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Philanthropic service provides new chapter for E’town mom

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Dana Taylor ‘never afraid to step up and take charge’

By Robert Villanueva

When Dana Taylor divorced and became a single mother, she began a new chapter in her life. She filled the pages of that chapter with volunteer service.

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The 27-year-old’s resume now includes a stint as president of the Rotaract Club of Hardin County, a service organization, and founder of a nonprofit organization called Hands Filled With Heart, which serves as a volunteer resource. She recently was named branch chairwoman of the Hardin County branch of USA Cares, a national nonprofit organization that helps post-9/11 military and their families.

The Elizabethtown resident said her journey began after she decided to volunteer at Warm Blessings, which provides meals for those in need. She found she enjoyed volunteering.

“It’s good for your soul,” Taylor said.

An account coordinator for United Residential Lending Corp, Taylor works from home most days, working in Louisville one day a week.

A few years ago, when she created a Facebook page called Hands Filled With Heart, a Rotary Club member saw it and contacted her. That club member told Taylor about a new sister branch of the club for those ages 18-30, the Rotaract Club of Hardin County.

Taylor was service chair director for two years before becoming president for a one-year term, which ends this month.

During her tenure, she helped with service projects such as a home build with Hardin County Habitat for Humanity. She plans to continue to stay active with the club.

“It’s a good group of people,” she said.

In May, Taylor graduated from Western Kentucky University with a bachelor’s degree in history and social studies.

And just as she’s ending her term as president of Rotaract Club of Hardin County, Taylor has accepted a volunteer role of Hardin County branch chairwoman of USA Cares.

“I felt like the timing was perfect,” Taylor said. “I was just finishing school, and my term as president with Rotaract was coming to an end.”

The task of her branch, she said, is to raise money and awareness for the USA Cares mission by building a “dedicated volunteer base” and providing “fun, engaging and rewarding opportunities to support the program.”

The concept of helping others, she said, was instilled in her by her parents, especially her mother, who told her it was better to give to the wrong person than not give to the right one.

“I always believed you should pay it forward,” she said.

In the past few years, Taylor, with the help of her two sisters and mother, transformed Hands Filled With Heart from a page on Facebook into a nonprofit organization.

In addition to being a resource for volunteer opportunities, the organization began a campaign called Kids In Transition or K.I.T., for which it teamed up with Hardin County Family Resource Centers. K.I.T. seeks to provide foster children with items such as journals, calendars, toys, pencils and small toiletries.

Taylor’s involvement in the community comes as no surprise to her mother, Karen Taylor. Karen said her daughter is comfortable in any situation and has a history of taking initiative.

“She has always been a leader, never afraid to step up and take charge even as a little girl,” Karen said, citing her daughter’s gift with words.

While Taylor keeps busy with her life of volunteer service, she maintains a home life that includes an active 6-year-old. Her son, Talon, is a big sports fan, she said.

Her personal life includes a diagnosis she received last summer of chronic myelogenous leukemia. Taylor’s diagnosis has not deterred her spirit.

In fact, she writes about her experiences, as well as other areas of her life, in her blog, “Confessions of a Single Mom.”

Karen said she is amazed at all her daughter does in personal, professional and civic areas, especially since her medication sometimes makes her tired or extremely sick.

Taylor expressed an optimistic philosophy.

“Even on my worst days, I’m still completely blessed,” she said.

Robert Villanueva can be reached at (270) 505-1743 or rvillanueva@thenewsenterprise.com.

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