Laws Porter earns Chamber award
Last week, Marilyn Laws Porter faced a tough decision.
She could have traveled with her husband to Arizona to celebrate his birthday with family or she could have stayed and attended the annual Eudora Chamber of Commerce dinner.
She opted to stay for the dinner, but thanks to a tip, she had a reason.
On Saturday, the Chamber named the former religion teacher and brokerage firm worker Eudora's citizen of the year.
"I'm really glad I'm here because this couldn't mean more to me than anything I've received," Laws Porter said.
Laws Porter said she especially appreciated the award because it came from the community.
She earned the award because of her participation in a wide array of services to the city. Her efforts included helping organize last year's American Cancer Society Relay For Life ---- as well as in the previous seven years.
Her drive to serve came from a decision early in her life, Laws Porter said.
She had been working for a brokerage firm for 30 years when she began feeling an urge to make a difference, she said.
"As I got older, that became a pretty insistent voice within," Laws Porter said.
When she retired, she followed the voice and became heavily involved with Habitat for Humanity in Lawrence, and eventually helped organize the first Habitat house built in Eudora.
She also volunteered with Catholic Community Services.
She has won the Pope John XXII for religious education, walked as an American Cancer Society ambassador in the walk of life in Washington, D.C., and garnered the Community Cornerstone Award from CornerBank in Lawrence.
During her speech Saturday, she mentioned the cornerstone as a good basis to look at personal service.
"We don't have to save the world," Laws Porter said. "We just have to save the corner of our world."
Her service continued in Eudora without change although she faced several changes throughout her life.
She was married to longtime Eudora High School teacher and coach Don Laws for whom Laws Field was namedHe died in 1992.
She married Tom Porter in 1984. He is the city prosecutor in Lawrence.
She has four children ---- Mark Laws, Ottawa, Cord Laws, Kansas City, Mo., and Julie Stewart and Karla Cleveland, both of Eudora; eight grandchildren; and one great-grandchild.
"I'm extremely proud of my mom. She has to have the most energy of anyone I've ever seen," Cleveland said. "She's the most caring person I've ever known."
Before being met and greeted by the gathered business people and Chamber members, Laws Porter finished her speech with a story.
Once when driving with her grandchild, she asked him what he thought what it would be like to earn an award.
He replied to her by saying it would be fine, but 'they only do those things for you when you're dead,'" Laws Porter said.
"I thank you for this honor and I thank you for giving it to me before I'm dead," she said.
During the Chamber meeting, past president Angie Miller also announced The Eudora News as the business of the year. It was the first year the award was given.
"I am honored for The Eudora News to be chosen as the Chamber's first business of the year," general manager Theresa Abel, said. "We strive to keep the community informed and work hard week after week to make that happen."
"This award is a direct reflection of our staff's hard work and dedication to the newspaper and the community."