From working to boost the city’s recycling efforts to laying the foundation for an organization that raises thousands of dollars for the Lawrence Public Library, this year’s recipients of the Kiwanis Substantial Citizen Award have done much for the community.
On Thursday, the Lawrence Kiwanis Club recognized Bill Myers and Brower and Mary Burchill for their service to Lawrence.
The awards were presented during a luncheon at the Lawrence Country Club in front of tables full of previous recipients. The award dates back to 1960.
A retired chemist with Hallmark Cards, Myers was honored for his work with Kiwanis along with a host of other organizations.
Among the work he values most in his volunteer career was his participation with the Jaycees, which was involved with starting the Achievement Place for Boys home in 1967. He also served on recycling organizations at the local, state and national level.
“My philosophy has always been that one person can make a difference, but when you join with other people in doing something, it makes a lot more difference,” he said.
For 15 years, Mary Burchill, a former librarian at the Kansas University law library, and Brower Burchill, who was a KU vice chancellor for academic affairs, have headed the committee that organizes the annual community Christmas dinner. Since they started overseeing the dinner at First United Methodist Church, attendance has doubled with more than 900 meals being served last year. It’s a feat that requires the donation of 120 pumpkin pies alone.
For two years, Brower Burchill served as volunteer project manager to develop the Haskell Cultural Center and Museum.
And, in the late ’70s, Mary Burchill was talking around the kitchen table with three friends when the idea of forming a group to support the Lawrence Public Library arose.
Friends of the Lawrence Public Library has since grown into an organization that raises $80,000 to $90,000 a year.
“It’s definitely an honor to receive an award like this, but it is also a little humbling,” Mary Burchill said. “Because when you do all these things … you really don’t do them for the recognition. Something comes along and you think, ‘Oh, I can do that,’ so you do it.”