"When I think of community volunteerism and dedication to service and all the goals of the Salvation Army, I think of Jo Ann Rice."
While she appreciates Bell's stamp of approval, Rice wasted little time herself in naming some people who influenced her - people like the late Bob Doman, Woody Guerrant and the Rev. David Birney, who were all dedicated advisory board members, volunteers and her mentors.
"Bob Doman - my husband (Tim) and I called him 'Neighbor Bob' - came over to my house a dozen or so years ago and asked me if I'd be willing to serve on the Salvation Army advisory board," said Rice, who is president of Symbiotix, while Tim Rice serves as chief executive officer.
"I told him I thought the Salvation Army was a good organization, and I agreed to serve, but I had to admit I didn't know what role I could play."
With Doman, Guerrant, Birney, other board members and the captain at the time all taking her under their wings, Rice didn't take long assuming several roles.
"What I learned from these wonderful people at the very beginning is that supporting the Salvation Army is a lot more than giving money to the organization," she said. "Money is important, but the intangible things you can do are more important.
"What the Army needs are a person's time, talents as well as treasure," she said.
Rice gave much of the time away from her job at Symbiotix and her talent as a pharmacist to help launch one of the area's most important medical programs for the disadvantaged - the Hope Clinic.
A collaborative venture of the Army, Ephraim McDowell Regional Medical Center, the Boyle County Health Department and Heart of Kentucky United Way, the clinic opened Dec. 18, 2006.
The health department provides the space; McDowell provides a nurse practitioner and other staff; the Army's social workers screen applicants; and the United Way provides the funding. In addition, prescriptions are provided through an arrangement with the Pharmaceutical Assistance Program, a service of a partnership of pharmaceutical companies.
"Since the clinic opened a year ago, more than 200 patients have received free services and medications there, including checkups, care and prescriptions," Rice said. "In all, those patients have made some 650 visits, and they have received more than $200,000 in free medications.
'It's not just me. It's a team effort.'
Rice, who serves on the Army's board and has served as its chairwoman, has been involved individually and as part of a large team of volunteers from Symbiotix with many of the Army programs.
"It's not just me. It's a team effort," she said.
"We are big supporters of the Angel Tree program, and we not only adopt several of the angels whose wish lists are on the tree every year, but we also are involved in putting together the toys and other things and delivering them to the children," she said.
"We also help put together Christmas food baskets and deliver them to needy families, take gifts to nursing homes, are involved in providing Christmas to families of Northpoint Training Center inmates, and ring bells at the Army's Christmas kettles."
More than 4,000 area residents, including the angels and the families who receive the 800 food baskets, get some sort of holiday help from the Army every Christmas, said Rice.
More than 46,000 people from Boyle and neighboring counties benefit from the Army's programs on an annual basis. The programs include tutoring, mentoring, housing, financial advice, music and recreation programs, she said.
While her main community activity has been the Army - and the Army has recognized her and her company's service with several awards - it certainly isn't the only local organization that receives Rice's time, talent and treasure.
She also serves on the board of the local United Way and Danville-Boyle County Chamber of Commerce and has been active in Beta Sigma Phi and its cancer programs. She also has been involved with youth programs at Lexington Avenue Baptist Church and the councils, academic programs and soccer teams at Woodlawn Elementary, Boyle Middle and Boyle High schools.
"Danville has been my family's home to me since 1991 and it has been good to us," said the 1983 University of Kentucky pharmacy school graduate. "And I feel an obligation to give something back to this wonderful community."
The "time, talent and treasure" torch that was passed onto Rice may well be passed from her onto her sons.
"One of the most rewarding and meaningful aspects of my service to the Army has been watching my sons pitch in when we are delivering Angel Tree gifts and food baskets," she said of Evan, 22, a student at University of Kentucky, and Alex, 20, a sophomore at Centre College.
"The Army and the people it helps have been like an extended family," Rice said. "It's also a big part of my family as well as my life."