Humanitarian Awards Dinner
Thursday, August 17th
The wealth of philanthropy, volunteerism and just plain good people in Wichita never ceases to amaze. Each year when selecting people, business and organizations for the Humanitarian Awards, which have been presented since 1951, we are faced with excellent and difficult choices.
This year's honorees exemplify devotion to others, dedication to making the community better, perseverance in the face of difficulty, strong faith, and a commitment to using their time and talents to help those in need.
Drs. Fannette Thornhill-Scott and Thomas Scott met when they were in medical school. Thomas is now an allergist with the Via Christi Clinic and Fannette is a pediatrician, but their commitment goes far beyond their private medical practices. Thomas mentors youth through Kappa Leadership League, at Coleman Middle School and in the LINKS program. Fannette's speciality is reducing the infant mortality rate, both in the US and abroad. She established the Nananom Foundation, promoting healthcare access and education services throughout the United States and in Ghana, West Africa. They will receive the Peace by Piece Award, designed for people making a grass-roots difference.
The Clean Slate Day, offering free legal help to anyone looking to erase convictions like traffic violations, perjury and misdemeanor crimes from their records, attracted 900 people to the one-day event. For this and other activitiies, the Wichita Bar Association is being honored with the Golden Rule Award. Through philanthropy and leadership they demonstrate compassion to those in need. The Bar Association also regularly conducts food drives, developed the Grow Your Own Lawyer program and provides a scholarship program.
"Jesus didn't make nobodies," is the motto of Jan Haberly, director of The Lord's Diner. At the Diner, every person, including the 5,500 volunteers each year and the 700 people they feed every evening, matters. Respect, politeness and compassion are served along with a nutritious, filling meal 365 days a year. As recipient of the Spirit of Faith Award, The Lord's Diner exemplifies Inter-Faith Ministries' mission of people of all beliefs uniting to help others.
As Principal Tige Stone explains it, living in a small, rural community can insulate you from exposure to people in need - and people who are different from you. At Colwich Elementary School their 30-year tradition of helping at Operation Holiday gives many of the children a glimpse into a different world. The K-8 school is being honored with the Light of Faith Youth Award. Students organize an annual collection drive and then come to volunteer during distribution, working as escorts, toy runners, stockers and other tasks as needed. It has a lasting impact on many of the children; in fact, one of the teachers in charge of it now first learned of Operation Holiday when she was a Colwich student many years ago.
Mark and Louise Holden meet frustrations and turn them into opportunities. Louise and Mark, who is general counsel for Koch Industries, have long been interested in prison reform and in second chances, particularly with young African American males. They encourage them to take a path out of poverty, build confidence and become a positive force in the world. They meet the challenge of changing lives head on, including the challenge that faced Julie Dombo when she became a quadruple amputee following a shooting during a robbery. After she was unable to get her insurance company to pay for myoelectric hands, the Holdens purchased them for her as a gift. As Leadership through Faith Award winners, the Holdens embody civic leadership and working with others with kindness, respect and goodwill.
The 65th Annual Humanitarian Awards will be presented Thursday, August 17. Please contact our office if you would like to help honor these incredible people and organizations.