Thorough | Jane Abildgaard retired from a
telecommunications career two decades ago, but that does not mean she has quit working. She is a volunteer powerhouse. Much of her time is spent working at Kansas City Hospice. One of her main duties there is serving as the volunteer coordinator. Oftentimes, this means working with hospice staff to find a volunteer who can provide some respite to the patient’s caregivers. A native of Hutchinson, Kansas, and a graduate of the University of Kansas, Jane’s career brought her to Kansas City 25 years ago from Chicago. She loves her adopted hometown. Jane also serves as a lay minister for her church, Village Presbyterian, in Prairie Village. And just like with hospice, her work with the church involves comforting people through tough times. “I think it is important to try and make the world around me a better place,” Jane says.
Jane Abildgaard, 70
Selfless | Cathy and Tom have been married
55 years. In that time, they have worked together to become examples of service and dedication to the community, their faith family, and their six children. “We are always moved by the need,” Cathy says, feeling that “giving back” is just a natural motivational force. From raising over $1 million for an area school through a weekly Bingo game that has been running for 27 years, to organizing a school’s BackSnack program, to
driving aging persons to appointments, Cathy and Tom have said “yes” to countless needs. They encourage others to get involved. “The rewards of giving your time and energy are much greater than the efforts you make,” they say with enthusiasm. “If we all pitched in, we could accomplish SO much ... especially in the area of hunger. In America, there should always be a place for someone to get the food they need.”
Cathy & Tom Adams, 75
Kind | “It is difficult to use just one word to
describe Joan because she is capable in so many ways, but all those capabilities are initiated by kindness to others,” a friend said of Joan Albright. Joan helps organizations such as Women with One Voice, the Women’s Foundation, Women’s Initiative Network, Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce, and St. Andrew Christian Church, but as a true good Samaritan, she performs single good deeds for many individuals, some of whom are total strangers. Is the wiring in their house bad? Do they need an accessibility ramp to their door? Joan can and does help. Joan has more than 35 years of experience with electrical and medical supply firms, including serving as vice president
of Cardinal Health. Even after retirement, she
continued to mentor promising employees. An avid golfer, she works with those just learning to play. Friends know Joan has the experience and compassion to give a little kind attention where it’s needed to make life go right.
Joan Albright, 70
Dedicated | Larry Allen is dedicated to the
relationships he has made during his lifetime. He is extremely loyal, caring and loving. When assisting friends and associates to move forward, he encourages them to become engaged with others, recognize the best within themselves and
take actions to fulfill their goals. Larry is always seeking ways to deepen existing relationships and extending opportunities to others to become connected and involved in social and business networking arenas. Following a 26-year career with UTI/Sprint, Larry continued his career field of project management by seeking out nonprofit organizations to help them achieve their goals and objectives. He has served as president of the Kansas City Ski Club and on the board of the New Landings Job Club and has remained active volunteering as a marshal at various golf courses. He continues to inspire many to keep active and involved lives; to reach out to others; and to help them experience and live a fuller, more active life.
Larry Allen, 73
Conscientious | Debby Barker passes on her love of ecology to kids. “We’ve got to learn how to live in harmony,” she said, “because it’s the only world we’ve got.” Her volunteer passions are Lakeside Nature Center, a Kansas City Parks Department facility that houses around 75 animals; and StoneLion Puppet Theatre, which puts on ecological and nature-based performances. Debby cherishes the look on kids’ faces when they get to touch an owl’s foot, even
though it is not a live owl. She thrills at the chance to have birds on her wrist. You might also see Debby manning a table at a school science night. A retired computer programmer, she grew up on Long Island, New York, and accompanied her husband here 50 years ago when he took a job at
the University of Missouri, Kansas City.
Debby is not one to sit around: She didn’t turn on the TV for months after her second husband died in January.
Debby Barker, 78
Dedicated | Dr. Gary Beauchamp transitioned
from a career as an interventional cardiologist to
a volunteer woodworker without skipping a beat.
Gary helps build houses and wheelchair ramps
for Habitat for Humanity. He participates in week
long working service trips which have included two trips to Guatemala to build a school and a church; a trip to Twake Village Kenya and three trips to Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota. A farm boy who grew up outside Pomona, Kansas, Gary is following in the footsteps of his carpenter father. A gifted carver, too, works he gives away include University of Kansas Jayhawks, fish crafted out of old fence boards, and cars for kids. He also puts his skills to use for the Kansas City Indian Center, like making a case to hold moccasins. If recipients are so inclined, Gary suggests a donation to a research fund honoring his daughter, who died at age 33 from colorectal cancer. Gary is also an elder at Rolling Hills Presbyterian Church in Overland Park. He keeps a packed schedule because he’s used to staying busy. Besides, he said, “It’s not healthy to sit around and watch TV all day.”
Dr. Gary Beauchamp, 75
Outstanding | Chairman of Tension Corporation, civic leader Bert Berkley founded the Local Investment Commission (LINC) in 1992, which is focused on investing in children and families. One of the first LINC programs was placing health care professionals, mental health specialists and social workers in KC Public Schools to meet the needs of children and parents to serve the whole child. Today that concept, known as Community Schools, is a major educational movement in the U.S. Bert is a former chairman of the UMKC Trustees and a recipient of the UMKC Chancellor’s Medal, the highest nonacademic award UMKC gives to a volunteer. He has served as chairman of the Civic Council and the Greater KC Chamber of Commerce, and as a board member of the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation’s Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership. Bert is on the Board of the Smithsonian National Postal Museum and Institute for Education Leadership, Washington, DC. He graduated from Duke University and Harvard Business School and served in World War II and the Korean War, receiving the Combat Infantry Badge and the Bronze Star for Meritorious Service.
