Difference Makers for Wichita banquet honors community members

Twelve individuals in the Wichita community will be recognized for their outstanding service and dedication at the “Difference Makers for Wichita” awards banquet Feb. 23 in the Dugan-Gorges Conference Center on the Newman University campus.

The Difference Makers for Wichita Awards honor individuals and organizations making a positive difference and celebrates their contributions, value and influence on improving the greater Wichita community. The title sponsors for the 2019 event include Emprise Bank, the Wichita Eagle/Kansas.com and Newman University.

The following awards will be presented at the banquet:

Russ Meyer Community Leadership Award, presented by JR Custom Metal Products, Inc. and named after longtime aviation advocate, philanthropist and community leader Russ Meyer, is given to an individual making a positive impact in our community through demonstrated excellence in leadership and outstanding initiative to create solutions for critical issues facing the area. The 2019 recipient is Jennifer White of ICT SOS, a grassroots organization that has become an important component in Wichita’s battle against human trafficking.

Brian Bergkamp Student Service Award is presented by Ascension Via Christi and named for the late seminarian Brian Bergkamp, who died while rescuing a fellow kayaker who had fallen into the Arkansas River. This award is given to a high school student who by example has demonstrated the selfless and giving attitude to positively transform society. Elizabeth Meister, a student at Wichita Collegiate School, took leadership skills learned through the American Heart Association’s Ambassador Program to create her own non-profit, Heart to Heart, which involves doing CPR within all the private and parochial schools in Wichita.

Sister Tarcisia Roths, ASC, Not-For-Profit Award, presented by Nonprofit Chamber of Service, is named for former Newman University President Tarcisia Roths, ASC, who played a major role in the growth of the university. It is awarded to a mission-driven not-for-profit organization that is creating a significant impact in our community. The 2019 recipient is the Wichita Animal Action League (WAAL), whose executive director is Sarah Coffman. WAAL is dedicated to rescuing animals in crisis that have been abused, neglected and abandoned each year.

Ivonne Goldstein Community Volunteer Award is presented by BKD CPAs and Advisors and named for the late Ivonne Goldstein who served on the boards of, or raised money for, more than 50 Wichita organizations. This award is presented to an individual who through outstanding volunteer community service and commitment is making a measurable difference. Douglas Lockett, the 2019 recipient, is a U.S. Air Force veteran operating The Underground Café, which serves great food and fellowship every Wednesday evening from the basement of a church building.

Marshall Murdock Award for Business, presented by the Wichita Eagle/Kansas.com, is named for Marshall Murdock, founder of the Wichita Eagle in 1872. The award is given to an area business that is making a positive impact by addressing a major community challenge or by implementing ideas, which enhance opportunities for employees through the creativity and innovation. This year’s recipient, Watermark Books, owned by Sarah Bagby, brings individuals in the community together with the hope of elevating quality of life.

The awards banquet also honors five “Everyday Heroes,” presented by Envision. The recipients are individuals who do not seek recognition but rather are committed and inspired to serve others daily in order to make a positive difference.

The recipients include Glen Chambers, Lynn and David Gilkey, Madeline Akers, Cari Schmidt, Ngoc Vuong and Chip Neumann.

In addition to the Difference Makers awards, Newman University alumnus Bob Simpson will receive the Cardinal Newman Medal, the university’s highest honor. Simpson has served on the Newman University Board of Trustees and as an advisor for the Newman School of Business. Simpson and his wife, Anne, have been major financial supporters of Newman.


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