Don (Red Dog) Gardner
Founder, Red Dog Days, Police Officer
Lawrence High School
Don "Red Dog" Gardner and Jim "Punkin"' O'Connell started Red Dog's Dog Days in the summer of 1984 as a fitness program designed to help prepare the Lawrence High School football team for their fall season. What started with only a handful of football athletes then spread to include the school's volleyball players, other sports, athletes' parents and siblings, and more. Since then, Red Dog's Dog Days has grown and transformed into a community workout for all ages, with Lawrence High School and Free State High School athletes still an important focus. With the assistance of Red Dog's wife, Beverly, and a small army of dedicated helpers, the program continues to flourish. Thousands of people participate each year and that number keeps growing.
Throughout the years, Red Dog's Dog days has remained free for anyone who wishes to participate. Everyone is invited, regardless of your fitness level or athletic background.
Throughout the years, Don "Red Dog" Gardner has been recognized many times for his ongoing commitment to the Lawrence community and physical fitness.
1989- Optimist of the Year - Breakfast Optimists
1989 Friends of Education Award - USO 497
1989- Certificate of Outstanding Citizen of the Year - USO 497
1990- Testimonial of Appreciation - Breakfast Optimists
1993 Liberty Bell Award - Douglas County Lawyers Association
1994 Public Servant Award - KSBA Hall of Fame
1996 Heroes Award for the State of Kansas - SGMA (Sporting Goods Manufacturers Association)
1996 Top Ten in the Nation finalist- SGMA Heroes
2000 Sportsman of the year - David Lawrence Sports Talk - KLWN/KLZR
2002 Lawrence Lions Alumni Association Hall of Honor
2003 Outstanding Contribution to Lawrence Athletics - David Lawrence Sports Talk - KLWN/KLZR
2005 Don Volker Leadership Award - Chamber of Commerce
2006 Hometown Health Hero - Governor's Council on Fitness
2007 Silent Hero Award - Ballard Community Center
2008 Star of Excellence Award - Lawrence Bank
2010 Seaver Award for community service - Senior Center
2010 President's Council on Fitness, Sports and Nutrition Community Leadership Award (one of only 28 such awards for 2010