Humanitarian of the Year

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 $3,000 cash award, which he or she has traditionally donated to a favorite charity.



2013 Recipient: Shawn Askinosie

Shawn Askinosie and Jewell Schweitzer WEBIn 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. Read more

Criteria for award

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 – 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