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2017 Night of Independence Award Winners

2017 Award Winners


David Westbrook was awarded the 2017 Paul H. Levy Founders Award for his contribution to the support of people with disabilities in the Kansas City Area. Mr. Westbrook was presented his award at our Night of Independence Gala, held Friday, September 15, 2017 at The Gallery Event Space.

Paul H. Levy founded The Whole Person in 1978 as a group that would be empowered to tackle sweeping community issues as well as the individual needs of persons with disabilities… an organization that would remind the public by its actions, and its name, to involve themselves with those with disabilities, seeing each, in his or her entirety, as complete, potentially “whole persons” with varied abilities and interests. The public would look beyond the disability, the points of difference, to accept a person for their intellect, humor, expression, skills, potential and, above all, individuality. David Westbrook is a longtime supporter of The Whole Person and a prominent disability activist in Kansas City. David is the Senior Vice President for Strategy and Innovation at Children’s Mercy, and embodies the principles of what Paul Levy founded The Whole Person on.

Video created and produced by Lisa Marie Evans.


The Whole Person was honored to announce that Candice Minear was awarded our 2017 Lifetime Achievement Award for her contribution to the support of people with disabilities in the Kansas City Area. Candice was presented this award posthumously at our Night of Independence Gala, held Friday, September 15 at The Gallery Event Space.

In her role as TWP’s Development & Community Relations Specialist, Candice Minear shared her successes and challenges as well as resources, with people with disabilities who also live with a spinal cord injury, or diagnosis of a spinal cord related disorder. She was an outspoken advocate in the community about people first language, disability awareness and etiquette. Candice believed that people with disabilities should not be taken for granted. Candice would say… “While they may not have the same abilities as you, people with disabilities have strengths that make them viable assets to society. Having a disability did not change who I am, and I’m not your inspiration. I’m a strong, independent, hard-working woman, and I am the same as everyone else.” Candice embodied the TWP mission of living and working as independently as one can, despite her spinal cord injury. Candice passed away unexpectedly on New Year’s Day 2017. She was a great asset to our organization and is greatly missed. Nominated by Terri Goddard, Candice’s sister Kelsie, and her parents Linda and Mike Minear accepted the award.

Video created and produced by Lisa Marie Evans.


The Whole Person was thrilled to announce that Netsmart was awarded the 2017 Corporate Volunteer of the Year Award for their contribution to the support of people with disabilities in the Kansas City Area. Netsmart was presented this award at our Night of Independence Gala, held Friday, September 15 at The Gallery Event Space.

Netsmart has faithfully supported The Whole Person’s July Jubilee, Expressions Art Exhibition and Planting Independence programs with countless volunteers. Coordinator Andrew Mersman and Netsmart don’t just show up, they GET IN THERE TO DO THE WORK! Netsmart is a cool company that supports the community they serve. Nominated by Kelly Grooms, the award was accepted by Andrew Mersman.

Video created and produced by Lisa Marie Evans.


The Whole Person was thrilled to announce that Jeremy Tercey was awarded the 2017 Volunteer of the Year Award for his contribution to the support of our organization. Jeremy was presented this award at our Night of Independence Gala, held Friday, September 15 at The Gallery Event Space.

The importance of volunteers to The Whole Person cannot be overestimated. Whether the person acts as a volunteer for a specific task, or contributes their time and resources in support of a large event or project, the efforts that are put forth deserve our heartiest congratulations and recognition. It is for that reason that we honored Jeremy Tercey with the Volunteer of the Year Award. Jeremy’s infectious smile and spirit embodies the mission of the organization in so many ways. Nominated by Kelly Grooms.

Video created and produced by Lisa Marie Evans.


The Whole Person was thrilled to announce that The City of Independence has been awarded our 2017 Civic Leader Award for their contribution to the support of people with disabilities in the Kansas City Area. The City of Independence was presented this award at our Night of Independence Gala, held Friday, September 15 at The Gallery Event Space.

The City of Independence was honored for addressing accessibility needs in their city. The City partnered with several groups to build a universally inclusive park at McCoy Park which will attract children, families, Veterans, school groups, therapy professionals and others from all over the area and enable ALL children to play together. They have addressed accessibility in all areas of their community including transportation. Nominated by Kristin Zimmerman, the Civic Leader Award was presented to The City of Independence, and accepted by Mayor Eileen Weir!

Video created and produced by Lisa Marie Evans.


The Whole Person was thrilled to announce that Synchrony Financial was awarded our 2017 Corporate Award for their contribution to the support of people with disabilities in the Kansas City Area. Synchrony Financial was presented this award at our Night of Independence Gala, held Friday, September 15 at The Gallery Event Space.

Synchrony Financial really “stepped up” to support The Whole Person’s Planting Independence program which provides assistance with general yard clean-up to consumers who receive services, or are in any of our programs, that own or rent their homes. TWP partners with volunteer groups to perform low to moderate risk activities such as mowing, raking, weeding, and planting twice a year on a Saturday morning. Synchrony’s overall culture supports the mission of The Whole Person. Nominated by Terri Goddard, the Corporate Award was presented to Synchrony Financial, and accepted by Jaymee Martin!

Video created and produced by Lisa Marie Evans.


The Whole Person was thrilled to announce that Erin Brown was awarded our 2017 Individual of the Year Award for her contribution to the support of people with disabilities in the Kansas City Area. Erin was presented her award at our Night of Independence Gala, held Friday, September 15, 2017 at The Gallery Event Space.

Erin Brown is an Occupational Therapist and works at Ability KC….she also volunteers everywhere! From Wheelchair Rugby, organizing the Ability Summit, to serving on the Board of The Greater Kansas City Spinal Cord Injury Association, Erin is always the first person to step up and support people with disabilities. Erin was nominated for this award by Adam Lane.

Video created and produced by Lisa Marie Evans.