January 24, 2015
Character award winners
Photo by Amy Chinnery-Valmassei
On Thursday morning, January 22nd, Lee’s Summit Cares presented
their annual “Mayor’s Character Breakfast”. The event highlights and
recognizes those in the Lee’s Summit community that have shown, by their
actions, that they are examples of exemplary character traits. It was impressive to say the least.
Almost 700 people attended this year’s event, held at the
Pavilion at John Knox Village, which included a light breakfast enjoyed
during the presentations.
After introductions by Mayor Randy Rhoads, local businessman,
humanitarian, and exceedingly friendly curmudgeon Carl Chinnery quoted
from Dr. Seuss and introduced the recipient of this year's “Ethics in
Business” award, the Lee’s Summit R7 School District.
Accepting for the district, Dr. David McGehee, obviously moved by
the award and what it represents, graciously thanked the district
staff, teachers, students, and all those that contribute to the success
of the district. The board stood behind him while he made a few remarks.
In a very moving display, Dr. McGehee asked those in the audience
that worked for the district, participated in the many ad hoc
supporting committees or sports programs, or contributed in some way to
the district to stand. Fully three quarters of those in attendance stood to the applause from those attending.
Those of us left sitting were certainly inspired by the numbers
The keynote speaker, David Von Drehle, took the podium delivering
an informative and enthralling talk about the character of Abraham
Lincoln and how his personal morals and character affected the military
campaigns of the Civil War. Mr. Drehle wrote in detail about President
Lincoln in Rise to Greatness: Abraham Lincoln and America's Most
Perilous Year. The crux of the presentation was that having and
exercising character is not an easy proposition: maintaining your values, being true to yourself and your beliefs, is a challenge worth accepting. Inherent in living a life of good character includes accepting personal responsibility for your choices.
Recipients of individual awards are:
Courage: Nathaniel Cox and
Andrew Shields (chased down a purse snatcher); Responsibility: Jeff
Silver (exemplary volunteerism);
Perseverance: Benjamin Edwards
(overcoming a handicap);
Kindness: Amy Howard;
Respect: Bill Kendrick
(driver for John Knox Village);
Family: Jamie Rayburn;
Self-Control: Kiana Lovelace (family demands delay education);
Cooperation: Stuart May;
Sportsmanship: Sophia Hoffman (positive
behavior during the national spelling bee contest).
Carl Chinnery again took the dais as recipient of the Lifetime
Achievement Award. Carl’s contributions in the Lee’s Summit area have
extended beyond his many efforts within the Lee’s Summit Rotary Club.
Carl’s humanity, kindness and character has been seen time and again
working not only in our community, extending internationally in his
passionate drive supporting Rotary International’s program to
exterminate polio worldwide. Carl mostly operates out of the spotlight,
but always sets an example to those he works with.
Character council members are Phyllis Balagna, David Carlson,
Susan Coffman, Julie Doane, Jim Eden, Melissa Fears, Beth Glover,
Matthew Hardaway, Ann Hayles, Don Kahan, Roby Little, Laura Maxwell, Dr.
Emmanuel Ngomsi, Gloria Solis, and Cathy Thurman.
Staff members of Lee’s Summit CARES include: Roby Little,
Director; Susan Coffman, Program Coordinator; Monica Meeks, Program
Coordinator; and Karen Schalker, First Call.
Please visit the Lee’s Summit CARES website at LSCARES.ORG for
more information and ways to participate. You could be a future example
of character to the community.