LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- A Simpsonville, Kentucky man believes his calling in life is to help children become successful adults.
The next Jefferson Award winner puts his money where his mouth is.
Timir Banerjee is not your average farmer!
"I have many titles. I teach school. I am a professor of neurological surgery at the University of Louisville, I work for Norton in the urgent care and I work for my wife as a farmer," said Banerjee.
"For my wife's birthday, I gave her a manure spreader. She said people normally give rings or something like that. But I told her we needed a manure spreader."
Dr. Banerjee is also a retired neurosurgeon. The full time farmer, part time doctor invited us to his farm to tell us about his other passion in life. It's an organization he founded in 1997 called SPAVA.
"It's a society for the prevention of aggressiveness and violence among adolescent," said Dr. Banerjee.
He felt compelled to start the organization after the Heath High School shooting in Paducah, Kentucky. To raise awareness about the cause, he walked from Louisville, Kentucky all the way to Portland, Oregon. That's about 2,350 miles.
"I walked an average of about 40 miles a day for 87 days. That was a lot of walking," said Dr. Banerjee.
Donors pledged about $20,000 during his walking campaign. He used part of the money to develop a curriculum that he and other teachers now use in schools in Louisville and southern Indiana.
"It's is not a lecture program. The students have to get up, participate and talk. They have to share their feelings. I also talk to them about hypothetical situations. They must tell me how to resolve it by using the STAR method. The STAR method is stop, think, act and review your actions," said Dr. Banerjee.
The SPAVA program also provides scholarships for students who complete the curriculum.
"We are hoping that when these children grow up, they are not going to get suddenly angry and do something violent," said Dr. Banerjee.
Dr. Banerjee exemplifies everything the Jefferson Award represents. He's a person who goes above and beyond for others and changes lives through his words and actions. He truly makes this world a better place to live.
SPAVA is just one of the many ways this 73-year-old invests his time. He says he doesn't plan on slowing down or fully retiring anytime soon. Why? He has bills to pay.
"Part of the reason I'm still working is because I give my money to buy an MRI machine in Nepal. They need an MRI machine. I'm happy. I have a clear mind, I'm strong," said Dr. Banerjee.
"If a child has a need, I am there!"
Click here for more information about SPAVA
About the Jefferson Awards
The Jefferson Awards initiative, sometimes called, "The Nobel Peace Prize for Volunteerism" was pioneered over 40 years ago. The Jefferson Awards recognize volunteers who transform lives and strengthen communities through dedication and service. WDRB is proud to bring the Jefferson Awards to Louisville.
To nominate an individual or group for a Jefferson Award, CLICK HERE.
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