CFO’s annual Humanitarian Award was created by Mrs. Jewell Thompson Schweitzer to honor individuals in our region who place service to others as the primary motivating force in their lives. The Springfield Area Chamber of Commerce organizes a committee to review nominations and select the annual recipient. The winner receives a $3,000 cash award, which he or she has traditionally donated to a favorite charity.
2013 Recipient: Shawn Askinosie
In accepting his honor today as the 2013 Humanitarian, Shawn Askinosie urged those who were there to celebrate him to draw upon their darkest moments to find the joy that will help them define their lives.
Drawing from Kahlil Gibran’s “The Prophet” – “Your joy is your sorrow unmasked” – Askinosie recounted the worst days of his life when he was a kid sitting beside his father’s bed as he died of cancer, the experience that many years later led him to create Lost & Found to help grieving children.
“I’ve never been so desperate and never really been so heartbroken,” he recalled. Those dark days also led him to volunteer in the hospice-like palliative care unit at Mercy Hospital where several times he read, prayed and held the hands of patients as they died.
“What I experienced in those moments remains probably the greatest joy I’ve ever experienced in my whole life,” he said. “It was an overwhelming sense of love. I think part of it was because I wasn’t thinking about myself for those moments.”
Putting service to others above oneself is the guiding principle in selecting the annual honoree for the Humanitarian Award created in 1989 by longtime CFO supporter Jewell Thompson Schweitzer. She and Susie Turner, president of the Junior League of Springfield, presented this year’s award to the former criminal defense attorney who made a mid-life career change to found Askinosie Chocolate.
Past Humanitarian Award recipients:
2012 – Randy Russell, advocate for the arts and children
2011 – Roseann Bentley, lifetime of community service
2010 – Doug Pitt, Care to Learn and efforts in Tanzania
2009 – Roger D. “Dusty” Shaw Jr. and William Shaw, work in Thomasville and Oregon County
2008 – Boys and Girls Club and The Kitchen
2007 – Marie Prater, The Kitchen Foundation
2006 – Pat Walker, Founders Park and Springfield beautification
2005 – Bill & Virginia Darr, Families for Children
2004 – Dr. Judith Gonzalez, Hand in Hand Ministries
2003 – Wade E. Palmer, Help Give Hope
2002 – Dr. John Bentley, Health needs of the underserved
2001 – Harold Bengsch, Springfield-Greene County Health Department
2000 – Judge Thomas Mountjoy, Teen Court
1999 – Paul & Cyndy Teas, Camp Barnabas
1998 – John Harp, Greene County Foster Program
1997 – Dr. Jim Blaine, Greene County Medical Society
1996 – E.E. “Johnny” Johnson, Make-A-Wish Foundation of Mo
1995 – Rev. Dorsey Levell, Council of Churches of the Ozarks
1994 – Linda Duncan and Janie Brunette, Multiple Sclerosis Wellness Program
1993 – Leonard Spellman, Children’s Shoe Bank/Kiwanis
1992 – Calvin Allen, Springfield Community Center
1991 – Sister Lorraine Biebel, The Kitchen
1990 – Mary Beth O’Reilly, Hospice