LMH Health Foundation to honor community members for service to, health care
By Courtney Bernard, LMH Health Foundation
At its annual meeting on Feb. 28, LMH Health Foundation will honor winners of the 12th annual Elizabeth Watkins Community Caring Award, which celebrates people and organizations who have provided significant service to LMH Health and community healthcare.
Honorees are community members Becky Gibson, Rodger and Sheryl Henry, Dolph and Pam Simons; LMH Health physicians Charles Yockey and Stephen Myrick; and P1 Group Inc., a commercial construction and maintenance firm.
The annual meeting also kicks off LMH Health Foundation’s anniversary celebration during which the foundation will honor 50 years of community and philanthropic support for LMH Health and make a major announcement. As part of the continuing celebration, the foundation will host an event on June 22 at the Forum at KU’s Burge Union.
Here’s a closer look at the Watkins honorees:
Becky Gibson is a retired educator who has been very active in the Lawrence community. She and her husband, Harry, have lived in many communities because of Harry’s career, but chose Lawrence as their retirement destination. During the years, Becky Gibson has helped connect community members to the mission of LMH Health unlike anyone else. Her passion for the hospital and healthcare has been inspirational to others. Until recently, Gibson served on the LMH Health Foundation board of directors, which included a period on the executive committee as an officer of the board. She generously used her talent and energy to benefit the organization in many ways.
Gibson cares deeply about Lawrence and believes in supporting LMH Health and the community. “It’s truly rewarding that LMH Health has very strong doctors, staff and community support,” she says. “You need to become involved in the community in which you live, supporting what is important to you.”
Rodger and Sheryl Henry
Rodger and Sheryl Henry are important figures in LMH Health’s history. Rodger Henry has been an entrepreneur and developer in Lawrence since 1987, starting out by owning three car washes in town. Sheryl Henry grew up in Lawrence and has been a social worker and homemaker. After opening Lawrence Medical Plaza and Surgical Center at Sixth and Maine streets in 2000, the Henrys helped foster a growing partnership between LMH Health and community physicians. Last year, the Henrys sold the Lawrence Medical Plaza to LMH Health and made a $1 million gift to the foundation through their company, H & S Holdings. The gift supported the planned Orthopedic Center of Excellence at the LMH Health West Campus.
“It’s very important for a vibrant community to have a vibrant hospital,” Rodger Henry says. “If you give to the hospital, you basically reach everyone in the community. It is a really great place to put your dollars and energy.”
“You’ll never know when you or someone you love will need the hospital,” Sheryl Henry says, “And you want it to be a high-quality hospital. That is really important to us.”
Dolph and Pam Simons
The Simonses have a long history in Lawrence and a long history in support of the hospital. Dolph’s grandfather, W.C. Simons, served on the board of trustees when LMH Health opened nearly 100 years ago. Both Dolph and Pam have served on the LMH Health Foundation board of directors. Simons family members have remained invested in LMH Health, including an extraordinarily generous gift to radically improve what was a small emergency department. The Simons Center for Emergency Medicine opened in March 2008.
For generations, the Simons family was synonymous with communication in Lawrence. In 1891, W.C Simons acquired The Lawrence Record, which was the first of many newspapers the family owned and operated in Kansas and other states. The family also owned two cable television stations.
Dolph and Pam believe that a thriving hospital is critical to having a good community. “If Lawrence wants to be a model city,” Dolph Simons says, “a good hospital is a critical part of the fabric. LMH Health is an excellent hospital – a far better hospital today with a strong staff and wide range of services.”
Dr. Stephen Myrick
In 1982, Dr. Stephen Myrick was recruited to join LMH Health by a longtime local physician, Dr. H. Penfield “Penny” Jones. Dr. Myrick has served in many leadership roles – both official and unofficial – at LMH Health, including as the co-chair for LMH Health Foundation’s annual Penny Jones Open Golf Tournament. Dr. Myrick recently retired as a highly skilled general surgeon at Lawrence General Surgery, but continues to serve patients at LMH Health Wound Healing Center.
“I think we’re called to help people,” he says, “and to use our special skill sets to benefit people. What I’ve been seeing at LMH Health leads me to believe that this place is going nowhere but up. We are expanding and always trying to provide healthcare providers and patients with the best experience possible. I want the new west campus to be the greatest place ever for Douglas County and for LMH Health.”
Dr. Charles Yockey
Dr. Charles Yockey has worked for LMH Health for more than 20 years. Not only was he the founder of the hospitalist program, he also established Lawrence Pulmonary Specialists in 2012. Dr. Yockey helped start the Help & Healing Fund in 2006 to directly assist patients in need with medicine and medical supplies. He is a generous supporter of the fund, which has flourished since its inception and helps hundreds of patients each year.
“I thoroughly enjoy what I do,” he says. “I wake up early and can’t wait to get to work. It’s a privilege to do what I do. Every day, I use equipment funded through donor gifts to the foundation. It makes my life as a physician better. My wife and I donate to the foundation because we know it will go directly back to patient care – whether it’s for my family or someone else’s family.”
P1 Group, Inc.
Under Smitty Belcher’s leadership as CEO, P1 Group has become one of the nation’s premier mechanical, electrical and plumbing contracting and service organizations. Nationally recognized for its safety standards, high-quality craftsmanship and diversified capabilities, P1 Group has received numerous awards and celebrates its 100th anniversary this year. P1 Group has supported LMH Health in many ways, including a tremendous amount of participation from company employees in support of major fundraising events, such as Hearts of Gold. P1 Group has been a significant corporate partner for the hospital.
“As a Lawrence family, we’ve been supporting LMH for many years” Belcher says. “A community’s hospital ranks among its most important assets, and we are committed to doing our part to help LMH Health thrive. A strong health system not only serves obvious community medical needs, it also helps attracts other businesses and employees to live and work in Lawrence.”
Courtney Bernard is a development coordinator for LMH Health Foundation. She can be reached at Courtney.Bernard@lmh.org.
• The public is invited to the LMH Health Foundation annual meeting at 4:30 p.m. Feb. 28 at Maceli's Banquet Hall, 1031 New Hampshire St.
• To attend, RSVP by Feb. 14 to Amy Addington at Amy.Addington@lmh.org or at 785-505-5621.