Humanitarian of the Year

Applications are now being accepted for the 2017 Humanitarian Award to honor a southwest Missouri resident for service that contributes to the betterment of his or her community.

This year will mark the 28th annual Humanitarian Award, which was founded by longtime Community Foundation of the Ozarks supporter Jewell Thompson Schweitzer.

The deadline for nominations is 5 p.m., Friday, Oct. 13, 2017. Nominations can be submitted online at:

Nominations also may be e-mailed or mailed to Suzette West with the Springfield Area Chamber of Commerce at:; or Springfield Area Chamber of Commerce, 2017 Humanitarian Award, P.O. Box 1687, Springfield, MO 65801.

Jewell Schweitzer

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 $5,000 cash award, which he or she has traditionally donated to a favorite charity.

Criteria for award





2016 Humantarian: Mr. Hearld Ambler.

Ambler, whose long record of community service includes helping senior citizens prepare tax returns for the past 27 years, was nominated by the SeniorAge Area Agency on Aging and the Senior Foundation of the Ozarks for his service as a volunteer, mentor, wise leader and friend for the SeniorAge’s Tax Counseling for the Elderly program. It offers free tax counseling to residents 60 and over at a number of sites, including senior centers.

Ambler also has served other area organizations, including Friends of the Zoo and the Community Foundation of the Ozarks, where he was one of 11 founders of the region’s public charitable foundation in 1973. He served the CFO in various volunteer roles for 38 years and established the Hearld and Marge Ambler Scholarship Fund, which offers a preference for accounting majors.

“His gentle smile, calming demeanor and ‘wink of assurance’ have comforted confused tax filers, frazzled tax volunteers and over-their-head TCE coordinators,” wrote nominator June Huff. “Because of Hearld, we’ve all been able to say ‘I believe I can do this’ and then proven we can.”

Ambler retired in 1986 from BKD, LLP, where he worked as its first Managing Partner from 1976-1986.

Past Humanitarian Award recipients:

2015 – Kurt Larson, Springfield attorney and founder of Safe and Sober Missouri anti-drug and -alcohol program for teens

2014 – Morey Mechlin, retired executive director of Care to Learn, advocacy on behalf of children

2013 – Shawn Askinosie, socially conscious entrepreneur and philanthropist

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 – Bill Stalnaker, 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