Bert Berkley, 96
Exceptional | Jodie Blackburn loves bringing therapy dogs to visit hospital patients at AdventHealth Shawnee Mission. Patients share their feelings and stories in the presence of a four-legged friend. As a longtime dog owner, Jodie knows the therapeutic effect animals have and feels good about being able to bring that to people in need of comfort. What began as a way to get out of the house as her family needed less of her time has turned into 19 years and 6,200-plus lifetime volunteer hours at Shawnee Mission Hospital. She has worked in many areas of the hospital, including administration, admitting, the early learning center, nutrition services,
security, events, and recently the surgical waiting room. If there is a volunteer need, she is among the first called. She is also active in her church and with a group of high school friends who meet monthly to share a meal. While Jodie may seem exceptional to some, for her, sharing her time doing volunteer work or among her
church or high school friends is just her way of giving back and staying active in her community.
Jodi Blackburn, 81
Quietly Great | Dr. Linda Breytspraak studied healthy aging long before the trend began. In the 1970’s, as a graduate student at Duke University her discipline of sociology led her to specialize in gerontology and she met with people from many different fields to discuss
aging effects. Her post-doctoral work brought social scientists and psychiatrists together to study mental health and aging. In Kansas City at UMKC, she was a professor of sociology and medicine focusing on gerontology, where she helped establish a variety of projects including one that paired UMKC medical students with residents at John Knox Village. The students spent time with their older adult mentors
learning about every day aging issues that could help them in their medical careers. She also served as president of the Association for Gerontology in Higher Education during her tenure. She earned a fellowship upon retirement to teach gerontology through online courses. Currently she continues her intergenerational
interests in an Operation Breakthrough reading
program and with church music groups.
Dr. Linda Breytspraak, 74
Leader | After serving from 1997 to 2004 in
the Missouri House of Representatives as a
Democrat from Kansas City, would anybody
have blamed Marsha Campbell for bowing out of public service? But that’s not what Marsha did – instead she became a Trustee of the Jackson County Mental Health Fund in 2005. The fund raises about $12 million each year in property tax receipts, and Marsha helps distribute the proceeds to nonprofit mental health providers. As a trustee, she says, “I feel like I am doing something to help and to ensure that the limited funds we have go to places that are actually really helping.” Marsha is also an active volunteer with her church, Country Club United Methodist in Brookside. Her advice to seniors who want to get active in volunteering is to simply contact an organization that interests you. “Once they have you, they will never let go,” she promises!
Marsha Cambell, 73
Dependable | They say ability is nothing
without dependability. According to those who
know her, Anne Sutton Canfield has plenty of
both. Volunteering for Anne provides connection
and structure after a long career in journalism and public relations. What she brings to her volunteer work is a long-held family value that anything worth doing is worth doing well. Anne volunteers for the pet vaccination clinic at Spay and Neuter Kansas City. She also has been a volunteer for Adventures in Learning programming for about three years. Value, quality and professionalism are qualities Anne brings to Adventures in Learning. Her thoughtful leadership builds consensus, shapes goals, and creates high standards for all involved. One expression of her attention to others’ interests and needs is how in touch she stays with meaningful and enjoyable programming. She then brings these programs to fruition with the utmost care. Her disposition moves those around her to give their most and be their best.
Anne Sutton Canfield, 74
Resilient | Dale A. Chaffin has an extensive
professional history as assistant treasurer at
Trans World Airlines; vice president of Puritan Bennett Corporation; chief operating officer at Shook, Hardy & Bacon; and adjunct professor of business administration at Baker University. He has also contributed his professional skills and time to Kansas Special Olympics, Johnson County Developmental Services, and Friends of JCDS. Dale finds great meaning in his ability to provide financial and business guidance to mission-driven organizations. Dale feels gratified when he witnesses another successful program trainee achieve employment and independence. His work influences the lives of individual beneficiaries and also helps shift society’s perception of persons with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Dale describes bearing witness to the joy on a Special
Olympian’s face as, after years of being passed over for sports teams, they win their first medal. This is the supreme reward for resilience.
Dale A. Chaffin, 80
Faithful | Margi and Bob have been partners in ministry for 50 years. They have filled pulpits and served as volunteers in numerous capacities, such as recording books for the blind, staffing suicide prevention hotlines, and leading fund-raising for their Christian Church camps. They also have directed several seasons of “Grandparents Camp”. For years, lucky dogs have been rescued by Margi and Bob, and until last year, they volunteered at Wayside Waifs, walking dogs awaiting adoption. The Colericks believe they have been blessed, and so want to return blessings to others. Needs today are everywhere, they say, especially among the growing population of older adults. Until beginning
with Home Delivered Meals through Shepherd’s Center, they volunteered at the Jewish Family Service Food Pantry and an inner city meals program. When needs are apparent among clients, they have raked lawns, watered flowers, and even painted a porch and garage for a 90-year old man. Every holiday season they share their 600+ nativities, open to the public, for a free-will offering to support local churches.
