The City of Lee’s Summit and Mayor Bill Baird join the City of Lake Lotawana and Mayor Tracy Rasmussen in the selection of Carl Chinnery as the 2023 Citizen of the Year. Chinnery is recognized for his service to the communities, civic activities and legal work for nonprofits. 

He will be honored at the July 29 Missouri Municipal League’s Civic Leadership Banquet, Truman Heartland Community Foundation’s Annual Citizen’s Reception in early September and its “Toast to Our Towns” Gala on September 23.

Chinnery established his private law practice in 1976, now known as Chinnery Evans & Nail, in Lee’s Summit, Missouri, concentrating on estate planning, probate, business law and real estate. At that time, Chinnery practiced law one day a week while employed as vice president of Kansas City Life Insurance Company. Early on he saw an opportunity to serve and invest in the community by providing free legal services to nonprofits. During his career, he provided legal assistance to more than 130 nonprofits, including churches, athletic organizations, humanitarian groups, and civic and service clubs. This work not only benefitted the nonprofit but also gave Chinnery valuable insight into how he could broaden his support to these organizations through volunteerism.    

Chinnery supported and was a founding member of a number of local civic organizations. Chinnery’s charitable services to Lee’s Summit include serving as chairman of the Community Foundation of Lee’s Summit, Summit Bank of Kansas City, Missouri Yacht Club and Vestry of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church. He was past president of the Lee’s Summit Chamber of Commerce, Lee’s Summit Economic Development Council and Lee’s Summit R-7 School District. He also chaired the Planned Giving Committees of the Eastland Community Foundation, Truman Medical Center, Lee’s Summit Educational Foundation and Children’s Mercy Hospital.

Chinnery joined the service organization Rotary International in 1977. He served as District Governor of District 6040 from 2002 to 2003, the same year he was awarded the Rotary Presidential Citation. He served as the Major Donor Advisor, Regional Rotary Foundation Coordinator, Endowment Major Gift Advisor and Rotary International President’s Representative. His efforts helped grow the local group to the largest in the state.

Chinnery has committed most of his adult life to the elimination of polio, a devastating virus that affected his family as a young boy. Using his family’s experience as a motivator, he has given more than 300 presentations worldwide and was instrumental in the immunization of 160 million children during India’s National Immunization Day. He received the District 6040 Humanitarian Award for Polio Eradication, the 2010 Regional Service Award for a Polio Free World and the International Service Award for a Polio Free World.

Chinnery is now retired and remains involved with the Lee’s Summit Chamber of Commerce and the Rotary’s Feed Lee’s Summit and literacy programs.

“I cannot think of anyone who demonstrates civic responsibility more than Carl. Not only is he an accomplished business leader, but his contributions in time and talent to various nonprofits and organizations have made an indelible mark on our community,” said Mayor Bill Baird. “Carl recognizes the importance of local volunteerism and that by giving what you can, a person can directly improve the quality of life for those around him.”

The prestigious Citizen of the Year award recognizes exceptional citizens whose work and service to the community have significantly improved the quality of life for its citizens. The City of Lee’s Summit has been recognizing its outstanding citizens since 1996.