In 1984, Healthy Charlotte Alliance established the James Gray Cannon Award. We present this award to an individual who has demonstrated exceptional volunteer leadership toward the advancement of medical care and good health in the Charlotte-Mecklenburg community.

Past recipients include hospital volunteers, organization founders and board members – people who, through their unselfish dedication to an organization or cause, have made a difference in our community.

The 2025 Cannon Award recipient will be honored at our Annual Meeting (May 21, 2025) and the nonprofit of his/her choosing will receive a $1,000 donation from Healthy Charlotte Alliance.

The nomination window is now open for the 2025 Cannon Award and we will accept nominations through February 15, 2025.  We invite you to nominate an exceptional volunteer by submitting a brief online nomination form.

Nominees will remain on active file for consideration for three years.

Volunteers, as well as healthcare professionals volunteering outside their paid positions, are eligible.

We look forward to receiving your nomination for this award.

Previous Cannon Award Winners

2024 Patty Norman has spent a lifetime in service to the people and institutions of Charlotte, including Board service with the Carolinas Healthcare Foundation, the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Library Foundation, Mint Museum, the Women’s Impact Fund, and she co-founded Good Friends of Charlotte. Perhaps one of her greatest legacies to the health and well-being of individuals across the Carolinas, is her co-founding of Veterans Bridge Home, helping veterans navigate and connect with vital housing, healthcare, education, and employment resources.

2023 Dr. Ryan Kilmer has served as a board member for Teen Health Connection and the Council for Children’s Rights. He has devoted years of volunteer service in support of the Howell Center, the Larry King Center, Parent VOICE’s Evaluation Committee, and Mecklenburg County’s Community Collaborative and the System of Care initiative. Dr. Kilmer has spent decades serving the Charlotte community, focusing his efforts on bettering the lives of vulnerable children and their families.

2022 Dr. Lou Ann McAdams is the co-founder of Matthews Free Medical Clinic and has volunteered her time, serving as the Medical Director since the clinic’s inception in 2003. Dr. McAdams is a visionary, consistently expanding patient services and education. She is deeply invested in the community and in the the lives of her patients.

2020-21 Jane Llewellyn served as one of the first volunteers to help open the original location of Teen Health Connection. She recognized that providing youth with quality medical and mental health care, along with opportunities for leadership and life skill development, is critical for a lifetime of success. Jane serves on the Women’s Impact Fund and sponsors a number of kids in the Y-Readers program with the YMCA. She is also an active member of US Youth Soccer and the North Carolina Youth Soccer Association (NCYSA) and the incoming Board President for Teen Health Connection.

2019 Dr. John Klimas has been the visionary behind Physicians Reach Out, an initiative of Care Ring. In the early 2000s, Dr. Klimas led the Mecklenburg County Medical Society Board of Directors to build a local network of physicians, volunteering to care for patients who were low-income, uninsured or otherwise excluded. Thousands of people have received vital care since the inception of PRO and this incredible initiative would not exist today if not for the passion and leadership of Dr. Kilmas.

2018 Suzy Garvey has served multiple terms on the board of Hospitality House of Charlotte for the past 21 years.  She has chaired and still serves on the Advisory Committee, Strategic Planning and Development Committee.  Thank you Suzy for your service to the community.

2017 Meghan Hampton founder of “In the NIC of Time” which supports the Neonatal Intensive Care Nursery at Levine.  Meghan is a fierce advocate for the smallest fighters in our community.

2016 Laura Funderburg for her work with Arts for Life, both in helping to launch the program at Levine Children’s Cancer Center and for her dedication, compassion and dependability as a volunteer.

2010 Mr. Howard C. “Smoky” Bissell for his leadership in the $85 million capital campaign for the Levine Children’s Hospital

2007 Ann Maulden Elliot, co-founder of what would become Friendship Trays, Charlotte- Mecklenburg’s nonprofit meals-on-wheels program

Previous Cannon Award Winners (continued)

2006 Elizabeth “Lib” Harkey for her work with Florence Crittenton Services

2005 Edward T. Hinson for his work with Bioethics Resource Group

2004 Dr. Bill Cody- quietly worked to insure healthcare for the underserved, including homeless women and children and people living with HIV/AIDS

2003 Daphne Ledford-Founder of Charlotte-Mecklenburg Celia Support Group

2002 Quay Youngblood-Volunteer at Presbyterian Hospital for over 24 years.

2001 Barbara Hautau-Afflicted with MS since the late 70’s, formed a Christian based MS support group in 1993 and, with her husband, organized an annual banquet at Calvary Church for people with disabilities.

2000 Rex Welton-A prime force in the establishment of the Buddy Kemp Caring House which offers unique support for cancer patients, involved with the Mercy Hospital Foundation, Leukemia Society of America, the YMCA, Dalton Village, the Duke University Cancer Center, and the Presbyterian Hospital Foundation. 

1999 Bruce Parker-Community philanthropist with a long-standing interest in hunger relief as well as support for housing and other health-related activities.

1998 Barbara Novell-Carolina Medical Center volunteer oncology floor, “Tea Lady”

1996 Charles G. (Chuck) Richards-Board Member Mecklenburg Medical Alliance’s Inn (MMAE’s Inn), recognized for constant support of  MMAE’s Inn, raising funds through Wine and Food Weekend 1997

1995 Sharon O. Dixon-Hospice nurse volunteer, Nurse Coordinator, Director, Professional Services, Hospice

1994 Thereasea Elder- founder, Cleo Young Scholarship Award in Nursing (Queens College), Drafting team for 50% by 2000 program to reduce teen pregnancy, organizer of health fairs and educational programs for women and pregnant adolescents.

1993 R. Stuart Dickson-Chairman, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Hospital Authority; Director, Dickson Foundation, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Health Services and Hospital Authority Foundation, Heinemann Medical Research Center and Foundation for Carolinas

1992 Dr. Linda A Berne-Founder and President, Mecklenburg Council on Adolescent Pregnancy, March of Dimes, NC Coalition on Adolescent Pregnancy.

1991 Jan and Darrell Hargett-Founders and Presidents, “Wish I Could” (an organization for granting wishes of chronically and terminally ill children)

1990 Deborah Crouch McKeithan-Founder and President, “Learning How, Inc.” (an organization dedicated to helping physical handicapped persons achieve fullest potential) 

1989 Hilda Hemby-Charlotte Memorial Hospital volunteer, Intensive care waiting room, active in the implementation of the Patient Representative Program 

1988 Donald Simpson-Founder and President, Mission Air Industries, Inc. (an organization to provide air ambulance service for the sick and insured that would not be available financially or “in time”)

1987 Mary Elizabeth Crook-Founder, Presbyterian Hospital Auxiliary Sales Room, volunteer at Presbyterian Hospital for 44 years, board member, Barium Springs and Alexander Home 

1986 Sarah B. Bryant-President, Florence Crittenden Home Board of Directors; Founder, Planned Parenthood of Charlotte; Chairman, Charlotte Rehabilitation Hospital Board of Advisors

1985 Austin Theis-Chairman, Mercy Hospital Board 

1984 James G. Cannon-Commissioner for Charlotte Mecklenburg Hospital Authority; Chairman Charlotte Memorial Hospital Board of Managers, Director of Heinemann Foundation (Dec.)