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The annual Humanitarian Award was established 21 years ago by Community Foundation of the Ozarks supporter Jewell Thompson Schweitzer. The Springfield Area Chamber of Commerce honors the individuals in our region who put service to others as the main motivating force in their lives. This year’s winner is Doug Pitt, and he received the award at a luncheon Thursday. KSMU’s Ryan Welch went out to hear from Pitt firsthand.
Doug Pitt says he was deeply affected by what he learned in 2007 about poverty in Springfield. The next year, he founded the Care to Learn program, which provides Springfield students a safety net for basic food, health, and hygiene needs. Since then, the program has expanded to Ozark, Nixa, Republic, and Bolivar. As of the end of November, Care to Learn has served more than 36,000 developing needs throughout its chapters.
Pitt says the award is an honor that’s shared by all who have worked so hard with him, but there’s more to it than that.
“It’s a great honor, and I just go back again to the recipients before me, and just their legacy and what they’ve done. So, obviously, recognition like that—it’s rewarding, it’s a nice thing for my family. But, at the end of the day, it’s a great way to promote our causes and I appreciate that effort and people taking the time to do that,” said Pitt.
Besides his work on Care to Learn, Pitt is being recognized for his work as co-chair of the Homelessness Task Force in Springfield. He’s also being honored for his work done outside the country: as goodwill ambassador to Tanzania, as well as his support for the construction of wells for clean drinking water in Africa.
The winner of the annual Humanitarian Award receives $3,000 in cash. Pitt has decided he’ll give the money to Care to Learn chapters throughout the region.
For KSMU News, I’m Ryan Welch.