From nearly 40,000 emergency room admissions to over 1,000 babies delivered, regardless of your stage of life or place in our community, Lawrence Memorial Hospital is there to care for you and your loved ones. That was the central message conveyed by Lawrence Central Rotary guests Jean Shepherd, board member of the Lawrence Memorial Hospital (LMH) Endowment Association, Kathy Clausing-Willis, vice president and chief development officer, and Earl Reineman, foundation and corporate relations manager.
When Shepherd’s husband was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2002, she discovered the care provided by LMH to be “a true gift.” His cancer did not respond well to treatment, yet LMH was open minded and encouraged Shepherd and her husband to seek a second opinion. Other doctors confirmed what Shepherd suspected: they were receiving nearly the best care possible from their community hospital already.
LMH was gifted to the City of Lawrence in 1928 by Elizabeth Watkins. Today, it is technically considered a 501(c)(9) nonprofit instrumentality of the city. The endowment was formed in 1969.
Kathy Clausing-Willis – LMH Endowment VP and Chief Development Officer
The endowment exists to rally the community in support of LMH, and the primary way the public can help is through monetary donations. The endowment has two large fundraisers that the public should consider joining: the annual H.P. Penny Jones golf tournament and the biannual Hearts of Gold black-tie ball.
Funds raised by the endowment support new and upgraded equipment, hospital renovations to create a “caring environment,” charity care for the poor, and special needs of LMH.
Hospital leadership is particularly proud of LMH’s designation as a “Top 100” hospital in America, according to Truven Health Analytics. The hospital considers its core competencies cardiology, oncology, palliative care, women’s health, surgical services, and primary care. A current challenge facing the hospital is recruiting new, quality primary care physicians, due to attrition and increasing competition from concierge and direct primary care practices.
Vickie Randel, former Rotary District Governor, current district Rotary Foundation coordinator, (and now Assistant Regional Foundation Coordinator for Zone 27) is excited about what the Rotary Foundation has done and even more excited about what’s coming in the future.
“People tell me I’m a Rotary faucet,” the member of the Lawrence noon club said. “You ask me about the Rotary Foundation and you’ve turned the tap for a flood of information.”
The Rotary Foundation supports projects all over the globe as well as locally. “In our district we have clubs whose members have formed especially strong bonds with people in Panama and Guatemala.
“We’ve done global grants there that have helped educate people about clean water sources, worked on schools and provided medical supplies, “she said. She showed a slide of a rocky, road, filled in spots with water that children had to walk through to get to school. Rotarians cleaned it up and graded it.
The water supply for one community was a filthy, refuse filled stream. Through Rotary intervention there are now huge tanks supplying clean water.
“Teams of Kansas Rotarians have gone to Mexico to build houses,” she said. In India dump dwellers, who made their living scavenging in the dump, where they also lived, are being taught other ways to support themselves. In Uganda vocational training teams are teaching nurses in pediatric hospitals.
“Foundation money comes to local communities too,” she said. “A holiday shopping event is sponsored for children who otherwise couldn’t shop for gifts. The Lawrence Rotary arboretum is a sterling example of what clubs can do when they work together.”
Randal also talked about how in an unusual twist, Rotary clubs in Japan sent foundation money to the U.S. to help victims of hurricane Katrina proving the work of Rotary goes wherever it is needed.
There is always more to do. “We’re building the Rotary Peace Fellowship project, dedicated to eliminating conflict and helping the victims of conflict. And polio is not quite gone. There were still 54 cases in the world this year.
“Everything we do in Rotary builds peace, “ she said. “And peace helps people become their true selves.”
Lawrence Central has launched our annual fundraiser for the work we do every year. As in year’s past we will be selling wreaths and other holiday decorations from Lynch Creek Farms and in Lawrence Central’s partnership with them we receive 20% back from every sale to help partially fund the service projects we do. Some examples of our service activities include:
We want to continue to do this work and more with help from you and all you need to do is simply purchase holiday decorations. You can do this by talking to any of our membersor there’s an even easier way – go to our Lynch Creek fundraising website, peruse what they have an order yourself! We’ve even set up an easy link:
If you’re not comfortable with ordering online we totally understand – you can also call Lynch Creek direct toll-free at 1-888-426-0781 and please Lawrence Central Rotary Fundraiser #26879
Lynch Creek is a family business that started in 1980, now transformed from selling a few flowers and vegetables at the local farmers’ market on the weekends, to a full blown year-round business that ships throughout the United States.
