LMH Health Foundation recognizes community members’ support of health care

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The LMH Health Foundation has announced several recipients of an annual award that celebrates those who have provided significant service to the Lawrence hospital and support for community health care.

This is the 16th year for the Elizabeth Watkins Community Caring Award, an honor based on “the caring and compassionate spirit of Elizabeth Miller Watkins, the founding philanthropist of LMH Health,” according to a news release from the foundation.

“The LMH Health Foundation has created this award to celebrate those who have demonstrated a commitment to improving healthcare for the people we serve,” Earl Reineman, major and planned gifts manager for LMH Health Foundation, said in the release. “It recognizes those whose gift of time, talent or treasure has been invaluable to LMH Health, and honors the legacy of Elizabeth Watkins to provide exceptional care to all.” 

Here are the 2023 honorees (all information courtesy of LMH Health Foundation):

Daryl and the late Cindy Craft: Daryl is retired from the financial industry, including being the previous founder and owner of a trust company. Sadly, Cindy passed away in 2021 after a long battle with cancer. Daryl and Cindy supported causes such as surgical technology, the new West Campus facility, and the current Cancer Center expansion initiative. Daryl currently serves on the LMH Health Foundation Board of Directors. 

Sally and John Hudnall: The Hudnalls arrived in Lawrence in 1990 with John accepting a position at the University of Kansas. Along with his teaching, John was director of the Kansas Scholastic Press Association. John taught at the high school and college levels for 43 years, retiring in 2009. Sally was employed in the music and foundation departments at St. Lawrence Catholic Campus Center and is currently on its Board of Directors. She also volunteers in the parish office at Corpus Christi Catholic Church. Sally and John have supported LMH Health in several areas including the 4th Floor Renovation, the LMH Health Cancer Center and the LMH Health West Campus. 

Larry McElwain: McElwain has been an entrepreneur and community leader in Lawrence since 1972. A licensed embalmer and funeral director by trade, he cofounded and served as chairman of 21st Century Funeral Company, L.C., a regional funeral home acquisition company that contained 12 funeral homes across Kansas. McElwain served as a funeral director at Warren-McElwain Mortuary from 1973-2016, and as the president and CEO of the Chamber of Lawrence from 2014-2018. He has also served in leadership roles on the board of directors of several Lawrence nonprofits, including on the LMH Health Board of Trustees and the LMH Health Foundation Board of Directors. Larry and his wife, Susan, have supported many initiatives at LMH Health, including robotic technology and the mother/baby department.

Bill and Marlene Penny The Pennys have been closely involved with LMH Health for many years. Marlene previously served on the LMH Health Foundation Board of Directors and was on the committee that started the Hearts of Gold Gala. Bill and Marlene have supported the LMH Health West Campus and the current LMH Health Cancer Center expansion and renovation. Most recently, they have supported the Rooftop Garden renovation project at the LMH Health Main Campus in memory of their son, Nathan, and in honor of the health care employees and staff at LMH. The Pennys and many other supporters are excited that the rooftop project will provide an outdoor space for patients and hospital employees. Bill and Marlene own and operate Penny’s Concrete, which they started in 1976 with their first plant in Lawrence. 

Jan Pollard: Born at LMH Health, Pollard is a lifelong Lawrence resident. She has volunteered at LMH Health for 23 years and previously served as president of the LMH Health Volunteers. In that role, she served as the volunteer’s liaison role to LMH Health Foundation’s Board of Directors. She and her husband, Tom, have supported the LMH Health Cancer Center expansion and renovation, and other important projects.

The honorees will be recognized during the LMH Health Foundation’s annual meeting, set for Thursday, Feb. 9.

“The event will also celebrate nearly $14 million of philanthropic support provided by donors to LMH Health Foundation in 2022, a record fundraising year in the organization’s 53-year history,” according to the release. “These gifts support vital hospital priorities, including the LMH Health Cancer Center expansion, patient-centered technology, new programs and education in health equity, the Help and Healing Fund and more.”

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