Truman Heartland Community Foundation is pleased to present this year’s Citizen of the Year honorees, selected by area mayors. The recipients will be recognized at the Community Foundation’s 23rd annual Toast to our Towns Gala on Saturday, September 29, 2018 at the Sheraton Kansas City Hotel at Crown Center.
These community members have used their skills, abilities and positions to promote the wellbeing of their communities. While their areas of impact are varied, all the honorees are united by a common goal, to improve the lives of their fellow citizens, and a common desire to help improve and enrich the communities in our area.
Mayor Carson Ross, City of Blue Springs, recognizes The Cosentino Family
With over 30 grocery stores in the Kansas City area – and two in Blue Springs – the Cosentino Family has been investing in the community for more than 70 years.
Cosentino’s Food Stores began serving the Kansas City area in 1948, when the Cosentino Brothers opened a small store at 43rd and Blue Ridge on the East side of Kansas City. Through hard work, dedication and sacrifice, they saw the business slowly grow. Today, the company is led by the second generation of Cosentino’s with many of the third generation involved in the daily store operations.
It is not just their business model and a commitment to customers that contributes to their success. Since the first Blue Springs Cosentino’s Price Chopper opened, the Cosentino Family has been a supportive and generous community partner for the City of Blue Springs. In 2017, the Cosentinos relocated their South Blue Springs Price Chopper location to the former White Oak Marketplace, transforming what had previously been a visual eyesore in the community into one of the cities crown jewels.
The Cosentinos make it their mission to give back to the communities they serve. They provide support to countless local organizations, school districts, public services, and community events with donations and fundraising activities – including providing food and beverages each year for the annual Mayor’s Tree Lighting among other activities that directly support the Blue Springs community. Additionally, the family has set up the Cosentino’s Charity Foundation, which raises money to provide food products to churches and food pantries in the area.
Mayor Mike Todd, City of Grain Valley, recognizes Jim Kissick
Jim Kissick’s generosity and concern for community expands far beyond the borders of Grain Valley. He is the President of Kissick Construction and a fourth generation Kissick in the business. Kissick Construction volunteered to be part of a project in Kansas City in which the company assisted in the demolition of more than 75 unstable and dangerous, abandoned homes. Kissick Construction helped change the face of Main Street in Grain Valley in recent years by redeveloping buildings and making significant investments in properties in the area. The impact that Jim and his company have had on the economic development in Grain Valley is beyond measure.
In addition to the investments and improvements he has made to properties throughout the community, he supports economic development by donating office space to the Grain Valley Partnership (a combined effort of the former Economic Development Corporation and Chamber of Commerce). Jim Kissick has assisted the City in prepping the land at Sni-A-Bar Farm serving as controller of the site intended for the construction of the new Mid-Continent Library. He has coordinated an engineered fill to create a shovel-ready site upon the completion of the project.
Jim is an active supporter of the Grain Valley School District Foundation Scholarship fund, the NAIA small college basketball tournament held in Kansas City each March, and for the past 10 years, MU Tiger football and basketball radio broadcasts in the KC area. Jim has served on numerous boards in the Kansas City area, including 17 years with St. Teresa’s Academy and the Heavy Constructors Association. He is currently the President of the National Utility Contractors Association.
Mayor Eileen Weir, City of Independence, recognizes Dave and Connie Mayta
Over the course of their 31-year marriage, Dave and Connie Mayta have become philanthropic staples of the Independence Community. The pair met while volunteering at People for Animal Welfare Society (PAWS) in 1985 and have both continued to lend their time, talent, and treasure to numerous nonprofits and organizations through the Independence community.
Dave volunteered for PAWS for 38 years and acted as President and Treasurer until its closure in 2013. He was on the Board of Trustees for the Kansas City Public Library for 17 years, serving on the Operations Committee, Building Oversight Committee, and Chair of the Audit and Finance Committee. He currently serves on the Powerhouse Theatre Foundation and the Citizen’s Civic and Cultural Committee boards.
