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Health care nonprofit founder chosen as 2018 Humanitarian

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Dr. Tricia Derges, founder of Springfield nonprofit Lift Up Someone Today, was selected as the recipient of the 2018 Humanitarian Award.

A Springfield Area Chamber of Commerce committee chose Derges to be honored Dec. 18 at a luncheon hosted by Community Foundation of the Ozarks at the Darr Agricultural Center’s Bond Learning Center, according to a news release.

Derges, who began medical school at 52 years old, observed patients who could not pay for medical services even with clinics in the area utilizing sliding-scale fees. After a medical mission trip to Nicaragua, she returned to start Lift Up Someone Today.

Launched in 2014, the nonprofit opened a low-fee clinic in Springfield in January 2016, followed by the transition to a larger facility at 2005 E. Kearney St. earlier this year. With additional clinics in Ozark and Branson, Lift Up Someone Today has provided services to some 18,000 individuals, according to the release.

Lift Up Someone Today, according to its website, provides medical and dental services with a mission “dedicated to the care of our poverty-stricken and homeless neighbors.”

Derges also is a previous honoree for Springfield Business Journal’s Most Influential Women.

As the Humanitarian Award winner, Derges will be awarded a $5,000 cash reward, which traditionally has been donated to one or more charities of the honoree’s choice, according to the release.

Last year, Dr. David and Linda Brown of The Gathering Tree and Eden Village were chosen for the Humanitarian Award. Other previous honorees include Kurt Larson, who founded the Safe and Sober Prom Night campaign, retired Care to Learn Executive Director Morey Mechlin and Askinosie Chocolate founder Shawn Askinosie.

The Humanitarian Award was founded in 1990 by late Springfield philanthropist Jewell Thompson Schweitzer. She died in April, according to the release.

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