The Jefferson Awards honor ordinary people who perform extraordinary acts of community service. These folks show how one person truly can help make a difference in their community and in the Cowboy State.
Every year, KCWY’s panel of judges selects four people, from all nominations submitted, as finalists of the Wyoming Jefferson Award. Those four nominations are then sent to a panel of judges where they select one person to represent Wyoming.
The Wyoming winner will then participate in the national awards ceremony in September. 2020 finalists are Marv Wolf of Cheyenne, Katie Caldwell-Burchett of Casper, Lou Lopez of Cheyenne and Jack Pharaoh of Greybull.
News 13 is pleased to announce this years winner, Katie Caldwell-Burchett. Katie is the founder and CEO of the Olivia Caldwell Foundation, a charity that is named for her daughter who succumbed to childhood cancer in 2013. The foundation raises money to fund lifesaving pediatric cancer research, congratulations Katie!
“This is just such a tremendous honor and I just want to say I’m so humbled and so grateful to be the recipient of the 2020 Wyoming Jefferson Award. Thank you so much to the Jefferson Award committee for this tremendous honor and to the person who nominated me. This is just amazing and I’m so grateful to be able to represent the state of Wyoming.
When I started the Olivia Caldwell Foundation nearly seven years ago just after my daughter died, I never imagined what this could turn into. At the time I was shocked, horribly sad and trying desperately to find some meaning from the horror I had watched my daughter experience at the hands of pediatric cancer. In those seven years we have seen real change and real progress in the fight to find a cure for pediatric cancer and bring better resources to our Wyoming kids. In that time we’ve actually even found the cure for several types of pediatric cancer, including the one that took the life of my own baby girl. We’ve also seen the addition of a pediatric specialty outreach clinic here in Casper that brings doctors up from Children’s Hospital Colorado once a month to see Wyoming kids without the need to travel.
None of this would be possible without the tremendous, amazing support that we continue to receive from the Casper community and beyond. The evolution of where we have gotten to is the result of hard work and dedication by so many people. I want to say thank you to the incredible board and staff of the Olivia Caldwell Foundation both past and present. These amazing people have dedicated countless hours, donated their own hard earned money and worked their tails off to make sure other children don’t have to lose their lives to pediatric cancer. I love each and every one of you and I am so thankful to have you with me to fight this battle.
I want to say thank you also to my wonderful family who has stood by my side and helped tremendously over all of these years. To my parents, who uprooted their lives and came here to Wyoming when Olivia was sick, and have continued to support us above and beyond, thank you.
I want to say thank you also to my wonderful husband Wayne. Thank you for always supporting me, pushing me to follow my dreams, being my best volunteer and being so willing to do whatever it takes so that I can pursue this mission wholeheartedly. I love you honey.
Thank you also to my little boys Wyatt and Landon for your love and your willingness to pursue this mission with me in honor of your sister.
There is still so much work to be done but thank you just isn’t enough to everyone who has supported us over the years. It is because of you that we are where we are today.
Thank you to all of our volunteers,sponsors, partner organizations, donors and everyone who has ever attended one of our fundraising events. You are the reason why more children will be able to survive pediatric cancer and why life will continue to get better for Wyoming kids with complicated conditions. Thank you so much,” said Caldwell-Burchett.
News 13 wants to thank all of our 2020 nominees. Our hats go off to all of you for the things you do, each and every day. You make Wyoming better.