KENNEWICK -- Two longtime supporters of Kennewick General Hospital will be honored at the hospital's largest fundraising event of the year.
Leland and Nancy Kerr received multiple nominations from community members and were chosen unanimously by the selection committee, said Mandy Wallner of the KGH Foundation.
"We were totally surprised and absolutely thrilled," Nancy Kerr said. "Supporting Kennewick General Hospital is a very important part of our family culture."
Leland's father was one of the first physicians at KGH, and his parents helped establish the hospital in 1952.
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The formal tribute is scheduled for Oct. 8 at the Three Rivers Convention Center in Kennewick.
The Kerrs married 41 years ago and raised their four children in Kennewick.
Leland is a local attorney and has practiced law in the Tri-Cities for nearly 37 years. He served as legal counsel for the hospital early in his career and was part of a KGH levy committee in 2007.
Nancy is known for her efforts to further children's literacy and is the international president of the Children's Reading Foundation.
She also helped establish a "Books for Babies" program and the Family Reading Room at KGH.
"This was an opportunity for me to merge my work in early literacy and education with my commitment to health care," she said.
She was named the Kennewick Woman of the Year in 1996 and the Pasco-Kennewick Soroptimist Woman of Distinction in 2003.
She also is a former teacher and former member of the Kennewick School Board.
Tickets to KGH's Gala D'Vine are $100, and the event is open to the public.
The annual event was founded in 2005 as a way to spotlight individuals dedicated to improving the hospital and surrounding community.
The Kerrs will be presented with a scrapbook filled with letters of appreciation from friends and family, as well as photos from their years of involvement with the hospital and community.
The KGH Foundation raised $180,000 during last year's gala and hopes to raise at least $100,000 this year, Wallner said.
The money likely will be spent on hospital equipment, though the foundation hasn't isolated what specific department the money will be directed to, Wallner said.
As of Thursday there were 550 seats available, and the event is expected to sell out this year.
The "Black and White Ball" includes dinner, live and silent auctions, live music and wine sampling.
* Herald intern Brier Gabriel can be reached at 360-754-4225