Margi & Bob Colerick, 72 & 73
Energy | Betsy Conrad exudes boundless energy. It has taken her to Kauffman Performing Arts Center, to Kansas City Repertory Theatre, and to Starlight Theatre. She volunteered at these venues as an usher and as a backstage guide at Starlight. Then there was her time at St. Joseph Medical Center where no task was too much. There she served in the volunteer transport department. She helped patients in wheelchairs, delivered flowers to rooms and assisted food services, among other
duties. Her positive attitude fuels her community service. She admits to not sitting still very well but wishes to be “part of the community and do what needs to be done.”
Betsy Conrad, 76
Dedication | What kind of volunteer work can you do if you like driving, like meeting people, and like being out and about? For Perry Cook, the answer was to donate time to the Catch-a-Ride (CAR) program in Johnson County. Volunteers take clients to medical appointments, grocery stores, food pantries and social service agencies. In one instance, Perry proceeded with a scheduled
ride even though he could not get ahold of the client beforehand. He was concerned when the client did not answer the door, so he called back to the CAR office, where staff called emergency services personnel. They responded and found the client passed out on the floor. Perry is a Kansas farm boy who has lived in Olathe for 35 years. He is retired from the mirror and glass business.
“I don’t understand when I hear people who are retired say they are bored,” he said. “I just keepbusy all the time.”
Perry Cook, 76
Dependable | Fortune smiled on the Cooks and allowed them to retire early. Even so, they were not going to retire and just sit. They determined they would be busy and help. Beginning with volunteer service for months at a time in three national parks, Ginny and Royce more recently have devoted time and passion to the Johnson
County Meals on Wheels program, both through delivering meals and acting as ambassadors to those interested in the program. “It’s a pleasure to go see the residents and say something encouraging or helpful,” they say ... “[it’s] a God-given mission we can do ... and it’s like taking
someone a gift!” Their reward comes in the people they meet and in getting to know their community by visiting different neighborhoods. The Cooks live life to the fullest and enjoy doing something
for others to better their day.
Ginny & Royce Cook, 79
Feisty | Sister Berta Sailer and Sister Corita
Bussanmas are true trailblazers who have
shaped Kansas City for the better. In 1971, Sister Berta and Sister Corita co-founded Operation Breakthrough, a child care center for the working poor and homeless in Kansas City. With few connections and even fewer resources, the scrappy and determined sisters worked tirelessly to help children and their families break through the cycle of poverty and, in turn, have garnered incredible results. Operation Breakthrough is the largest child care center in Kansas City. But even more important, many of the thousands of children served are now adults with successful careers and established families who continue to give back to
the center that gave them hope and allowed them to break through. It all started with an unwavering vision that’s still present today. Each family Operation Breakthrough touches is better for it — and so are we.
Corita Bussanmas, 85
Driven | A simple decision made in 1982 led
Pat Dalton to impact thousands of lives. As an elementary school principal, Pat agreed to help his school librarian’s son, living with cerebral palsy, compete in track and field. To make this a reality, Pat submitted an application to Disability Sports USA, requesting a sanctioned regional competition. Fast-track 15 years, and this regional competition grew to host over 300
athletes competing in 30 events. The national office recognized Pat for running one of the best regionals in the country. He’s continued this work for 37 years, saying his success is simply the result of trying hard to take care of people. He spreads his passion for giving back to his family, encouraging them to volunteer for Disability Sports USA. And now, Pat’s training the daughter
of that same school librarian to step into his shoes so this story of strength will continue.
Jerome Dalton, 83
Loved | Ardie is often associated with Kansas City barbecue, and the annual American Royal barbecue competition, but even more, he has invested his time and talents to make his community better ... from his neighborhood and the glorious R Park in Roeland Park to working with the poor in New York City. Ardie’s belief is that everyone has the capacity to do good. Ardie
and his wife, Gretchen, are an extraordinary and inspirational team. Together they have raised gifts and grants, provided motivation, and built an effective partnership with city leaders to create a community park that exemplifies what a public government-private citizen partnership can accomplish. R Park, with its walking trails, pavilion and public art is a lasting gift. Ardie says
his joy comes from seeing people of all ages using the park. Ardie’s message to each of us: Be positive, be persistent, and be there when it counts to make positive changes in our world.
Ardie Davis, 77
Dedicated | Toni and Don Davis have multiple connections to volunteer projects, including Johnson County Meals on Wheels and the Kansas City Rescue Mission through their church. Don’s family was engaged in the community through Junior Achievement during its days with H. Roe Bartle as the leader. Toni’s family had a more complicated early life, but both knew they wanted to do something connected to community when retirement left them feeling lost. Substitute driving for Meals on Wheels soon became their “something.” For 20-25 years Toni has volunteered at the Kansas City Rescue Mission with hopes of helping people with their alcohol addiction, as someone likely helped her own father with his. Toni and Don frame their Meals on Wheels delivery stories as an “honor” and a “privilege.” A 95-year-old client invited them to her birthday party, where they were introduced with honor as her “friends.” “You just never know,” says the Davisduo. “Each person has a story and value.”