Connie volunteered for PAWS for 28 years acting as Secretary, Program Director and Vice President. She co-chaired the PAWS major fundraiser Pets ‘N’ All That Jazz for 10 years. She was Secretary of the Independence Symphony Alliance and the Korte Site Council. Connie is Secretary for the Citizen’s Civic and Cultural Committee and assists with the Youth Art Show. Recently, she helped organize and promote clean-up efforts of Rock Creek in Rotary Park and Hill Park.
The Maytas are life members of the Vaile Victorian Society, Bingham Waggoner Historical Society, Friends of the Chicago & Alton Depot, City Theater of Independence, Jackson County Historical Society, and Friends of the National Frontier Trails Museum. Dave and Connie have also produced 17 plays for City Theatre of Independence.
Dave and Connie support the Salvation Army, Community Services League, Great Plains SPCA, Animals Best Friends, Pet Connection, Chain of Hope, Humane Society of Greater Kansas City, Friends of Lakeside Nature Center, Truman Library Institute, Puppetry Arts Institute, Encore Theater, and Children’s Performing Theater and others.
Mayor Bill Baird, City of Lee’s Summit, recognizes Rod Handley
Rod Handley has been an invaluable member of the Lee’s Summit community over the last twenty years. Handley served as senior vice president and chief operating officer/chief financial officer for the Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA) from 1989 until his departure in May 2000 to form Character That Counts, a nonprofit committed to communicating, serving and training others on character and accountability topics. He is the co-founder of Teaching Guys Infinite Wisdom (TGIW), that began in Lee’s Summit 17 years ago as a men’s bible study and has expanded to cities nationwide. Handley was instrumental in developing the character initiative in Lee’s Summit. As part of the group that brought the Community of Character program to Lee’s Summit, he helped organize the first Mayor’s Character Breakfast in 2004 and served as the keynote speaker.
Handley holds the unique position of character coach for the Lee’s Summit North and Lee’s Summit West high school football teams. He is a well-known fixture on the sideline of every football game providing support to players as needed. His priority is motivating and guiding the young athletes, teaching them how to conduct themselves with character and integrity.
Handley’s faith is the cornerstone of his work. As an ordained minister, he has served as chaplain for several collegiate and professional sports team including the Kansas City Royals. Handley volunteers countless hours with his church, Abundant Life. Recently, he was part of a team of over 300 volunteers who donated 6,000 hours working cleanup at the conclusion of Downtown Days.
Mayor Michael McDonough, City of Raytown, recognizes DeeAnn Stock
DeeAnn Stock and husband Ken have lived in the City of Raytown for 34 years. Active in many city committees, she has served for 19 years on the Raytown Planning and Zoning Commission, holding the office of Secretary. She served as a Raytown Area Chamber of Commerce Board member from 2000-2006, and continues to be an active member of the Governmental Affairs Committee. She respects the importance of elected officials and having information of actions in the city, county, and state. She has been a member of the South Kansas City Chamber, Lee’s Summit Chamber and has served on their Legislative and Governmental Affairs Committees.
On July 6, DeeAnn retired from her role as Executive Director of Southeast Enterprises, a sheltered workshop providing challenging work opportunities for Jackson County adults with developmental disabilities. In March 1976, she started at the workshop and quickly became the Executive Director, a position she held for 42 years. During her time as Executive Director, she grew the Workshop from 33 to 152 employees in 2018, with the largest number of 171 a few years ago.
In addition to serving on city committees, DeeAnn was named the 2002-2003 Missouri Woman Leader of the Year after being nominated by the Raytown Women of Today organization. DeeAnn has supported Raytown School District students in YouthFriends, Reading Across America, Partners in Education, and Project Planet Earth One of the first women in Raytown Rotary Club, DeeAnn has served on the Board of Directors as Chair of many committees since 1993. She was treasurer for three years and president in 2004-2005. Currently, her role as Rotary International Chair has inspired her to search for ways the local club can help people in other countries.
Mayor Mike Larson, City of Sugar Creek, recognizes Don and Mary Puhr
Don and Mary Puhr are lifelong residents of Sugar Creek who have spent the last 48 years of their marriage giving back to their community. Don and Mary participate in numerous volunteer organizations such as the United Eastern Democrats Association and are members of National Association of Retired & Veteran Railway Employees, Inc. (NARVE).
