Annual Cobb Collaborative Human Services Awards & Cobb Community Foundation’s Howard Koepka Spirit of Collaboration Award Presented at Annual Luncheon

CC Executive Director Irene Barton, South Cobb Lions Representative Barry Krebs, CCF President Shari Martin

Photo: CC Executive Director Irene Barton, South Cobb Lions Representative Barry Krebs, CCF President Shari Martin

The Cobb Collaborative submitted the following news release:

The 30th Annual Cobb Collaborative Human Services Awards Luncheon was held last week where presentations and grant checks were awarded by the Cobb Collaborative (CC) and by Cobb Community Foundation (CCF). Hosted at Piedmont Church with over 120 attendees, Cobb Collaborative CEO Irene Barton conducted the meeting, sharing the award stage with co-sponsor Cobb Community Foundation CEO Shari Martin.

CC Executive Director Irene Barton, Reflections of Trinity Executive Director Laurie Wong, CCF President Shari Martin


“This event is one of our favorites every year. The nominations are a joy to read through, although the decisions are usually tough,” said CC Executive Director Irene Barton.

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The following are the winners announced in each category:

  • Cobb Collaborative’s Jack Vaughan, Jr. Human Services Award Winner with $1,000 Unrestricted Grant Check – Volunteer Category: Barry Krebs, volunteer for South Cobb Lions Club
  • Cobb Collaborative’s Jack Vaughan, Jr. Human Services Award Winner with $1,000 Unrestricted Grant Check – Professional Category: Laurie Ann Wong, Founder and CEO of Reflections of Trinity
  • Cobb Collaborative’s William Hanson Collaboration Award with $2,500 Unrestricted Grant Check: Kim Scofi of United Military Care
  • Cobb Community Foundation’s Howard Koepka Collaborative Spirit Award with $10,000 Unrestricted Grant Check: First Christian Church of Mableton

The Jack Vaughan, Jr. Human Services Award was established in 1994 by the Cobb Collaborative in memory of his unselfish dedication to public service. Jack Vaughan, Jr. was a state representative and member of the Cobb Collaborative who strongly advocated for those less fortunate in our community.  In memory of Jack’s service, the Collaborative honors a volunteer and a professional who have gone above and beyond to serve those in need.

CC Executive Director Irene Barton, United Military Care President Kim Scofi, CCF President Shari Martin

The William E. (Bill) Hanson Collaboration Award was established in 2008 to honor Bill Hanson for his more than 25 years of service to Cobb County. He is recognized for his collaborative spirit and bringing the Cobb non-profit organizations together to tackle issues and concerns.  Bill was one of the founders of the Cobb Human Services Coalition, a forerunner of the Cobb Collaborative and served in a variety of leadership positions with the CC.  Each year the CC identifies a person or organization that represents the true meaning of collaboration.

First Christian Church of Mableton’s Executive Pastor Barry Smith


Established by the Cobb Community Foundation in 2022, the Howard Koepka Award honors the life and collaborative spirit of the late Howard Koepka, a much-loved community organizer known for asking everyone everywhere, “How can we help you?”. In his role at Noonday Association of Churches, he was an integral part of the Cobb Community Food Fleet, an initiative of Cobb Community Foundation and Noonday Association in collaboration with 90 nonprofit, for profit, faith-based and government organizations that distributed over 4 million pounds of food during the pandemic.

The nominees in the volunteer category for the Jack Vaughan, Jr. Human Services Awards were:

Nominations for the Jack Vaughan, Jr. Human Services Award Professional Category:

·         Officer Paul Hill nominated by Marietta City Schools


Nominations for the Howard Koepka Collaborative Spirit Award:

·         [10womenofhope.org]10 Women of Hope nominated by Cobb Legal Aid

·         Austell Community Taskforce nominated by Connecting Generations-STFCC

·         The Center for Children and Young Adults nominated by Freestyle Promotions

·         Due West Church nominated by CC School District Homeless Education Program & Osborne HS Athletic Dept

·         First Christian Church of Mableton nominated by Lions Club of Cobb County

·         Pebble Tossers nominated by A.G. Rhodes

·         Reflections of Trinity nominated by Cay Communications

·         Riverside EpiCenter nominated by Cobb & Douglas Public Health

·         Sweetwater Mission nominated by Cobb County Sheriff’s Office

·         WorkSource Cobb nominated by In the Door

The $14,500 in grant dollars were made possible by S.A. White Oil Company.  Kim Gresh, President of S.A. White, and her team worked closely with Koepka and the Food Fleet throughout the pandemic providing fuel for refrigerated trailers over a 16-month period.  “Howard inspired more collaboration than I have ever seen, and the results were incredible.”

“Howard never considered what just he or his organization could do but instead what the collective ‘we’ could do,” said Shari Martin, CCF President & CEO.  “There really is no limit to what we can accomplish when we work together, and today’s event joining our two organizations together to recognize great collaborations happening in our community is evidence of that.”

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