Malone honored with Santa's Helper Award

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Just to think that someone would think enough of me to nominate me, that really means a lot.”

By Zac Oakes



Ricky Malone has never sought recognition for his many efforts in the community, but he was recently honored by the Campbellsville Kiwanis Club as this year’s Santa’s Helper.

The Kiwanis Club presents the award annually to someone in the community who keeps the spirit of Christmas alive all year.

“It was really a big surprise,” Malone said. “I had no clue I had even been nominated.”

Malone said he wasn’t sure he would even attend the Christmas lighting ceremony at Miller Park—where he was presented as the winner of the award—but decided to go since his grandchildren were in town from Ohio and he thought they would enjoy seeing the lights.

“Just to think that someone would think enough of me to nominate me, that really means a lot,” Malone said. “…You just try to do what you can to help others, and when someone recognizes you for it, it’s just good.”

Gail Godsey nominated Malone for this year’s Santa’s Helper Award. Godsey attends Campbellsville Christian Church with Malone, and also was one of the founders of the local Habitat for Humanity Chapter with Malone. 

Malone said he was surprised that he was the recipient of the award. His family knew he was going to be presented the honor, but Malone said he didn’t even have the slightest clue.

“They were all in on it,” Malone laughed. “They just kept me in the dark.”

The award seems like the perfect fit for Malone, as giving just seems to come natural.

In Godsey’s letter, she wrote that Malone’s dedication to serving others is inspiring.

“… Whether it is actual construction of a Habitat house, or through our church’s Isaiah 58:10 Feeding Ministry, the local jail ministry, or serving Christ at Campbellsville Christian Church as an elder, Ricky is always the same person,” she wrote.

Malone is a jack of many trades, but he is probably best known as being one of the founding members of the Campbellsville-Taylor County Habitat for Humanity chapter, which officially began in 2000.

Since then, the local Habitat for Humanity chapter has completed seven homes and is nearly finished with its eighth, which will be the largest home the organization has constructed. The home on Wickliffe Avenue that is near completion will house a family of six, according to Malone.

He first became involved with Habitat after participating in Jimmy Carter Work Projects in Houston, Texas, as well as in Berea, Kentucky. After participating in these, Malone said he talked with some people at Campbellsville Christian Church (where he currently serves as an elder and has attended since 1990) and they were able to begin the process of creating a local chapter.

For Malone, being involved with Habitat for Humanity means providing someone with the ability to own a home that may otherwise never have the opportunity.

“It’s just an opportunity to be able to work with those people and give them the opportunity to own a home,” Malone said. “I love being able to help those people who have been dealt a difficult circumstance or had tough times and give them a safe and decent place to live.”

Over the years, Malone said he most remembers the children they have been able to provide a home to.

In one particular instance, Malone said he remembers building a home for a woman who had lived with her children in “very crowded conditions” in public housing. The woman’s son, who Malone estimates was between 8-10 years old, ran over to Malone’s vehicle when he first heard the news.

“He just came over and he said, ‘You are going to build us a house?’” Malone recalled. “And I still remember that to this day. It means a lot to be able to help these families.”
Outside of Habitat for Humanity, Malone is actively involved with many programs at Campbellsville Christian Church. Among those is the Isaiah 58:10 Feeding Ministry.

Campbellsville Christian Church started the ministry around three years ago, and has continually grown. Members of the church cook homemade meals, which are then delivered to local residents at their homes.

“It started out with just one little neighborhood, but it has grown quite a bit,” Malone said. “But now we have delivery routes and a few different neighborhoods. We have people go out and take different sections of town.”

Malone is involved with the cooking part of the ministry. He can be found at the church on Wednesday afternoons, cooking and packaging meals. Team members pray over the packaged meals before they are delivered.

“We just try to reach out and help those people who need it,” Malone said.

Malone and his wife, Mona, are also very active in the church’s jail ministry, where they work with the local jail to have worship services on Sunday afternoons.

“I really have a heart for those guys in jail,” Malone said. “And Mona really has a heart for those women in there. Our church tries to cover each Sunday there… We can’t do a whole lot for them, but we at least try to bring them some good news and help when we can.”

And recently, Ricky and Mona have become involved with Narcotics Anonymous meetings, which are held at the church. They attend the meetings as encouragers, where they try to uplift those who are struggling with addiction.

“We have gotten to know a lot of people through that, and we love talking with them and encouraging them,” he said.

Through this, and working with residents at The Healing Place that volunteer to assist with Habitat for Humanity, Malone said they have made some really good friends and try to help those at The Healing Place who want to stay in Campbellsville after completing their program by helping to find them a place to live and other necessities.

“We really just try to help them get on their feet and give them a little push,” Malone said.   

In Godsey’s nomination letter, she wrote that Ricky and Mona are a “tremendous blessing to so many people throughout Campbellsville and Taylor County.”

“… They together, and as individuals, shine the light of Jesus Christ as his servants, as his disciples, and as his warriors. They have been, and continue to be blessings to so many.”

Aside from his many community service ventures, Malone enjoys working on his old 1944 pickup truck, mowing his own—and others—yards, and target practice shooting.

He said he is thankful for the Campbellsville Kiwanis Club for choosing him for this award, but said it wouldn’t be possible to do what he does without the love, support, and encouragement from his wife.

“She is a big encouragement,” he said. “She helps a lot of people behind the scenes and one-on-one type things. She is a really big encouragement to me.”