Greg Evans with David Miller, son of Hugh and Vera Miller.
Greg Evans received the Winona Health Foundation Ben & Adith Miller Community Service Tribute at a dinner in his honor on Wednesday, April 24, at Cedar Valley Golf Course in Winona. This year marks Winona Health’s 125th year serving the community, and this is the 31st consecutive year the tribute has been awarded. Evans is a Winona native and president and CEO of Merchants Bank.
“Greg firmly believes that what makes a community great are the people, and his servant leadership mentality has driven him to dedicate countless hours as a volunteer, mentor and community leader,” noted Mary Gordon, who has worked with Evans at Merchants Bank for 27 years. “Putting words into action, as a volunteer, Greg has enhanced the quality of life for community members of all ages.”
Evans’ volunteerism and generosity include founding the 10 Days of Giving Food Drive in 1989 and continuing to be the driving force behind its success for the past 30 years. The food drive has raised more than 3.5-million pounds of food for Winona Volunteer Services. He has also had a positive impact on numerous community organizations, including the Great River Shakespeare Festival, Habitat for Humanity, Winona Health Foundation, Winona Health, Winona Family YMCA, Winona State University Foundation, Winona State University and Visit Winona.
Ken Mogren, retired president of Winona Agency and president of the Winona Health Board of Directors, has known the Evans family since the honoree was a child. “Greg does stuff for all the right reasons,” he said. “One of the reasons Greg serves is because he understands that many of the things that make our community a great place to live are here because of the hard work and generosity of past generations, people like Ben and Adith Miller, and the only way we can repay them is to preserve their legacies and leave some good things ourselves for future generations.”
Evans’ parents, Ellen and Gary Evans, spoke briefly of Greg’s younger years, and Gary credited Ellen for doing a “magnificent job” raising their children. Gary received the Community Service Tribute in 1991, which added another touching element to the evening. He said that he was sure Greg would rather be there to honor someone else, just as he had felt those many years ago. In expressing his deep appreciation of Ben and Adith Miller’s generosity, Gary Evans said, “I remember that years-ago evening so well. It was that night that really began my friendship with Ben Miller … I lament that he is not here tonight, but his son Hugh and daughter-in-law Vera have done a phenomenal job of continuing this award.”
Hugh and Vera Miller and RTP Company generously gave $25,000 to the Winona Health Foundation’s Ben & Adith Miller Patient Care Fund in Evans’ honor. The Patient Care Fund helps community members in need with their medical bills. This is the 31st consecutive year that the Miller family has sponsored the Ben & Adith Miller Community Service Tribute.
Hugh and Vera’s son David presented this year’s award to Greg Evans, saying, “Greg is clearly a pillar of the community in so many ways and very deserving of this recognition. My grandparents felt very strongly that you couldn’t have a strong community without strong employers, strong education and a strong local health care organization.”
Those who would like to make a gift to the Winona Health Foundation in honor of Greg Evans may direct their gift to the Winona Health Foundation by mail at 855 Mankato Avenue, Winona, Minn., 55987, or online at winonahealth.org/foundation.
Questions about the Winona Health Foundation may be directed to Rebecca Lamberty, chief administrative officer, at 507-494-5745. For more information, visit winonahealth.org/foundation.
Past recipients of the Ben & Adith Miller Community Service Tribute award include:
• 2018, Steve and Nancy Bachler
• 2017, Steve Groth
• 2016, Jon Kohner
• 2015, Dr. Chuck and Judy Shepard
• 2014, Dee Cipov
• 2013, Irene Renk
• 2012, Marlene Kohner
• 2011, Jenny Kahl
• 2010, Justin Green
• 2009, Nancy Iglesias
• 2008, Dennis Theede and Home & Community Options, Inc.
• 2007, O.J. and Karen Fawcett
• 2006, Donna Helble
• 2005, Kent Gernander
• 2004, Marilyn and Keith Schwab and Kim and Pete Schwab
• 2003, M.L. “Max” DeBolt
• 2002, Rose Andersen and Diane Barge
• 2001, Carol “Mickey” and Dan Barr
• 2000, Joette and Michael Gostomski
• 1999, Roger Metz
• 1998, Nancy and Mark Kristensen
• 1997, Dave Arnold and Dan Rukavina
• 1996, Pete Woodworth
• 1995, Dr. Frank and Ruth Bures
• 1994, Sue Cornwell
• 1993, Bob Kierlin
• 1992, Tom Graham
• 1991, Gary Evans
• 1990, Pauline Knight
• 1989, Tom and Judith Stark, Dr. Roger and Helen Hartwich, and John and Helen David