Kansas Sampler Foundation announced the 25th annual We Kan! May 6 at the final Kansas Sampler Festival in Winfield. Ten people received the awards, including Roxie Yonkey, Sherman County Convention and Visitors Bureau’s (ShCVB) Public Relations Manager. The foundation presents the awards as appreciation for dedicated work in helping preserve and sustain rural culture. The awards have no application process. The Foundation chooses recipients who have a cooperative spirit, show enthusiasm and dedication for their community, and whose efforts have made a real difference in rural Kansas.
Foundation director Marci Penner said, “Each year it is our pleasure to recognize 10 unsuspecting people who do a great deal to keep our state moving forward. In their own unique way, each of these people has made a difference in rural life and it is our honor to recognize them.
“Over the years, Roxie has done a great deal in superior fashion to promote not only Sherman County, but all of Northwest Kansas,” Penner said. “She is an asset to Sherman County in ways that can’t be seen. If you know her and listen to her talk about the county, you understand that she is award-winning.”
“’Unsuspecting’ is a good word,” Yonkey said. “I had no idea. To receive it at the final Sampler Festival made it all the more special.”
Elk Falls Pottery makes the award plates. “Having a custom-made plate with my name on it and my customized award title is so extraordinary,” Yonkey said.
“Roxie has done an amazing job in helping to market Sherman County and our region,” ShCVB Executive Director Donna Price said. “She is unassuming and quietly – with true diligence – helps to promote Sherman County in many progressive ways.”
Three people from Goodland have received We Kan! Awards
Yonkey is the third person from Goodland to receive the award. Price received hers in 2004 for “Being the Glue”. ShCVB is the only office to have multiple We Kan! Award winners.
Tiffani Kirk McMinn, then Sherman County Economic Development Director, received hers in 2006 for “Enthusiasm for the Region.” McMinn now lives in the Houston area and still works in the economic development field.
2017’s We Kan! Award winners
The recipients for 2017 are: Rosanna Bauman, Farming the Future, Bauman’s Cedar Valley Farms, Garnett; Community of Winfield, Bringing Kansas Together 2016-2017; Kristi Lee, Making Things Happen, Leavenworth Convention and Visitors Bureau; Chris McCord, Shining Light on the Underground, Historic Wolf Hotel, Ellinwood; Julie Mulvihill, Connecting Communities, Kansas Humanities, Topeka; Jayne Pearce, Making Wallace County Historic, Fort Wallace Museum, Wallace; Jacque Pregont, Attentive to Atchison, Atchison Chamber of Commerce; Kathy Richardson, Making Ad Hoc Into an Art Form, Small World Gallery, Lindsborg; Len Schamber, Preserving Kansas, a la Len, Schamber Historic Preservation, Damar; Yonkey, Complementing Sherman Co., Sherman County Convention and Visitors Bureau, Goodland.
Kansas Sampler Foundation has a list of all We Kan! award winners since 1993.