Willie Cotton -
George Melton -
Henry Plunkett -
Craig Schmidt -
Judi Sumoski -
Bill Whitmore -
Willie Cotton - retired, 16 year Chapter Leader, Us TOO Vista Arizona

Willie CottonWillie was one of the pioneers in the founding of Us TOO Sierra Vista, Arizona in 1992. He was its chapter leader for sixteen years leading it through the best and worst of times.

During the year Willie can be found setting up information tables in public places answering prostate cancer questions, speaking about Us TOO, a frequent participant in local health fairs and always representing his chapter in the ACS Relay for Life annual event. He. receives and mails the Us TOO Hot Sheet to current and former members, visits chapter members who are or have been hospitalized and families who have lost a loved one.

Willie Cotton has received recognition and awards for his outstanding service in the community, and in the state of Arizona. A chapter award is presented annually to an outstanding person in the community, this award was originally created in honor of Willie, and it is called the "Willie Cotton Do It Now'" award.

Many have been inspired by Willie to do the important work of the chapter, his selflessness, dedication and long commitment to men and families experiencing prostate cancer. He's taught many to never give up, asking "what would men do if Us TOO were not here?"

Without experience and during his tenure he was the driving force in two of the most success-ful special events in the life of the chapter, one of them, a golf tournament that raised over $3000 which was shared with Us TOO International.

Willie is an encourager, a generous man, with an enviable compassion for all, an example of what it means to be a credit to the human race. Now 85 years old, when most men his age would say "enough" he continues to be a tireless active member working hard and long to be "someone who really understands" who “ walks the talk” and teaches all of us what the importance of serving others means.

Fellow Ed Kaps Award Winner and mentor Rex Zeiger shares, “I know of no one that did more for the cause of Us TOO than Willie Cotton. He did not know how to hit a golf ball but he knew how to put on a golf tournament if it meant making money to fight prostate cancer. It truly does my heart good to know that at some time in my life I had the opportunity to know a person like Willie. None have been more deserving of the honor.”

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George Melton - Us TOO Peoria

George MeltonIn March of 1993, Ed Kaps and Joe Palmeiri , two of the founders of Us TOO, drove down to Peoria to George and Sara Meltons home for dinner. During dinner they discussed the details of starting the first meeting of the Us TOO Peoria Chapter. They took a drive that evening to Proctor Hospital Business Center and saw the room that their meetings would be held. Seventeen years later, the group still meets at that location, and even in the same room!

George is dedicated to his group and spends much of his time researching what is the latest news in the prostate cancer word, searching for good speakers, meeting with the Board of their group, keeping literature up to date, and spreading awareness in his community through the local news-papers. He also works with the Urologists in the area, and brings them Us TOO Newly Diagnosed Kits so that they can give them to their patients, and to let them know that Us TOO is there for them.

George is active on all the committee functions, and through this has made Us TOO Peoria one of the largest sup-port groups in Central Illinois.

Bill Palos, Regional Director and past member of the Us TOO Board shares “George has been a terrific support for years to his region. He shares ideas with fellow Chapters, attends their meetings, and always invites them to attend when he has a “TOP-NOTCH” speaker scheduled. He shares all the pertinent information about when and where the speaker will talk, and makes sure he sends out notices to everyone in his region."

He is a wonderful example of what “networking with other chapters” is all about. He shares the Us TOO vision and realizes how important networking with others can be. George‟s hard work, and dedication to developing bet-ter communication between all of the Us TOO Groups in Central Illinois has been his biggest success.

Bill also shares, “George is very well known through Central Illinois, and is highly respected and admired. He is one of the guys you can always depend on, always available and willing to share his knowledge, and give advice to other leaders.”

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Henry Plunkett - Us TOO Texoma Chapter

Henry PlunkettOthers share that they are in awe of Henry‟s knowledge of PC in all its aspects. He reads extensively and has an almost total recall. He is so abreast of recent research and developments that he is more current than most physicians. He is so knowledgeable that in their meetings, he and the chapter leader work as a team to interpret some the information so that all the members can understand the facts that are being presented to them. He presents some of the best programs and contributes more than anyone to their group discussions. Henry‟s greatest contribution is in personal counseling. He has been invaluable to our Chapter. Above all, he has a passion for our mission to support men to meet the challenges of PC.

