By Anna Taylor, The News Enterprise
It’s not uncommon to see John DuPlessis Sr. hard at work at a Habitat for Humanity construction site in Hardin County. At 81, DuPlessis isn’t slowing down or planning to stop anytime soon.
A volunteer for many years without having any expectation of compensation or recognition, DuPlessis will receive the Governor’s Volunteer Service Award on Aug. 12 in Frankfort.
The award is part of the Kentucky Governor’s Service Awards. Other categories include veteran volunteers, youth service and a Lifetime Achievement Award.
A retired metallurgical engineer, DuPlessis occupies his time with volunteer work. If he didn’t, he said he’d be bored. He spends many hours each week helping Habitat for Humanity in Hardin County and WaterStep in Louisville doing various labor.
“I’m on my 50th Habitat house,” he said.
DuPlessis said he started volunteering in the early 1960s when schools were integrated in Charlotte, North Carolina.
“The Catholic church volunteered their Catholic schools at night and had them teach math and science to students and go over their homework,” he said. “And we did for a year and a half and we helped them.”
DuPlessis previously has been awarded the Hardin County Distinguished Citizen Award from the Lincoln Heritage Council Boy Scouts of America twice — once in 1996 and again in 2007. He’s also been awarded the Golden Hammer from Habitat.
“I am always glad to have John DuPlessis at our construction site,” said Scott Turner, Hardin County Habitat’s executive director, in an email. “He brings a wealth of experience and a natural ability to teach and inspire others.”
DuPlessis also will be honored Sept. 15 as the 2016 Master Builder at the Habitat for Humanity Dinner, said Frank Anderson, president of the Hardin County Habitat board.
“John is a shining example of the volunteers that are the backbone of our Habitat ministry here in Hardin County,” he said.
State Rep. Tim Moore, who nominated DuPlessis for the Governor’s Volunteer Service Award and worked alongside him during an expansion of Clarity Solutions for Women, said DuPlessis has inspired him.
“While John DuPlessis would never consider himself special when it comes to volunteer service, he is absolutely deserving of this award,” Moore said in an email. “With his great passion for serving others, he is an inspiration to me and many others.
“At a time of life when many are taking it easy and relaxing, John gets up every day and finds a way to volunteer,” he continued. “I’ve been his helper on many construction projects and always look forward to working at his side.”
DuPlessis and his wife, Kitty, who have five children and 20 grandchildren, recently returned from Europe after celebrating their 57th wedding anniversary.