Lynch Creek Farms have been amazing to work with and they care about the groups that sell their wreaths and decorations. Here’s a video about the business.
Rotary District 5710 Governor John Donovan was full of praise for Lawrence Central Rotary when he spoke to the club on October 28. “You have the best website in the district. You are on the upswing in most areas, your membership is trending up. You are a powerful presence in the community. ”
Donovan said he sees Rotary as not only a force in local communities but as a Gift To The World, which is the theme of his year as DG.
On a personal level the Leavenworth Rotarian said “being District Governor is an amazing job,“ detailing his year of visits to the 45 clubs in his district. He tries to balance his role with living on a former dairy farm outside of Easton, KS, where he and his wife keep horses and raise angora goats, peafowl, Bourbon Red turkeys, ducks, chickens, guineas and are staff for five dogs and nine cats. Being a former military science professor and artillery afficianado, there is also cannon in his front yard.
His enthusiasm for Rotary showed when he said he believes Rotary International should be in contention for the Nobel Prize for eliminating polio and for the current finding that the labs built around the world to track polio have also been able to make early detection of the Ebola virus and recently halted an outbreak.
He briefly outlined Rotary’s history and highpoints, from its beginning in the early 20th century, to its becoming international, developing the Rotary Foundation, admitting women and adopting the 4-way test.
His philosophy is that Rotary should be a vital part of its members’ lives.
“I want to be interesting and I want Rotary to be interesting. I want Rotarians to have fun, be daring, do something new and act, following the 4-way test which is what Rotary is all about.”
Lawrence Central members Janice Bunker and Fred Aitchison spent a morning going out to Lawrence’s Woodlawn school to provide and fit 9 helmets for kids riding to school who did not have any way to get helmets and were not able to come to the community bicycle rides.
One of Lawrence Central’s goals as a club is to get more and more people to be able to have an active lifestyle but we also want them to be safe. Medical research shows that a bicycle helmet can prevent most cyclist head injuries. Nearly 700 bicycle riders are killed in the U.S. every year, almost all in collisions with cars, and sadly 75% of them die of head injuries. Many thousands more suffer less severe but still debilitating injuries that are far worse than the physical pain of scraped skin or even broken bones.
Habitat for Humanity was founded in 1978 by Christian missionary and lawyer, Millard Fuller, in the belief that everyone should have a “safe, decent place to call home.”
New Habitat executive director in Lawrence, Erika Zimmerman, and Habitat Board President Lindsey Slater, told Lawrence Central Rotarians on Wednesday that since 1990 Habitat has built 88 homes in Lawrence. And In 2005 Habitat opened the ReStore at 7th and Connecticut which accepts and resells new and used building material, furniture and appliances with the proceeds going to support Habitat.
“Lawrence is unique,” Zimmerman said “in that we have unusual resources in terms of donated time, labor, art, furniture, you name it.”
Families who don’t nave money to buy a home without assistance but have a stable income, no excessive debt and will commit to 225 hours of sweat equity are eligible. They take classes and make monthly mortgage payments. Their income must fall between the HUD Median income guidelines.
“The houses cost around $85,000 to build , primarily by volunteer labor, and are sold to the families through no interest mortgages. The payments don’t exceed 30% of the family’s income.”
Zimmerman said Habitat’s goals in Lawrence are to build six homes per year by 2018, and to raise $450,000 by then. “Our biggest problem is finding and affording land’” she said.
“And we want to utilize our volunteer pool to the fullest. Millard Fuller said ‘The work of Habitat has literally moved forward on the shoulders of volunteers.’ “
For more information about the Lawrence chapter of Habitat visit their website.