylor
Jo Martin
Joseph Chase
Julie Ann Ligon
Karisha Summers
Kathryn “Kate” Delaney
L. David Roper
Logan Brooke
Mary Lough
Matt Nottingham
Mike Dunn
Mike Rosenzweig
Minnis Ridenour
Pat A. Shelor
Paul Smeal
Sally Anna Stapleton
Sharon Duncan
Sharon Scott
Steve Pond
Thora Jo Jervey

2011. Distinguished Recipients

High School: Jessica Vance, Blacksburg
College: Victoria Sarbin, Radford
Community: Phyllis Albritton, Blacksburg; Pat Ballard, Christiansburg; Mary Ann Hinshelwood, Christiansburg

2010. Distinguished Awardees

High School: Marie Stump, Christiansburg
College: Matthew Johnson, Virginia Tech
Community: John McEnhill, Floyd; Dr. Nelda Pearson, Radford; Margie Vitale, Christiansburg

2009. Distinguished Recipientss

High School: Ben Webster, Snowville
College: Stephanie Connelly, Virginia Tech
Community: Karen Cronin, Shawsville; Fran Rooker, Radford; Rador Vaden, Blacksburg