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Knicely Done: Heartland Family Service Honorees

This article is written by John Knicely. It was posted on on November 16, 2017.

Every year, the week before Thanksgiving, Heartland Family Service, recognizes members of our community who are quietly making a difference.

The annual Salute to Families was held on Thursday at Happy Hollow Country Club.

Sean and Anne Rich have faced challenges with their family. Their fourth child was born with Down syndrome, a hole in her heart and pulmonary hypertension. Today that little girl is healthy and happy.

Sean and Anne also adopted another daughter in 2015, who was born with gastroschisis. They were honored with the Challenged and Successful award.

Tony and Simone Jones have been employed at Boys Town for 20 years and have three biological children. Over the years they have worked with more than 200 children and families. They were honored with the Commitment to Family award.

The Community Service award was presented to Dr. Viv and John Ewing. John served on the Omaha Police Department and currently is the Douglas County Treasurer. Viv is the VP of Human Resources at Nebraska Families Collaborative. Their daughters,

Christina and Alexandra, also have extensive community service.

Scott and Karla Cassels were honored with the Leadership Family award. Together they have helped with many causes in the Omaha community. Some of the organizations they have contributed to included the Joslyn Museum, Heartland Family Service and Creighton Prep. Karla is also a board member of Friends Forever with the Nebraska Humane Society.

The Family Advocate award was presented to Penny Parker, Executive Director of Completely Kids. Penny has headed the organization for the last 25 years, focusing on children living in poverty and giving them hope.

Penny survived serious challenges from two strokes she suffered at age 25, one of which paralyzed her left side.

"You know it's interesting when you're 25 years old and you have a stroke that is totally unexpected," she said in an interview with WOWT 6 News.

Heartland Family Service with well deserved honors for members of our community.

Knicely Done!