PALMETTO -- The theme of the eighth annual Edgar H. Price Jr. Lifetime Achievement Awards on Thursday night was: "A Lifetime of Caring." Many said the award winners were an especially good fit for the theme.
"Who better personifies a lifetime of caring than Drs. Mona and Anila Jain?" asked Walter "Mickey" Presha, president and chief executive officer of Manatee County Rural Health Services, which honored the energetic Jain mother-daughter team.
Each year, the MCR Health Service Foundation banquet fundraiser bestows grants to needy patients and honors a person in the community who made a difference through leadership, community, involvement and philanthropy, Presha said.
This year, as 600 attended the event at the Bradenton Area Convention Center, the dual winners gave the award night a family feeling.
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"We selected Mona and Anila because of their tireless efforts in giving back to the community." Presha said.
Mona Jain and Anila Jain are physicians and medical consultants with more than 80 years combined experience, Presha added.
Mona Jain, who turns 79 on Thursday and whose home country is India, is retired as director of family health services for the Manatee County Head Start.
Jain, who came to the Manatee area in 1964 and will celebrate her 58th wedding anniversary Oct. 20, has also served on many commissions, which value her wit and insight, friends said.
Daughter Anila Jain is an internist who travels around the world as a consultant and advocate.
"They are a rare combination of values and abilities and I am always touched by their sensitivity and humility," family friend Dr. George Thomas said on a video shown to the crowd.
Mona Jain's love for Manatee County came through in her acceptance speech.
"What makes this award really great is that it was given right in our own hometown," Jain said. "Manatee County is the best county in the country and the world."
To show the depth of Mona Jain's involvement in the fabric of Manatee County life, she was on the search committee decades ago that found Sarah Pappas, who became a much revered president of what was then Manatee Community College and is now State College of Florida.
"Mom is a people person," Anila Jain said. "There has never been a person she didn't like. She is always involved and will never say: 'No.' I think I get my traits from her."
"What comes to mind is their acts of kindness," Diana Michel said on the video. "The spirit in which they live every day is intent on making the world a better place."
Also at the banquet:
Anya Groulx, 10, couldn't be on hand at last year's banquet to receive a $10,000 grant because she was going through a heart transplant in Gainesville. She and her two siblings each got bikes Thursday courtesy of the MCR Health Services Foundation.
Community Center for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing in Sarasota County received $5,000 of the $12,500 in grant money dispensed to needy patients, said Nathan Kneser of MCR Health Services.
Richard Dymond, Herald reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7072 or contact him via Twitter@RichardDymond.