Don received his rank of Eagle with the Boy Scouts of America Troop 221 and was a committee member for Troop 178. Don is a member of the American Legion Post 21 and is a United Transportation Union (UTU) Alumnus. Mary serves on the City of Sugar Creek Parks and Recreation Advisory Board and is a member of the Sugar Creek Business and Civic Club. She is a member of the Mary Paxton study class, the Diocesan Council of Catholic Women and the Auxiliary of UTU 933.
Both Don and Mary are members of St. Cyril’s Catholic Church in Sugar Creek. Don provides the maintenance and lawn care for the church and Mary the secretarial and bookwork for the parish. In 2014 they received the Bishop Recognition Award from the Diocese of Kansas City – St. Joseph recognizing their commitment and service within the diocese. Mary received an award for her service and contribution to St. Mary’s High School.
On May 14, 2012, Don and Mary received a Declaration from Lieutenant Governor Peter Kinder honoring Missouri seniors who exemplify service and citizenship by giving back to the community of Sugar Creek through volunteerism.
Mayor Tom Goddard, City of Lake Tapawingo, recognizes Rocky Queen
Rocky Queen began his service to the Lake Tapawingo community in 2001 as a Lake Tapawingo police officer for eight years. In 2000, Rocky married Gena “Barrett” Queen and they moved to the Lake where Gena grew up in 2003. In 2009, Rocky was elected Mayor and served in that role until 2017. Gena and Rocky both currently serve on the Lake Tapwingo Country Club Board. They have two busy teens at home, Hunter and Lilly, and two adult children, Payton and Montana.
Rocky served on the City Council and is a perennial volunteer at a Sportsman’s Club events. He donated funds to help furloughed employees when cuts had to be made. Rocky also took on and won the battle over fixed price water rates that will end up saving the city millions of dollars over time and spoke at numerous house gatherings to explain to lake residents why it was critical they vote for a bond issue (that passed by 87%), which allowed the city to complete replacement of the water system and get the city’s financials in order. Rocky led the city to annex adjacent roadways so the city police officers can keep Lake Tapawingo safe and donated concrete, labor and the flag poles on the dam to honor our veterans and country.
In 2009 Rocky went to work full time for lnTech Construction and learned the concrete business from the ground up. In 2015 he purchased the company and changed the name to Epic Concrete Construction that serves the KC area.
The 2018 Toast to Our Towns Gala is presented by Centerpoint Medical Center and benefits Truman Heartland Community Foundation. Stewardship Capital will host the cocktail reception and CommunityAmerica Credit Union will host the Mix, Mingle, and Music after-party. A private reception sponsored by GEHA for the Citizens of the Year will be held on Thursday, September 6, 2018.
Additional support is provided by Blue Ridge Bank and Trust Co; Community of Christ; DSI; Dunn Family Foundation; Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation; Humphrey, Farrington, & McClain; Northrop Grunman; and Saint Luke’s East Hospital.
The Toast to Our Towns Gala will be held on September 29, 2018 at 6:00 p.m. at the Sheraton Kansas City Hotel at Crown Center. Tickets for the Gala can be purchased on their website at www.thcf.org/Gala.
Truman Heartland Community Foundation (THCF) is a public charity committed to improving area communities by promoting and serving private giving for the public good. Founded in 1982, THCF serves the region with assets of more than $45 million and annual grants surpassing $3 million. THCF serves individuals who, through their private giving, wish to support the public good and helps them do it in the most tax-wise and effective manner. Through the Community Foundation, donors can set up their own family foundations, scholarship funds, field of interest funds, endowment funds, charitable gift annuities and many other charitable vehicles, which utilize shared resources of the Foundation to maximize the impact of their philanthropic dollars. In addition to donor services, the Community Foundation provides asset development for nonprofit organizations, awards grants to nonprofits, assists organizations in planned giving and serves as a leader in addressing community issues. For more information on charitable giving, visit www.thcf.org or call THCF at 816.836.8189.