Toni & Don Davis
75 & 76
Inspirational | Gretchen watched her mother volunteer and draw people to her. As a second-grade teacher, Gretchen learned more about relationships and how young and older people can be motivated to accomplish more than they thought possible. A citizens group she organized
five years ago to guide and create the revitalization of R Park in Roeland Park continues to meet. Gretchen says, “they meet because of their shared commitment to improving their City.” Gretchen and her husband, Ardie, have learned that if you
“open the door,” you give another person a reason to walk in and join you in making a difference. In cooperation with the City of Roeland Park and its Parks and Arts Committees, the Citizens Fundraising Group received numerous grants and awards for the R Park project. Gretchen recruited
a variety of local professionals and concerned citizens who joined forces to give their City an exemplary park - something which is lasting and a benefit for people of all ages.
Gretchen Davis, 77
Giving | Jack served his country for 20 years
in the Navy, computer operator for 30 years and served as Worthy Patron in several Masonic Lodges. Ruth Ann retired after 22 years civil service, volunteered 10 years on HELP Inc. Ambulance, and served as Worthy Matron in Weston and Platte City Chapters. They dedicate their time and talents to important legislative service for Missouri’s older adults. Together, they’ve contributed 30 years of volunteer service to the MARC chapter of the Missouri Silver Haired
Legislature, where Jack serves as Speaker of the House and Ruth Ann represents Platte and Clay counties as a Senator. From their local service in Weston, Platte County and Clay County to their amazing work proposing bills and lobbying at the capitol in Jefferson City — these extraordinary delegates put all they are into advocating for older adults. They’re an inspiration to those they work with, as well as the many citizens they work for.
Ruth Ann & Jack DeSelms 79 & 76
Compassionate | Singer, special education teacher and psychologist, Linda is passionate about music and mental health. At UMKC, she obtained Bachelor of Music and Master of Music degrees and a Ph.D. in counseling psychology. Linda’s affiliation with UMKC led to leadership and service for many years. Linda helped found UMKC Jazz Friends, led fundraising efforts, and served as president. As vice president of special events for UMKC Conservatory Women’s Committee, she’s chaired their annual scholarship fundraiser. With her husband, she donated a jazz studies scholarship and a business school scholarship. She continues her interest in mental health issues at the Center for Behavioral Medicine and operates the hospital gift shop, raising funds for patient needs. Past leadership includes SAI, Lyric Opera Women’s
Committee, church trustee, Citizen Advisory
Committee for Probation and Parole KCMO, and
Friends of Western Missouri Mental Health Center. Devoted wife, mother and grandmother of five children and six grandchildren, she loves time with family and friends.
Linda Eddy, 75
Humble | Ask Leo Eisert how he’s doing, and he might just tell you, “If I was doing any better, I’d be twins.” It’s that optimism, and his tremendous work ethic, that endears him to staff and fellow congregants at First Baptist Church of Blue Springs, where he is an elder and a deacon. A native of Kansas City, Kansas, Leo watched and learned from his father, who had a filling station in Armourdale. Leo is a genius handyman for
the church — doing electrical, plumbing and
carpentry work all around the 92,000-square-foot building. He volunteered 500 hours for the church in the first six months of this year alone. He has been retired for about two decades from the plastic-bottling company where he worked for 40 years. He has also volunteered with Southern Baptist International Mission, Southern Baptist
Disaster Relief, Jail and Prison Ministry, Ministry to Widows, Widowers and Senior Citizens with handy man needs. He attributes his success in life to God’s plan. “Each of us has gifts and talents, and
we need to make good use of them.”
Leo Eisert, 84
Unlimited | The impossible is always possible, says Dr. Harold Finch. His life’s work is an example of this, too. He was project director for thermal control NASA’s Apollo Spacecraft mission to the moon, for starters. His life followed with many other successes that included helping found Johnson County Community College. After living among the poor in India, he and his wife, Peggy, created a foundation that helps sponsor and train
volunteers in 25 underdeveloped countries. His recent work passes along his wisdom and tips to others through his “Keys to Great Success” presentations that he presents pro bono all over the world. He believes “most people have dreams but don’t do anything with them,” so his talks help provide advice and specific steps on how to accomplish their goals. Finch was an executive producer for a 2013 film based loosely on his life,
“Unlimited,” starring Fred Thompson.
Dr. Harold Finch, 86
Artistic | Art brings people together. That is
one of Eleanor Frasier’s mottos. She has been the chairwoman for Blue Springs Public Art Commission and wants to make sure that art is accessible to all people. Art can be a way to identify a city, and it can also boost community spirit, she says. Blue Springs established a public art program in 2000, and Eleanor was a charter member. Her influence included bringing “The
Wall That Heals,” which honors Vietnam veterans, to Blue Springs in 2010. It was so successful that city officials asked her to help create a permanent location to honor veterans of all wars: the Veterans Way Memorial. She is working with the Daughters of the American Revolution on a history book about Blue Springs that will be given to fourth graders. She is currently on the board of directors for Truman Heartland Community Foundation.
