PIKEVILLE — The Southeast Kentucky Chamber of Commerce honored the life work of Pamela Todd May with the 2017 Lon B. and Mary Evelyn Rogers Lifetime Achievement Award on August 17.
"This award is presented to an eastern Kentuckian who spent years of their life striving to make east Kentucky a better place," said Chamber President Jordan Gibson. "Pamela Todd May certainly merits our highest recognition. Not only was her love for the region complete, but she truly made a lasting significant impact, creating change and progress in the region."
The award was presented posthumously at the Chamber's 60th Annual Awards Banquet held in Pikeville. May passed away May 14.
Throughout her life, Pamela Todd May changed lives through her dedication to the practice of law, public service and advocacy for the vulnerable and less fortunate.
"Pam was a remarkable attorney who was devoted to helping others through the practice of law," said Pikeville Medical Center President and CEO Walter E. May. "She was a leader who impacted many programs and services in Kentucky and it is fitting the Southeast Kentucky Chamber of Commerce honored her with this award. She truly worked to improve our world."
Of the great many Kentuckians who have praised Pamela Todd May for her kindness and life work, Gov. Matt Bevin reflected with respect and admiration.
"Her heart, her intellect, her passion for this community and her ability to apply herself as she did for the service to others, there are very few people like her in the world, " said Gov. Bevin.
After graduating from University of Kentucky College of Law in 1978, May worked as an assistant Pike County Attorney and practiced law with the firm of Stratton, May and Hays where she was a partner. In 1993, she founded and operated Pam May Law Firm, now the East Kentucky Law Group, one of the most respected law firms in the state.
May's remarkable work ethic and commitment to others was not lost on other Kentucky leaders.
"She was well respected in Pikeville and around the Commonwealth for her work in the legal community," said U.S. Senator Mitch McConnell. "Pam dedicated her talents to Pikeville Medical Center and the University of Kentucky, two institutions that will miss her skill and dedication."
May served as Pikeville Medical Center Chief Legal Counsel for 31 years and served for 12 years on University of Kentucky Board of Trustees. An author to Kentucky Health Law, she was a tremendous influence for women in law and was recognized by the Women's Law Caucus for her outstanding contributions.
Among May's lifetime of service to Kentucky, she served as president of the Pike County Bar Association, was a member of the Kentucky Academy of Hospital Attorneys, the American Health Lawyers Association, the Physician/Attorney Liaison Committee of the Kentucky Medical Society, and the Steering Committee for the Health Care Section of the Kentucky Bar Association.
Pamela Todd May's advocacy to improve the lives of Kentuckians can also be found in innumerable examples throughout her remarkable career.
When she represented individuals after the decision by the Social Security Administration to terminate the benefits of 900 people, Pam worked with Pikeville Medical Center to provide those affected with free medical records and counsel.
She organized a seminar at the University of Kentucky Law School to train volunteer lawyers in representation of 1,500 individuals who had lost or were threatened to lose their benefits.
In addition, May provided training to volunteer lawyers to obtain and utilize medical records and volunteered East Kentucky Law Group to represent a number of the affected individuals.
Another example of her dedication and resilience occurred one Christmas when she helped a family that had nearly lost everything.
"Their power and water was disconnected," said East Kentucky Law Group Office Manager Jackie Coleman. "They had no food, no gifts for their children. Pam did not stop until they had food, gifts, power and water reconnected. It seemed that this could not be accomplished, but if she decided to do something, she would not stop until the mission was finished."
Given her charitable spirit and vast accomplishments throughout her life, Pamela Todd May was selected for this year's award named in honor of Lon B. and Mary Evelyn Rogers. Mary Evelyn Rogers lived by the simple philosophy "Bloom where you're planted."
Through their efforts in the field of education and health the Rogers helped to ensure others had a chance to bloom as did Pamela Todd May, who was the 23rd recipient of the lifetime achievement award. Along with her husband Walter E. May, who was the 14th recipient in 2008, they are only the second couple to have earned the distinction following Dr. John and JoAnn Strosnider in 2007.
"We are exceptionally proud to dedicate this year's lifetime achievement award to Pamela Todd May," said Gibson. "She was a pillar of our society and was exemplary in all that she accomplished in helping others in the region. Kentucky will long remember Pam as a champion for the Commonwealth."
— Story courtesy of the Southeast Kentucky Chamber of Commerce