Emily Couric Public Service Award
Los Angeles Kings
This award is a tribute to Emily Couric, a Virginia Democratic state senator who died of pancreatic cancer in 2001 at age 54. A strong and effective advocate for public education and health care issues, Emily helped to pass the Virginia Commonwealth Neurotrauma Initiative to support research and rehabilitation for victims of spinal cord and traumatic brain injuries. She was also instrumental in passing the nation’s first state law mandating health insurance coverage for colorectal cancer screenings following the death from colon cancer of her sister Katie Couric’s husband, Jay Monahan.
The award honors an individual or organization who, in a public role, exemplifies the dedication to others as seen in the life and work of Emily Couric.
The family of the National Hockey League’s Los Angeles Kings was touched by pancreatic cancer when Thomas Grissom, the brother-in-law of Dean Lombardi, the team President, General Manager and Alternate Governor, was diagnosed with the disease in 2009. Thankfully, Tom has defied the frightening odds that all of those diagnosed with pancreatic cancer must face, and we are pleased to honor him here tonight. Recently, Tom celebrated his three-year anniversary as a pancreatic cancer survivor.
Tonight, we honor the Kings and the Kings Care Foundation for all they have done to support the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network as well as the broader Los Angeles community.
The Kings Care Foundation is the award-winning, nonprofit charity of the LA Kings, which offers assistance to children in need, as well as cancer charities. Formed in 1996, the Kings Care Foundation is dedicated to providing children in the greater Los Angeles area with educational and recreational opportunities and has donated nearly $6 million in monetary and in-kind donations since its inception. The Kings Care Foundation is proud to support the local community by making a direct impact on the lives of nearly one million children throughout Southern California each year.
The LA Kings are proud to be an integral part of the Los Angeles community both on and off the ice. LA Kings community outreach is focused on enhancing educational, recreational and health-related programs for the youth of the greater Los Angeles area. LA Kings players, alumni, personalities and staff actively work with local youth-based organizations and community groups to increase awareness and raise funds to support the LA Kings signature community initiatives, including the annual Hockey Fights Cancer initiative.
Regarding the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network, the Kings have raised immeasurable awareness of the fight against pancreatic cancer during the past several years through the production of a public service announcement, participation in many on-air interviews and other outreach efforts regarding the disease, and by hosting several awareness events during games to benefit our organization.
The Nancy M. Daly Shining Star Award
San Diego Padres/ Padres Foundation
The Nancy M. Daly Shining Star Award celebrates the heart, commitment, and humanity that defined celebrated humanitarian Nancy Daly. Nancy's dedicated efforts during her lifetime benefited a multitude of worthy causes to improve the world that we live in, including the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network. This award recognizes an honorees' far-reaching volunteerism and dedicated efforts that personify the work and profound impact Nancy had on the lives of all those she touched.
San Diego Padres bullpen coach Darrel “Ak” Akerfelds, the longest-tenured member of the team’s coaching staff, left us at the age of 50 on June 24, 2012 after an 18-month battle with pancreatic cancer. The entire Padres organization and Major League Baseball lost a great friend and a true hero with his passing.
In response to the loss of their friend and colleague, and with approval from his family, the Padres established the Darrel Akerfelds #48 Legacy Fund at the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network. The Padres’ initial gift of $48,000 – reflecting Darrel’s jersey number, 48 – and subsequent donations will help fund much-needed programs for those facing the disease and advance vital pancreatic cancer research to uncover more effective treatments and, in time, a cure.
This tribute to Ak is just one part of the team’s commitment to the community. The San Diego Padres players and coaches, ownership and front office staff share a long tradition of caring and giving.
The San Diego Padres and the Padres Foundation are community assets in their region, committed to making a meaningful and enduring impact on youth in the areas of children’s health, education and recreation. They are guided in this mission to inspire youth to LIVE a healthy life, LEARN and PLAY by:
- INVESTING in efforts that support youth in the San Diego and Baja regions;
- BUILDING community pride through positive connections with fans, players and Padres staff;
- LEADING the community through relevant and visible programs and partnerships.
Active involvement in the community, volunteerism, and generosity in sharing time, talent and treasure are at the heart of the club's philosophy and philanthropy.
The Padres Foundation for Children was established in 1995 and acts as the Club’s primary source of funding for the outreach initiatives in the areas of children's health, education and recreation. The Foundation raises funds through the generosity of corporate sponsorships and through a number of fan programs such as Scoreboard Surprises, an online charitable auction, the Shirts Off Their Backs fundraiser and an annual Padres Foundation Garage Sale
The Padres Foundation is a fund of The San Diego Foundation, a not-for-profit public charity.
Spirit of Hope Award
The Spirit of Hope award recognizes an individual or family who displays tremendous courage and fortitude in coping with pancreatic cancer and inspires others to do the same throughout their journeys with the disease. The honoree understands that strength of spirit, love and support are the hallmarks of hope. The recipient of the Spirit of Hope award also fully embraces the mission of the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network and motivates others to raise awareness, create hope and help build a community of support for everyone facing the disease.
Since he was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in June 2012, Greg Willard has valiantly fought the disease with the support of his wife of 22 years, Laurie, and their children Bryce, Shelby and Weston, as well as many other family members and friends. He has also received tremendous support from his colleagues in the National Basketball Association (NBA), where he has worked as a highly regarded referee for 24 NBA seasons.
In fact, his fellow NBA officials wore Greg’s number 57 on their jerseys during the NBA finals in June to recognize him following his diagnosis.
With more than 1,500 regular season games under his belt, Greg has officiated at three Finals games since the 2009-‘10 season and has blown his whistle during more than 130 playoff games. He also participated in the 2006 All Star Game in Houston.
"Greg's professionalism and integrity have made him a role model within the NBA community," said National Basketball Referees Association General Counsel Lee Seham. "We want him and his family to know that our thoughts and prayers are with them."
Prior to joining the NBA, Greg spent four years officiating in the Continental Basketball Association and has four years of collegiate officiating experience in the PCAA and Pac-10 Conferences.
Greg, who is 53, attended California State University, Long Beach, as well as Orange Coast College, where he earned his Associate of Arts degree in 1982. From 1981 to 1991, he worked for the City of Irvine in its Community Services department as a Senior Recreation Coordinator.
Greg has been involved with the Musical Youth Artists’ Repertory Theatre (MYART), a community-based, non-profit, educational organization that provides young people the opportunity to participate in the performing arts, as well as the Orange County Football Officials Association. He is also helps administer many local youth sports leagues within his community and enjoys skiing and photography during his free time.
Greg and Laurie have operated a small retail party supplies store named Party Hounz in Newport Beach since early 2012. In addition, Greg and his oldest son, Bryce, work as a team on another family business named Purchase Officials Supplies of California, which provides supplies and equipment for high school and collegiate sports officials.
The Willard family resides in Huntington Beach, California.