Eleanor Frasier, 74
Energetic | Ada Frazier reads insatiably, does crossword puzzles, and walks almost every day. That’s the way she stays sharp and active. But one of the most telling stories about Ada’s volunteer commitment involves cards. Ada has volunteered at Kansas City Hospice House since it opened in 2006, and on one occasion, she organized a weekly bridge game with a patient who loved the game. The game went on even though the
patient’s condition improved, and she went home. Incredibly, this game continued for 10 years, even as the patient went in and out of hospice before passing. Ada also volunteers at the Seton Center, a social services organization located in Kansas City’s urban core. She helps organize and execute the “Christmas Gathering” fundraiser held
annually in the community room of Saint Thomas More church. The eight couples provide food and drink and all donations, approximately, $25,000 yearly, go directly to Seton Center.
Ada Frazier, 79
Humble | Ray credits Ronald Holzschuh, the
Director of Big Brothers, for getting him involved in mentoring troubled youth. Ray has worked since 1968 with Big Brothers Big Sisters and the State of Missouri as a foster parent. Several of his young people continue a relationship with him, a testament to the power of easing the pain of a troubled youth with listening and care. Ray’s devotion to serving at-risk youth, and his willingness to take these kids into his home, is an inspiration to all who know him. By providing
shelter, consistency, attention and hope to children impacted by trauma, Ray offers each child the potential to grow into a strong, productive, happy adult. In addition to Ray’s contributions with Big Brothers Big Sisters, Ray enjoys mentoring at
Cornerstones of Care.
Donald Ray Fuller, 77
Dedicated | As an agent for Freedom through Architecture, Certified City Planner, Researcher, Writer and Public Policy Analyst, Lawrence Goldblatt possesses abundant skills to offer his community. A born problem-solver with endless imagination, he uses his professional acumen to help others gain freedom. His day-to-day commitment to advancing his surroundings is unparalleled. Lawrence has a long history
of standing behind his clients for what is right regardless of cost. He has advocated for minorities, historical preservation, housing rights and youth education. He approaches his businesses and pro bono endeavors with the same integrity and determination. His personal philosophy manifests in relentless effort for all. Lawrence continues his work to educate young people, advocate for fair housing practices, and advance Kansas City’s
urban core to better meet the needs of its
citizens for years to come. His committed
leadership moves the bar forward and pushes his peers to keep up.
Lawrence Goldblatt, 70
Inspirational | If you ask anyone who knows
Coleen Good, they’ll tell you you’ll never meet someone with a bigger heart. But if you ask her, she’ll tell you she simply loves giving back to her community. With 500 hours of volunteer service with Johnson County Human Services in the past seven years, her exuberance, verve and vigor are
undeniable. Coleen and her husband, Wayne, first joined Johnson County Human Services in 2012. Together, they delivered Meals on Wheels each week to people in and around Kansas City, Kansas. Though Wayne passed away in 2018, Coleen continues to be a dedicated friend and servant to anyone who asks for help. Coleen’s fellow volunteers call her a “triple threat.” More accurately, Coleen could be considered a “quadruple threat” since she volunteers for Meals on Wheels and Catch-a-Ride, along with working at the Gardener food pantry
with food donations and as an office assistant.
Coleen Good, 75
Amazing | After retiring from AT&T in
2006, Berenice Haberman went full force into volunteering for several organizations, including the Beth Shalom Sisterhood and the National Council of Jewish Women, which advocates for woman and children. Berenice co-chaired a honey fundraiser that sold over 1,000 jars of honey that were shipped all over the United States. She
also spends much of her free time volunteering at Congregation Beth Shalom in the office and gift shop, on their Board of Directors and she volunteers in countless other ways as well. Friends tease her that she is busier now than when she was working full time. Mother of three and grandmother of 10, she is always available to help family members in times of need. “She serves as
a wonderful role model to her friends and the community, giving her time and helping others less fortunate,” her admiring daughter said. “She has taught us to stay busy and active and do good deeds.”
Berenice Haberman, 78
Angel, Resilient, Unstoppable |
To be around Judy Haines is to be in the presence of joy. From baking to blowing up balloons to reading lines with actors, Judy has a colorful volunteer history. Currently, she gives over 10 hours per week of her
time to Shepherd’s Center as a receptionist as well as with Adventures in Learning. She consistently brings contagious energy, a positive spirit and an outstanding sense of humor. Judy loves working with people and it shows. When her children were young, Judy read to kids at school as a volunteer and led Boy Scouts and Webelos troops. She worked with aging agencies helping provide
support and home-delivered meals for those in need. She worked for infectious disease doctors at Trinity Lutheran. Aiding others is a way of life for Judy. Judy faced personal health issues and attributes her coping
success to the Turning Point program at the University of Kansas Health System. There she learned the true value of community in healing. As a self-described “background” person, her steady efforts were cause for notice by multiple nominators, indicating how prominent an inspiration she is to many.
Judy Haines, 78
Benevolent | Helen Hatridge has been a
leader throughout her career as a teacher, school counselor and caring connections coordinator for her church. Volunteering hundreds of hours for various not-for-profit causes, Helen served the Community Services League and Truman Heartland Community Foundation and was board
chairman for each organization.
Helen’s driving force has always been to meet the needs of those requiring assistance, especially children and youth. Counseling middle school students, she was recognized by her peers as the Greater Kansas City and Missouri Middle School
Counselor of the Year. These programs included peer counseling, transitioning from elementary to middle school and a career program. Leaving a fundraiser to raise money for children’s programming, she thought, “There are children with needs in Lee’s Summit, so funds should be raised for them also.” This led Helen to help form Checks for Children — an informal group of ladies who gather to raise thousands for
kids in need.
