Shook, Hardy & Bacon Partner Gene Balloun received the Robert K. Weary Award from the Kansas Bar Foundation for his “exemplary service and commitment to the goals of the Kansas Bar Foundation.” Balloun received the award at the Kansas Bar Association’s Annual Recognition Dinner on June 17.
The award was first given in 2000 and was named after its first recipient, Robert K. Weary, for his decades of service to the community, the Foundation and the legal profession in Kansas. The award recipient is voted on by the Foundation’s Board of Trustees, which includes 28 members.
Balloun was honored with the award for his pro bono work with Kansas and Missouri adoptions. Along with his wife Sheila Wombles, Balloun was a foster parent for almost 30 years. During that time, Balloun and his wife cared for 29 foster children and adopted two.
Not only does Balloun provide pro bono legal advice for the adoption cases, but with the help of Shook, Balloun accepted the state-paid adoption fees and used them to establish a scholarship fund for foster and adoptive children. He has completed more than 1,000 pro bono adoptions, and the scholarship fund has awarded more than 500 scholarships, totaling over $625,000.
Balloun’s pro bono adoption work was covered by the Kansas City Star earlier this year.