Lawrence residents to be honored for service to community health care

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Four members of the Lawrence community have been selected for an award that celebrates people and organizations who have provided significant service to LMH Health and community health care.

Shirley Anderson, Beth Harrison, Suzanne Sherr and Rev. Verdell Taylor, Jr., will be honored as recipients of the Elizabeth Watkins Community Caring Award during the LMH Health Foundation’s annual meeting Thursday.

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Here is more information about the four award recipients, from the foundation’s news release:

“Shirley Anderson was born at LMH Health and has lived in Lawrence for most of her life. Shirley has volunteered at LMH Health for 28 years, serving on the volunteer board and in many roles including food service, admissions, the information desk, gift shop and Mario’s Closet. An 18-year cancer survivor, Shirley consistently supports LMH Health and its oncology program. One of the hospital’s greatest ambassadors – and one of the most positive people you’ll ever meet – Shirley always lifts the spirits of anyone around her.”

Shirley Anderson (Photo by Gaskins Photography Collection for LMH Health Foundation)

“Beth Harrison has been a member of the Lawrence community for 50 years. She has supported critical initiatives at the hospital, including the heart cath lab renovation and the cancer center expansion. Beth is always eager to help in any way she can and keeps the hospital at the top of her priority list. She believes it is important to contribute to LMH Health Foundation to help keep the community safe and healthy. Beth wants to have a great community hospital close to home, where community members can have the support of friends and family to be their ‘cheerleading squad’ as they heal.”

Beth Harrison (Photo by Gaskins Photography Collection for LMH Health Foundation)

“Suzanne Sherr moved to Lawrence in 1965. Her first encounters with the hospital were in 1967 when her son was born, followed by the birth of her daughter in 1969. A consistent donor, Suzanne is always looking for ways to directly impact the lives of those most in need. Through the years, she has supported mental health services at LMH Health, as well as the Catch a Break and Help & Healing funds. Suzanne has also been involved with the local theatre in various ways since the early days of its existence, as well as the Lawrence Jewish Community Congregation. She believes that supporting our community hospital does the most good for the most people.”

Suzanne Sherr (Photo by Gaskins Photography Collection for LMH Health Foundation)

“Rev. Verdell Taylor, Jr., is a significant and long-time community leader, serving 26 years as pastor at St. Luke African Methodist Episcopal Church in Lawrence. He is a former LMH Health trustee and currently serves as the hospital’s inclusion, diversity and equity manager. In this critical role, Verdell works with Erica Hill to provide valuable leadership to LMH Health employees on matters related to health equity and cultural awareness, helping ensure that LMH Health provides the best care possible to everyone we serve. Verdell helps us look beyond the surface to better understand the common ground we share with others.”

Rev. Verdell Taylor Jr. (Photo by Gaskins Photography Collection for LMH Health Foundation)

The event will also celebrate $3.8 million of philanthropic support provided to the LMH Health Foundation in 2021, according to the release.

“These funds support critical priorities for the hospital, including patient-centered technology, the LMH Health Cancer Center expansion, new programs and education in health equity, the Help and Healing Fund and more,” according to the release.

It’s too late to RSVP to attend the foundation’s 52nd annual meeting in person, but it will be livestreamed. The meeting begins at 5 p.m. Thursday, May 12. The livestream will be available at LMH.org/Foundation.

“The generosity of our community members strengthens LMH Health and its mission to provide exceptional care for all,” said Rebecca Smith, LMH Health Foundation executive director and LMH Health vice president of strategic communications, in the news release. “We look forward to celebrating our donors at the annual meeting, as well as honoring our Watkins award recipients who have done so much for LMH Health and our community.” 

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