Helen Ann Hatridge, 70
Honor | Tom Holden has a highly distinguished military background having served as a Colonel in the U.S. Marine Corps and literally piloting the last helicopter flight out of Saigon at the end of the Vietnam War. Tom has taught at the National War College and served with the U.N. command in Korea among others. His leadership, management skills and service orientation led him to serve as Executive Director of the Greater KC Hotel Association following his retirement. Tom
became president of the board of St. Francis Assisi Episcopal Church in Stilwell, Kansas in 2005 and continues to serve in this position today. His unselfish devotion has been instrumental in ensuring the survival and success of this small parish. Through his outreach and support, St. Francis chartered BSA Troop 449 and has supported over five Eagle Scouts. Tom daily lives and demonstrates duty to God, country and
community in a way that reaches across political, ethnic and socio-economic status to demonstrate that we are all in this together and that only together will we be successful.
Col. Tom Holden, U.S. Marine (Ret.), 75
Exceptional | Active living comes naturally to Grace and Fred Holmes. Trained as doctors — Grace as a pediatrician, and Fred as an internist, with specialized research in cancer — they have served as medical missionaries and as key faculty and research
physicians at KU Medical Center. Fred remarks, “We were always busy in our professional lives. It’s easy to keep going now!” From writing murder mysteries together to trying to design consistent medical care for foster children who move frequently, both doctors continue engagement with their community, based
on a deeply held sense of responsibility to others. Lakeview Village, where they reside, is benefiting from their interest in history. Starting with a History Club, an “in-house university” is in the works, where Fred plans to offer a medical ethics course. Both Grace and Fred are acutely aware that loneliness is
a huge issue for older adults. They take heart in the Midwest spirit that sees a need and tries to meet it. Drs. Grace and Fred Holmes encourage us all to take an interest in our children and grandchildren to reap the reward of their spirits energizing our lives.
Drs. Grace & Fred Holmes, 87 & 86
Ball of Fire | Katie Howlett is on the move.
Physically she walks everywhere, up to 20 blocks a day, but the difference she has made shines through in the hours at the many organizations where she gives her time. She decided that after 25 years in
the Kansas City School District, she wanted to keep making an impact, and her volunteering continued to grow. Her time and influence stretched into DeLaSalle Education Center, KCPT Channel 19, the Boys & Girls Clubs of Great Kansas City, Swope Parkway Health Center, and St. James Church. She enjoys sitting with the elderly during home visits. She has received a state award for her work during local elections, and she received recognition in the senior companion program of Westport Cooperative Services. She’s also
received a certificate of achievement from the Blue Hills Neighborhood Association as well as being deaconess with the Gregg Tabernacle A.M.E. Church.
Katie Howlett, 89
Inspiring | Norma Jacob grew up on a farm in Oklahoma. She was fourteenth out of 17 children and received most of her education from her brother as they picked cotton. They hoped for rainy days so they could have a break from crops to go to school. Norma was the first in her family to graduate from high school and managed to pass an exam to begin teaching. She wound up in Kansas City, Kansas, to teach for one year at Grace Lutheran School and stayed for 42. During
that time, she earned her bachelor’s degree and master’s degree. With her husband, they began the KCK branch of Shepherd’s Center, where she volunteered for over 28 years. She’s also dedicated time to several area nursing home programs, Bethany Lutheran School, KKC Community College, and took a mission trip to Africa in 2004. While she is famous for back rubs and designing stellar bulletin boards, words like kind, dependable and conscientious describe her daily efforts.
Norma Jacob, 91
Advocate | Upon retiring as an attorney at
Lathrop Gage, Kay Johnson was the interim
executive director for the local ACLU chapter,
wrote grant applications for local nonprofits,
and devoted much of her time to nonprofit
and community organizations. She continues to provide pro bono legal services to smaller agencies that need legal assistance. She now sits on the Board of Bridging the Gap, Roanoke Park Conservancy, and Rosedale Farmers Market;
on committees for KC Mothers in Charge, the League of Women Voters, and UMKC’s Advisory Committee to the Cockefair Chair. Kay is an expert in using her persuasive ability to recruit others for various Boards and service activities. She was the founding member of and still active with the State Line Service League (initially a Rose
Brooks Center committee started 25 years ago), organizing professional women to do short-term service projects on both sides of the state line. Kay’s activity helped educate many Kansas Citians on the diverse needs in our community and organized others to help meet those needs.
Kay Eileen Johnson, 74
Citizen | You may hear him affectionately called “Mr. Independence,” or “Mr. President.” His prestigious nicknames come from 26 years of more than 800 appearances as President Harry S. Truman. In speech, dress and mannerisms, Niel embodies the values of honesty and integrity known to be central to Truman’s character. As Mr. President, Niel visits schools, encouraging children to learn history and read with diversity. He teaches them what it means to be a good citizen. His breadth of knowledge stems from his vast and varied career path, including professor of history at multiple midwestern colleges. He also served as archivist and historian for the Harry S. Truman Presidential Library and United States Army Weapons Command, Rock Island, Illinois. Niel is the author of three books and is currently writing another on his career as an impersonator, scheduled to be published this year.
