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Dr. Merlynn Colip

Year of Award: 
Valley Hope

Dr. Merilynn “Lynn” Colip was born and raised in rural Norton County, Kansas. After high school, he graduated from the University of Kansas in 1957 and from the KU School of Medicine in 1961. He began practice as a family physician in Norton in 1962 after completing his internship in Iowa. He married Joan Eubank, also a KU graduate, in 1957. They have four children (three daughters and one son), 14 grandchildren and seven great grandchildren. Lynn has dedicated his life to Valley Hope and the mission to provide compassionate, high-quality addiction treatment. He helped develop “The Valley Hope Way,” based on the principles of love, compassion, understanding, faith and hope. 

Valley Hope would not exist today without Lynn’s vision and dedication to bringing alcohol addiction treatment to rural northwest Kansas in 1967, just a few years after beginning his family practice. It was at a bowling alley where Lynn and a pastor, Bob Adams, developed the idea of an addiction treatment center after sharing a mutual concern for community members who were struggling with alcoholism. This was a ground-breaking idea in the 1960s, and Lynn and Bob faced many obstacles to realize their goal. Lynn would say that Valley Hope was based on “hope.” Today, that hope represents a nationally recognized alcohol and drug treatment organization with 16 facilities in seven states having helped more than 308,000 individuals suffering from addiction. 

After practicing medicine for 38 years, he retired in 2000. He spearheaded an effort to develop a community hospital in Woodland Park, Colorado, with the Pikes Peak Regional Hospital opening in 2009. As a member of the Valley Hope Board of Directors, Lynn is a leader in efforts to raise money, support and awareness for the organization. He also is a charter member of the 1967 Circle, Valley Hope’s planned giving society, which provides important patient and organizational support to Valley Hope. Throughout the years, he and his wife also have been involved with Christian Medical and Dental Association. They have been long time members of the Norton Christian Church, where Lynn has served as deacon, elder and trustee.