Four Lawrence residents have been honored by Baker University's Partners-in-Progress program for their outstanding work in business and service sectors.
Gary and Connie Sollars were the recipients of the Business Persons of the Year. Gary Sollars is senior vice president of Hilb, Rogal and Hobbs, the eighth-largest insurance broker in the United States. Connie Sollars is active at Plymouth Congregational Church and is finishing her second term as president for the Lawrence Memorial Hospital Endowment Association.
"We're both graduates of Baker, and that's especially meaningful," Gary Sollars said. "The Lawrence community has been our home since 1977, and this honor actually recognizes both of those things."
The first Business Person of the Year Award was handed out in 1984.
Fred DeVictor, former Lawrence Parks and Recreation Department director, was awarded the Civic Service Award. Under his leadership, Lawrence gained 40 parks covering more than 3,500 acres. He retired last year.
He says his accomplishments couldn't have been done alone.
"There's been a lot of people that have been part of improving the quality of life for our community," DeVictor said. "It's just great being a part of that."
The Civic Service Award has been given out 10 times.
The Outstanding Leadership and Achievement in Business Award went to Larry McElwain, co-owner of Warren-McElwain Mortuary. He has been involved in local and state organizations for more than 30 years.
He said he was honored, noting those who have received the award before him.
"This morning it took on a little more significance for me when I looked down at the list of the people that have won it ahead of me and my respect and appreciation for them and the contributions they've made," McElwain said. "It is a great honor."
The Outstanding Leadership and Achievement in Business Award began in 1993.