Niel Melvin Johnson, 88
Trustworthy | Jo Anne always felt that giving back to the community was the way things should be. And she liked the activities! From leading the KC Ballet Guild to the Lakeside Nature Center to her church, she is loyal to whatever mission she serves. She is a retired teacher who remains committed to teaching and encouraging youth, as well as peers. “I just love the stuff of human connection,” she exclaims. Lakeside Nature Center has benefited from Jo Anne’s hard work for 25 years, and she has found a special calling in animal rehab assignments. When she was healing from a foot surgery and walking was limited, she took up
deadheading the plants at a local hardware store. ”No one at the store had the time, but I could do this!” she offered. Jo Anne challenges each of us to find a passion and give that work even just two hours a month. Her prediction is we will find this makes life richer and more fulfilling.
Jo Anne Kelley, 76
Wonderful | Jeannette Louise Kline learned
to crochet when she was 8 years old. After a
long career teaching French, education and
English, she found herself widowed with far-
flung family. Jeannette wanted to contribute
something for others in honor of her late husband yet needed something portable that she could do as she traveled across the U.S. and beyond. With that in mind, she picked up her hooks and began crocheting hats. Jeannette provides hats and original patterns to Knots of Love. She crochets them for Ronald McDonald House, the American Heart Association, Habitat for Humanity, Kansas Children’s Service League, and even takes personal requests for those suffering
from illness in her sphere of acquaintances and friends. She has donated more than 1,400 hats created by her hands. A quote from George Eliot guides her philosophy; “What do we live for, if it is not to make life less difficult for each other?” Occasionally, she views a picture of someone smiling while wearing one of her hats, and she
feels the warmth of a good deed.
Jeannette Louise Kline, 72
Dedicated | Bud Lauer has a heart — a lot of
them, in fact. As a longtime volunteer at Kansas City Hospice & Palliative Care (KCHH), he has coordinated the making of thousands of hand-crafted memorial hearts that KCHH gives to families once their loved one has passed away. As one might imagine, the need for these hearts can be quite great, and when demand was quickly outpacing supply, Bud organized a craft group at the retirement community where he lives. It’s a
great way to serve KCHH and build camaraderie among residents of the retirement community, Bud said. A South Dakota native, Bud moved to Kansas City three decades ago as part of his career
with a trailer manufacturer in California. Along with making the hearts, Lauer does something else with his hands that you might not expect from a man his age: He boxes. He’s organized a coed boxing club at his retirement community.
Bud Lauer, 85
Dedicated | If South Kansas City had a mayor, Chuck Loomis would definitely be in the running. His dedication to the area might have started with the Linden Hills Homes Association, where he has served as president for 22 years. His work stretched to Heritage League of KC and the Historical Society of Santa Fe and he received the Outstanding Citizenship and Volunteer Award from the South Kansas City Alliance in 2017. Many know him through his work at Trailside Center on Holmes, where he has been director since it began in 2005. Trailside is a community center and historic learning space for Kansas City Civil War-related events and Santa Fe, Oregon and California Trails information. The center welcomes visitors, student groups, scouts and anyone who stops by to explore. In 2018, Chuck
received the Missouri State Senior Service Award, the only one given in the greater Kansas City area. Prior to his good work in the Kansas City area, he served in the military in the late 50s in Japan and
Chuck Loomis, 85
Fabulous | It is a rare occasion if when ask
how she is doing, Bess LeFevre does not reply “Fabulous!” Besides an undeviating positive outlook, her efforts to help others do not go unnoticed. She spent many years volunteering, over 1,000 hours, in various departments at Saint Luke’s Hospital. She is active in her residential community welcoming new residents, assembling worship programs for chapel and serving on
committees. Bess embraces the Golden Rule and treats others as she would want to be treated. She welcomes new residents, teaches others to play bridge, and always has news or stories to share. Always looking to better herself by learning more about the world, she is an avid reader. Bess is a wonderful example of how simple, steady kindness is cherished by those she encounters. She is an inspiration to all.
Bess LeFevre, 99
Leader | At an age when many people at least think about slowing down, Don Maxwell serves on more than 10 policy Boards of Directors and has been immersed in the redevelopment of the Linwood Shopping Center and the Linwood
Square located on the east and west sides of
Prospect, between 31st Street and Linwood
Boulevard. For decades, Don has served the
Prospect Corridor, using economic development to create thousands of jobs and generating more than $45 million for senior housing and social services. According to a report on KSHB-TV, “Don led the effort in the ’80s and ’90s to develop the area around 31st and Prospect, bringing in strip malls, the old Country Mart, the Palestine neighborhood centers and more. He’s seen the rise and fall of Prospect. He says it went into decline (again) in the late ’90s. Instead of retiring, he helped form the Prospect Business Association.” Don also mentors dozens of young adults, community leaders and business leaders through lifelong learning and his spirit of service to others
and to his community.
Don Maxwell, 73
Compassionate | A close-knit Italian family
nurtured Ro Meyers and taught her to count
blessings. When there was a need, or a little extra would make a difference, her family shared blessings with others. Ro thought that was how everyone lived. Her first and second-grade classrooms became the focus of her special gift of teaching for almost three decades. Today, Ro is involved with a variety of groups, and says, “They are ALL precious! I LOVE what I’m doing and can’t give anything up!” It is her honor to be able to help Alzheimer/dementia “friends” at John Knox Village. Sometimes, she says, her car just automatically turns into John Knox
without her even thinking to do so. With these difficult cases, Ro brings friendship, physical ease and comfort, and the joy of human presence that she sees reflected in the person’s eyes. She has served at John
Knox Village Care Center and with Hospice,
dementia and Alzheimer’s patients. Her work is a great inspiration to others who see her choosing deliberately to serve the weak and vulnerable. “This is my calling!” says Ro. “God filled me with His love and light so I can shine for Him.”
