WCBDD Employee Receives Posthumous Leadership Award from MLK Community Coalition


LEBANON, OH – On January 15, 2024, Warren County Board of Developmental Disabilities (WCBDD) employee, the late Oliva Forrester, was posthumously recognized by Lebanon’s Martin Luther King, Jr. Community Coalition as a recipient of the “Adult Community Leader Award.” Forrester passed away last September and was announced as a winner during the 39th Annual MLK Day Celebration, where she was honored for her community contributions in activism, advocacy, and awareness.

Raised in Knockemstill, Ohio, Olivia Forrester graduated from Paint Valley High School, where she shattered the glass ceiling by becoming the first female wrestler on an all-male wrestling team. Even then was Forrester’s proclivity for fighting inequities and removing barriers evident. These principles would only persist and prosper over time.

Forrester earned an Associate’s Degree in Liberal Arts from Sinclair Community College in 2020, and a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology from Ohio University in 2021. Prior to this, she served in various nursing homes as a Home Health Aide, and later became the caregiver for her aunt. In 2022, Forrester accepted a position as a Service Coordinator with the Warren County Board of Developmental Disabilities (WCBDD). As a Service Coordinator, she assisted individuals with developmental disabilities in identifying their needs, then connecting them with the resources and services available to meet those needs.

It is apparent from her chosen line of work that Forrester was a born activist. She strongly supported equal rights for all, advocated for social justice, and proudly served as a member of the MLK Community Coalition. Forrester was heavily involved in her community, and raised environmental issues awareness by planning and organizing events and fundraisers for the MLK Lebanon Earth Day. Additionally, she organized and raised funds to held ensure Caesar Creek became accessible for the Earth Day 5K, and was the creator and driving force behind the Stand-Up-To-Hate 5K fundraiser. From her passionate words, to even more passionate actions, there is no doubt that Forrester’s leadership has made a lasting impression on the Lebanon community.

The MLK Community Coalition of Lebanon is an organization that focuses on building an inclusive network of individuals in order to strengthen and empower the community. Each year, the Coalition recognizes and awards people whose contributions promote social justice, diversity, and inclusion, thereby emulating the vision of Dr. King. The “Adult Community Leader Award” is presented to individuals who demonstrate a strong and growing commitment to service, as well as, a sustained effort in advocating equal opportunities for all.

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