Jim Kerr will be honored by the State | News, Sports, Jobs

COLUMBUS — A retired longtime local educator who founded the Beaver Creek Wildlife Education Center is being honored by the State of Ohio.

The Ohio Department of Aging (ODA) will induct Jim Kerr of Lisbon, a professor of biology in northeastern Ohio for more than four decades with the Beaver Local School District, Columbiana County Educational Service Center and the Ohio Valley College of Technology, in the Ohio Senior Citizens Hall of Fame on Wednesday during a special ceremony at the Statehouse atrium. He is one of 15 to be inducted for a lifetime of contributions and accomplishments.

Kerr began teaching science at Beaver Local School District in 1971, passing on her enthusiasm for nature to her students. In 1977, a student brought Kerr a dead bird he had found. Recognizing the specimen’s educational potential, he kept the bird in a freezer while he worked to obtain a Federal Fish and Wildlife Permit, which would allow him to mount the bird and to use it for display. Although it was a long process, he was determined to finally obtain this license in 1981. He then procured an extensive collection of mounts and skins for use in biology classes and other science throughout his career.

As an extension of his teaching career, Kerr used the mounts and taxidermy skins he acquired for his class to found the Beaver Creek Wildlife Education Center (BCWEC). Additionally, he worked with local legislators and state officials to secure funds for additions to the BCWEC building. The new addition was completed and opened in 2011, with an additional hall added in 2017 to house the North American Wildlife exhibit.

In addition to Kerr, Rashid A. Abdu, MD, FACS, of Canfield, will also be inducted. By practicing surgery for decades and training new generations of doctors, Abdu has improved and/or saved the lives of countless patients in the Mahoning Valley. After age 70, he volunteered as a physician/surgeon with Mission of Love to the Mayans in Yucatan, Mexico at an orphanage clinic in Guatemala, Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, in South Dakota, New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. In 1994, Abdu lost his wife, Joanie, to breast cancer. With the help of Mercy Health, Mercy Health Foundation and a caring and generous community, Joanie Abdu Comprehensive Breast Care Center opened in 2011 and has become one of the top breast care centers from the country.

Abdu and Kerr will be recognized by their peers, Governor Mike DeWine, the Ohio General Assembly, the Ohio Association of Area Agencies on Aging and leaders of the Ohio Aging Network.

“I am honored to congratulate the newest members of the Ohio Senior Citizens Hall of Fame,” said Ursel J. McElroy, director of the Ohio Department of Aging. “This year’s inductees have a diverse range of experiences that they have used over their lifetime to contribute to their communities in meaningful ways. Among them are doctors, teachers, veterans, philanthropists, historians, musicians, actors, etc. But even though they may have different backgrounds, one thing they all share is a call to go above and beyond to help others. They each have had a profound impact across the state and are well deserving of this prestigious achievement.

The Ohio Senior Citizens Hall of Fame was established in 1977 to honor Ohios aged 60 and older for their accomplishments, their contributions to others, and the roles they play in their communities. Their stories are compelling and represent lifetimes of dedication, ingenuity, perseverance, kindness and compassion. This year’s inductees range in age from 66 to 101, bringing the total number of Hall of Fame members to 501.

The Ohio Channel will broadcast the ceremony live beginning at 1:30 p.m. Wednesday. It can be viewed at: https://www.ohiochannel.org/live/special-events. Photos and full biographies of all 2022 inductees are available at https://www.aging.ohio.gov/halloffame.

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