Rosemary "Ro" Meyers, 71
Devoted | Russell Money became acquainted with Truman Medical Center’s Lakewood campus when he tagged along when his wife was interested in volunteering there. He ended up taking the evening shift in the hospital gift shop so that a woman did not have to work alone at night. But that was just the beginning. He has now spent more than 20 years as an ombudsman for residents at the Lakewood Care Center, logging an estimated 8,000 volunteer hours. The retired Disciples of Christ minister has also donated 22 gallons of blood throughout his life. As an ombudsman, Russell has brightened lives, for instance, by befriending a wheelchair-bound boy with spina bifida or by telling one resident he can’t get through the day without seeing her. Memorial services can be interesting for Russell. A few years ago, more than half of the 13 care center residents memorialized were younger than Russell when they died.
Russell Money, 86
Faithful | Rev. Scott Myers life has exemplified service to others. He has served the congregation of Westport Presbyterian Church for nearly 25 years. After a catastrophic fire seven years ago, Scott’s calm and insightful leadership helped the
congregation realize that “the building burned, but the church didn’t.” His commitment to each member of the church through the challenging rebuild kept the flock together. Rev. Myers leads challenging, thought-provoking sermons and manages a myriad of issues, all with boundless energy and love. Contributions to the community include a safe ”Haunted Halloween” house for neighborhood children, a “Tutor the Computer” program for computer skills, and the PeaceQuest program to educate others on peace as taught in other cultures.
A belief in the power of art led him to help
found the Westport Center for the Arts, focusing on creativity through music and theater. As Rev. Myers says, “When the community creates art, the arts create community.”
Rev. Scott Myers, 71
Service | When you grow up in the isolation
of small-town Montana, you don’t hesitate to
do things like stopping to help fix a flat tire.
That sense of service is magnified by a Catholic upbringing. With that background, Don led more than a dozen missions to Mexico and Guatemala as a pharmacology professor at Kansas City University of Medicine and Bioscience. Don learned Spanish to be more effective in his work
for the Catholic church. He is a permanent deacon and was once chaplain in Kansas City-area jails. Don has also worked to help victims of domestic violence, and once served on an advisory board that heard complaints from Missouri prison inmates. Don once rejected claims by prison staff
that a Muslim inmate could eat around pork and beans. He also determined that a diabetic inmate was rightly concerned about the transmission of disease from blood that was not cleaned up in a clinic.
Donald McCandless, 79
Dynamic | Josephine Njoroge leads a life of service to her community. She began her professional life as a college professor in Louisiana and continued her profession as a case worker and supervisor in the Missouri Department of Family Services. Whether
it be giving time to Team for Infants Exposed to Substance Abuse, Operation Breakthrough, Brookside Merchants, Habitat for Humanity, Waldo-Brookside Rotary, the Village Presbyterian Church, or as an
adviser to the Health Forward Foundation (formerly Health Care Foundation of Greater Kansas City), Josephine always gives her most positive, energetic effort. Living true to the “service above self ” motto of Rotary, her days are full of contributions to those
around her with special emphasis on maternal and infant health. Josephine was greatly influenced by her mother’s intense dedication and service to their
community in Glenmora, Louisiana. Giving time was important even when money was hard to come by. Josephine loves Kansas City and watching her dynamic efforts grow in the form of homes, education programs and stronger individuals.
Josephine Njoroge, 79
Doer | Ann is devoted to retaining local history, especially that of the New Santa Fe Cemetery, and to the work of the Trailside Center, a combination visitor’s center, history project and public meeting space. She knows firsthand about the joy of teamwork, as she makes connections for her projects among volunteers, elected officials and
community groups. When Ann is aware of an opportunity, she takes immediate action organizing, recruiting and marketing the activity. Her joy and motivation come from meeting people whose path she wouldn’t cross any other way. Ann started the local Great Backyard Bird Watch and helped
organize part of the Blue River Cleanup Day. “The more you work together, the more you know,” says Ann. “There’s nothing like waking up and having a good goal to accomplish that day.” Trailside Center is a case in point. Staffed totally by volunteers seven days a week, it has seen 6,000 people a year visit and use the Center and its trails. Ann says, “You work together to do what you can, and the right thing will happen at the right time.”
Ann O'Hare, 86
Inspirational | Barbara O’Leary truly embodies the meaning of the word “inspirational” — she selflessly gives everything she has to help others grow their artistic passions. She graciously shares her knowledge and talent as an art instructor for
the Johnson County Park & Recreation District’s youth and adult programs. Each time someone enters Barbara’s class, they’re welcomed by her warm character and her willingness to help them flourish, regardless of their skill level. She goes the distance for her students by offering rides to those who are no longer driving and even purchasing
materials for students who need assistance. And as a dedicated arts advocate and volunteer, she gives her time and talent to support the greater good of our thriving local arts community, including serving on the Greater Kansas City Art Association board.