The Park Hill School District inducted three alumni into its Park Hill Alumni Hall of Fame this year: Helmut Derra, Park Hill High School class of 1982; Dr. Robert W. Gereau IV, PHHS class of 1987; and Donice Mahan, PHHS class of 1981.
The district also honored a Park Hill Business of the Year, Saint Luke’s North Hospital; a Park Hill Partner of the Year, Miles of Smiles; and the Super Booster of the Year, Paul Gault.
Hall of Fame Honorees:
Helmut Derra earned the U.S. Army’s Bronze Star for exemplary service during Desert Storm. Derra also helps students in the Northland Center for Advanced Professional Studies program gain professional experience through his manufacturing employer, Haldex, where he is the director of operations and is responsible for the remanufacturing business in all of North America.
Dr. Robert W. Gereau IV, is director of the Washington University Pain Management Center, which provides advanced treatments for patients and conducts research to find new ways to reverse chronic pain. He received the National Institute for Health director’s transformative research award for his work on opto-genetics, the Washington University Outstanding Faculty Mentor Award, and the Frederick Kerr Basic Science Research Award from the American Pain Society.
Donice Mahan, director of Hillcrest Platte County, has helped more than 500 local families go from being homeless to independently providing for their families. Through Hillcrest’s Blessings Ministry, she has helped more than 100 people avoid eviction. Earlier in her career, she worked in sales and consulting, ranking among the top consultants in the country for her work for Applied Learning.
Business of the Year:
Saint Luke’s has supported the Park Hill Education Foundation for years, and the hospital is an important partner for the Park Hill Professional Studies program. Thanks to Saint Luke’s, this program gives students a first-hand, hands-on perspective of the health care field.
Partner of the Year:
Miles of Smiles provides care to kids who are uninsured or do not have access to oral health services, giving students dental exams, teeth cleanings and X-rays during the school day at their schools. In the last twelve months, Miles of Smiles dentists and assistants treated more than 600 students in the Park Hill School District for a total of 1,655 chair visits. The cost of the care provided to these children is worth about $150,000.
Gault has been a council member for the Park Hill Education Foundation since 2001, and he has served as the board’s treasurer since 2008. Paul developed a new accounting system, and he oversees the Foundation’s endowments. He is also active in the community, supporting Park University and the Parkville Presbyterian Church.
The district also honored several students who received national awards last year.