LMH Health Foundation announces 8 recipients of annual Elizabeth Watkins Community Caring Award

photo by: LMH Health

LMH Health, 325 Maine St., is pictured in May 2021.

The LMH Health Foundation has announced the recipients of its 16th annual Elizabeth Watkins Community Caring Award, which celebrates people and organizations who have provided significant support to LMH Health and community health care.

The eight honorees for 2023 will be recognized at the LMH Health Foundation’s annual meeting, set for 5 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 9, at Arterra Event Gallery, 2161 Quail Creek Drive. The event is open to the public, and attendees should RSVP by Feb. 3 at LMH.org/annualmeeting.

The event will also celebrate nearly $14 million of philanthropic support provided by donors to the foundation in 2022, a record fundraising year in the organization’s more than 50-year history. Those gifts support hospital priorities like an expansion of the hospital’s Cancer Center, patient-centered technology, new programs and education in health equity and more.

This year’s honorees are:

• Daryl and the late Cindy Craft. Daryl is retired from the financial industry and currently serves on the LMH Health Foundation’s board of directors, and Cindy died in 2021 after a battle with cancer. The Crafts supported causes such as surgical technology, LMH’s West Campus facility and the hospital’s current Cancer Center expansion initiative.

photo by: Contributed

Daryl and Cindy Craft

• Sally and John Hudnall. John retired in 2009 after more than four decades of teaching at the high school and collegiate levels, and Sally serves on the board of directors for St. Lawrence Catholic Campus Center, where she was previously employed. The Hudnalls have supported LMH Health’s Cancer Center and West Campus, plus a renovation of the fourth floor at the main campus at 325 Maine St.

photo by: Contributed

Sally and John Hudnall

• Larry McElwain. McElwain cofounded and served as chairman of 21st Century Funeral Company, a regional funeral home acquisition company that included 12 funeral homes across Kansas. He was also the funeral director at Warren-McElwain Mortuary from 1973 to 2016 and the president and CEO of The Chamber of Lawrence from 2014 to 2018. He and his wife, Susan, have supported initiatives at LMH Health such as robotic technology and the mother/baby department.

photo by: Contributed

Larry McElwain

• Bill and Marlene Penny. Marlene previously served on the LMH Health Foundation board of directors and was on the committee that started the Hearts of Gold Gala, the foundation’s biennial black-tie fundraising event. The Penny family has supported LMH Health’s West Campus and the Cancer Center expansion initiative. Most recently, they’ve supported a rooftop garden renovation project at LMH Health’s main campus in memory of their son, Nathan.

photo by: Contributed

Bill and Marlene Penny

• Jan Pollard. Pollard is a lifelong Lawrence resident and longtime volunteer at LMH Health. During her more than two decades as a volunteer, she previously has served as president of the LMH Health Volunteers as the group’s liaison to the LMH Health Foundation’s board of directors. She and her husband, Tom, have supported the Cancer Center expansion and other important projects.

photo by: Contributed

Jan Pollard

The Elizabeth Watkins Community Caring Award is a tribute to its namesake, who was a prolific philanthropist and steward of education and health. Watkins is known for her numerous monetary contributions to the University of Kansas and the City of Lawrence, also including Lawrence Memorial Hospital. According to the LMH Health Foundation, the award is an expression of thanks to those who mirror Watkins’ generosity.


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