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2013 Spotlight Gala Awards- Lifetime Achievement

The 2013 Spotlight Gala shines a spotlight on those who work to improve the lives of children and families through the presentation of the Spotlight Awards.  

I won’t give you Dr. Tom Tonniges’ resume, his extensive list of accomplishments, because frankly—it is too long for a blog post.  What I will do is paint you a picture of who he is.  When Tom walks into a room, you know he is on a mission.  He greets you with a bright smile and doesn’t let you leave until he gives you your next task to improve this world.

If you are a single mother who is trying desperately to care for your child’s health needs, he will tell you exactly what to do to comfort and treat your child.

If you are a child separated from your parents and struggling to find your footing, he will help you find solid ground to stand on.

If you are a nonprofit executive director, he will ask “how are we doing?” and leave you with ideas, a check, and next steps to make your mission a reality.

If you are a policy maker, he will, in a not-so-shy way, tell you exactly what law you need to pass to help Nebraska’s kids.

Dr. Tonniges in 1993 testifying before the President’s Task Force on Health Care Reform

If you were First Lady Hillary Clinton in 1993, he will advise you in no uncertain terms what children in this country need to grow up healthy and strong.

What I have learned from Dr. Tonniges is to never stop believing that outcomes can be improved and we can always do more.  When I met Tom, my first thought was that if Voices for Children has supporters like this, big things are possible for Nebraska’s kids!

There are hundreds of Voices for Children supporters joining us to honor Dr. Tonniges at the Spotlight Gala.  Pediatricians, Nebraska nonprofit organizations, elected officials, hospitals, and foundations have all signed up to show their gratitude to Tom for his lifetime of work.

Tom, we can’t wait to see your face light up when you walk into the packed ballroom at the Spotlight Gala.  More importantly, we can’t wait to share your message and inspire the room with your story.  Your award video will give insight into your accomplishments and your impact. It’s our turn to show you how you have made this world a better place.


Help us celebrate Dr. Tonniges by attending the 2013 Spotlight Gala on Saturday, September 21! Interested in sponsoring our event? Visit our sponsorship page to see our amazing supporters and learn more about how you can become a sponsor.  If you can’t come in person, you have the opportunity to make a donation in honor of Dr. Tonniges here.


Thank you to taking the time to share!


  1. REPLY
    Jackie Fitzgerald nee Schlimmer says

    Dr. Tom became my physician when I was 8 or 9. Not only did he immediately begin to help my asthma but he put my mother and I at ease. Until we met Dr. Tom, my condition was very scary, and somehow he changed all that. Throughout my adolescence, his bright and shining smile was always a calming comfort. He even kept me on as a patient long after he should have. When the time came for me to give birth to my son, by the grace of God, Dr. Tom was once again there. My boy had to be delivered by C-Section and had swallowed meconium which meant for a much longer stay at birth than usual. I hating leaving the hospital without him, but was at ease because Dr. Tom was there. And for the rest of my life I shall never forget the day he phoned me and asked me “Would you like to take your son home today?” My son is now 21 and had wonderful care given by Dr. Kenneth Zoucha.
    I am saddened to hear that Dr. Tom has lost his ability to speak, because his voice changes lives. I can still hear it though and I am positive there are many more out there just like me.

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