Henry has been an advocate for prostate cancer survivors for over ten years, and has been a beacon of information for many as they faced their own decision‟s of what course to take in dealing with their diagnosis of prostate cancer.

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Craig Schmidt - Chapter Leader Us TOO Fort Mather Memorial Hospital - Port Jefferson, New York

Craig was diagnosed in 1998 with PCa, stage 4, with a PSA of 59.9 and Gleason score of 9. The cancer was already outside the prostate gland and into other parts of his body, but Craig did not let this stop him. Despite his diagnosis, his outlook and focus has always been in the interest to help others. He has been running the group now for seven years

Craig is an extremely dedicated individual who goes out of his way to research PCa and to share this knowledge with anyone concerned.

Craig utilizes every outlet such as the local newspapers to inform new people about their meetings, and encourages them to attend. He and his wife Shirley constantly go to health fairs and other events to inform the public of “how” and “where” to get help.

Craig spends endless hours on the phone to help newly diagnosed men with any information they may need. Craig is always on the go to find a cure! He has been interviewed by the local news channel for his view on our national health care issues for those who are uninsured or have pre-existing conditions. His story aired for a week! Craig‟s support group started out with 6 members and has grown over the years to 72. His support group is the only group on Long Island.

Without Craig and his wife Shirley, our chapter would probably fall apart and disband, shares several members. Although Craig is currently struggling with his own health concerns, he refuses to let it him stop from helping others as much as he possibly can.

We have seen many newly diagnosed men come to the meetings with their wives very confused, scared and not knowing which way to turn. When they leave, a ray of hope shines on their faces!

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Judi Sumoski - Us TOO Lancaster, PA

Judi has been the chapter leader in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, along with her husband Tom for the past 16 years.

When we started to read through the dozens of letters that were sent to recommend Judi for the award..these words and phrases came up repeatedly:

Compassionate, diligent, gracious, competent, supportive, superbly organized, tenacious, insightful, driven, “Skilled Energizer Bunny”, em-pathetic, a “gem." Judi is inspired, but most importantly she is inspiring.

The group in Lancaster is a model for any cancer support group. Judi has added a wives only educational component that enables further education on some of the more sensitive topics that impact their members lives. The Sumoski s maintain an Us, TOO library that is extensive and up to date. Any measure of excellence would support an award for Judi and her husband Tom. Lives are changed because they are here!

Judi is the tireless force behind the Us TOO Lancaster, PA group. She is the embodiment of compassion, caring and concern for others.

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Bill Whitmore - Us TOO Sunderland - Massachusetts

Bill held his first support group meeting on June 4, 1992 at the Newton Wellesley Hospital in Newton Massachusetts. The chapter still meets every month! He still helps to lead this chapter and is also co-leader of the Us TOO Springfield Group.

In Us TOO's 20 year history Bill Whitmore has been one of longest standing leaders of this organization. Bill has a long list of accomplishments and we won't be able to cover all of them this evening, but one of his biggest accomplishments is that he has helped in assisting to establish 14 Us TOO support groups in the state of Massachusetts. He still remains in contact with most of these these groups. From 1995 till 2007, he was the Us TOO New England Regional Director.

Bill Whitmore is one of a kind, free to give his time with one thought in mind and that is to have informed an active leadership with the goal to have a support group that serves the needs of those who turn to other survivors, for we are the ones who understand.

Ed Kaps shares his thoughts about Bill, “Bill Whitmore was a tremendous help and supporter to me and this organization, especially in the beginning years. He helped to promote Us TOO chapters not only in Massachusetts, but in Rhode Island, Maine and New Hampshire.” He truly represents the kind of individual that the Edward C. Kaps Hope Award stands for. “An Outstanding Leader in an Us TOO Support Group Who Has Shown Unselfish, Dedicated Service to Prostate Cancer Survivors and their Families."

Bill continues to give heartfelt support through Us TOO support groups and in individual one on one meetings at his home in Sunderland.

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