In conjunction with Apple Day, three were recognized with the Dr. Ralf J. Thomas Distinguished Service Award by the Pittsburg State University Alumni Association.

Dr. Richard Peterson, of Langdon Lane Animal Hospital, donated his services to PSU Nature Reach from its inception in 1985 until Fall 2017, when he retired and closed his practice.

Without the donation of his services to that program, countless birds of prey and other wildlife would not have survived, nor would Nature Reach still be in existence. Peterson is the son of a PSU alumna. Peterson also was active in several civic organizations.

Frank Naccarato (BS ‘72, MA ‘94), served as a volunteer assistant football coach at Pittsburg State from 1992 until 2014, putting in 23,000 hours. He helped the Gorillas reach four trips to the NCAA Division II National Championship Game.

As the head football coach at Galena High School from 1981-91, he led GHS to a pair of league titles, three district championships and a bi-district championship.

Dr. Mindi Garner (BS ‘94, MBA ‘14) is a board-certified physician of internal medicine who has contributed to the premedical program at Pittsburg State. She sponsors Premeds with Promise, which provides early clinical exposure to premed majors and she orchestrated a symposium of speakers from insurance companies, hospitals, electronic medical records, and IT departments.

She operates the only completely paperless electronic medical record office in the area, has a satellite clinic in Girard, Kansas, and retains active medical staff privileges at Via Christi Hospital in Pittsburg and Girard Medical Center.