In 2011, Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer affirmed his belief in the power of kindness when he signed a resolution to make Louisville an international Compassionate City – the largest city in America with that distinction. In 2014, Barbara and Ray Montgomery demonstrated their own commitment to recognizing and rewarding compassion by establishing the Compassionate Community Caregiver Award at Bellarmine.
The award is designed to recognize Doctor of Physical Therapy students from the Lansing School of Nursing and Health Sciences who provide outstanding care to those in need and consistently exhibit the professional core values of accountability, altruism, compassion/caring, excellence, integrity, professional duty, and social responsibility.
The Montgomerys hope to increase public awareness of the important role that caregivers play in the lives of individuals who may not need extensive medical or nursing care, but do need some supervision or minimal assistance with daily activities to improve their quality of life and that of their families.
“I liked the concept of linking the award with the idea of the Compassionate City,” Barbara said. “Louisville is an extraordinary place to live, with the quality of people here. The first recipient, Sean Beard, who provided in-home care to a Louisville couple, certainly fit that category.” The second recipient, Patrick Fleming, served as the primary caregiver for his father before his father’s passing.
Under the guidelines of the award, the university has the discretion to offer an award to one student or multiple students. The recipient(s) should be responsible and possess excellent communication skills and respect each person as a unique individual. The award is intended to be given each year, but that is left to the discretion of the chair of the Doctor of Physical Therapy Program based on the student selection pool. The funds may be used for tuition and mandatory fees.
Barbara and Ray welcome gifts from the public to grow the fund. “In the practice of physical therapy, it is important to have compassion,” Barbara said. “Therapists will encounter all kinds of incapacities, and they will need a compassionate attitude to help the healing.”
The Compassionate Community Caregiver Award is the Montgomerys’ second such fund at Bellarmine. In 2009 they established the Barbara and Ray Montgomery Endowed Scholarship, an award for a junior or senior based both on merit and financial need.
The couple has a long association with Bellarmine. They were married in 1950, the year the university was founded, and lived just blocks away from campus. Ray’s uncle, the Rev. Henry B. Schuhmann, headed the first development office and provided early leadership in the School of Business, and Ray and Barbara formed friendships with Msgr. Horrigan, Msgr. Treece, Fr. John Loftus and Fr. Hilary Gottbrath. Barbara was president of the Bellarmine Women’s Council from 1973-75 and member of the Bellarmine University Board of Trustees from 1979-87. Ray has served on the Board of Overseers. The Montgomerys have also supported Bellarmine through their longtime membership in the President’s Society, for which Ray was a previous chairman.