“Humanitarianism, among other things, is an act or belief in human life and it fits this lady real well.”
This was one of the many descriptions given of Jennifer Darsey, who was named Kirk Healing Center’s 2017 Humanitarian of the Year Thursday.
Darsey, executive director of United Way of the Coastal Empire-Liberty County Branch, was honored at a banquet in front of family and friends at the Liberty County Community Complex.
She has lived in Liberty County for 34 years. She graduated from Bradwell Institute and attended Mercer University where she majored in English literature and music. Darsey has worked as the chief state probation officer, Liberty County deputy clerk for criminal superior court, juvenile and family court, law clerk for the Atlantic Judicial Circuit and child advocate at Helen’s Havens Child Advocacy Center.
Hinesville Mayor Allen Brown read a proclamation in her honor.
Joey Brown spoke about Darsey and how he met her at First United Methodist Church.
Brown said Darsey and her husband, Pastor Alan Darsey of Restoration Church, led the youth ministry at the church and she participated in the worship services “displaying one of the most awesome singing voices this side of the Mississippi.”
“This brings me to her last passion, an extreme desire to take any task or mission given and turn it into a complete success story,” Brown said. “This drive, this determination, this willfulness had led this lady to step up to the plate during those times, when people needed it the most.”
Alan Darsey said he had been surprised at how “a guy like me would be able to marry up to a gal like her.” They were high school sweethearts.
“She’s been my bride for 22 years and my best friend for 26,” he said. “The thing that I love about my bride is that she’s the same person, no matter where you see her. She’s an authentic individual, she puts on no airs and she speaks the truth always.”
The pastor said, “Your generosity to those that are struggling and unwavering dedication to this community and to those that need a helping hand, it causes us to strive to be better people. You are absolutely contagious.”
Pastor Douglas Harn, the 2015 Humanitarian of the Year, presented the award to Jennifer Darsey.
She said she was humbled by the recognition and thanked family, friends and church members.
“God brought all these generous people into my life to inspire me to be a better person,” Darsey said. “I think our community is an incredible place and I think we have so many people who give so much of their time, who do incredible work, countless numbers and I’m just in the army and I get to be among them and be out there day to day.”
Judy Shippey, Kirk Healing Center secretary/treasurer, presented the Phoenix Award to the Rev. Arthur Scott. Shippey said the award represents residents who’ve turned their lives around and risen “from the ashes of their former selves.”
Scott said he was grateful.
“This award is a symbol of the blessing that I have received from God,” he said. “I am grateful of having held this award for the reward of a task successfully done. This is the motivational factor I needed to continue to grow.”
Music was provided by the Cathedral of Praise Choir and dinner catered by JJ’s Bar & Grill.