Amid the saturation of daily activities, messages on multiple platforms and the general pace of life today, it’s always inspiring to pause and reflect on some of the special people and institutions in our community. Thanks to the Lawrence Chamber of Commerce for once again providing us such an opportunity Friday evening.
The chamber’s annual meeting featured recognition of three of our neighbors and focused attention, through their particular contributions to Lawrence, on the impact that any individual can have — given the dedication, energy, and intentional involvement and commitment to volunteering time and talent in ways that improve our community.
This year, for perhaps only the third time, a husband and wife were jointly recognized with the Citizen of the Years award, which is the highest honor the organization bestows. Web and Joan Golden are worthy recipients of this lifetime achievement distinction. Sharon Spratt, CEO of Cottonwood Inc., well deserves the Athena Award, which honors individuals for their high levels of professional accomplishment and also for having made important contributions to the community.
The Goldens graduated from Kansas University and moved back to Lawrence in 1972. Web now is a partner at the Stevens & Brand law firm, and Joan is senior vice president at U.S. Bank here. Joan serves on the Lawrence library board and headed the $1 million capital drive for the library; she also serves on the Lawrence Arts Center board. Web’s a board member at Cottonwood and also at the Douglas County Community Foundation. Over the years they have been actively involved in numerous other community organizations, although Web wryly observed: “My greatest accomplishment for Lawrence was bringing Joan Golden here.”
Spratt moved to Lawrence in 1988 and joined Cottonwood in 1989, becoming its CEO in 1994. Cottonwood helps residents with intellectual disabilities become contributing members of the community. Spratt is active in a number of state and national groups that have similar goals, as well as being involved in other local organizations.
Congratulations to Web and Joan Golden and to Sharon Spratt for the honors bestowed on them Friday. A few moments spent reflecting on the effects they’ve had on our community might inspire us all to do a bit more, to get more involved, and to appreciate the unsung efforts of countless volunteers whose endeavors make Lawrence a special place.