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Local History

Community Foundation of the Ozarks selects Kurt Larson for Springfield Humanitarian Award

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www.missourisafeandsober.com.
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For 26 years, Community Foundation of the Ozarks has been recognizing people that have dedicated a segment of their lives to community service with the Springfield Humanitarian Award.

This year’s recipient is Kurt Larson, a personal injury attorney who founded the Safe and Sober Prom campaign in Springfield Public Schools nearly 12 years ago. Founded when his children were about to start high school, it is designed to help teach teens about the dangers of driving while impaired. Larson explained that he was worried his children, like other teens, would succumb to peer pressure in regards to alcohol.

“That combined with what I do for a living as a professional  which is represent people whose  lives have been flipped upside down, lost loved ones all too often because of an underage drinker who gets behind the wheel,” Larson said.

His program has since expanded to reach nearly 300 high schools across the state. Now dubbed Missouri Safe and Sober, the impact is three-fold with programs for high schoolers, middle schoolers and parents. Larson hopes the next step is to expand the program to all Missouri high schools, and then even nationally and internationally.

Larson said he was especially honored to learn that his work in the program helped in receiving the Springfield Humanitarian Award.

“Frankly I nearly fell out of my chair because I am familiar with the award and I’m familiar with some of the past recipients and it’s hard to imagine myself in that class of people who are past humanitarians.” Larson said.

Larson placed emphasis on how happy he was that Safe and Sober as a whole was getting recognition.

“I’m thrilled that I get to get the glory but it belongs to a lot of people,” Larson said.

Larson will formally receive the award along with $5,000 on Tuesday, December 8 at the Double Tree Hotel. The event is open to the public. Ticket can be purchased online at the Community Foundation of the Ozarks  website.