We Kan!

What are We Kan! Awards?

The Kansas Sampler Foundation presents ten We Kan! awards every year. 

They are presented to individuals or organizations that have made outstanding efforts to help preserve and sustain rural culture in their area.
There is 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.
They are made by Elk Falls Pottery.

The Spotlight Awards have been awarded by Sally Frame and Ann Hertzog Frame since 2008.

We Kan! Award Winners


Michelle Crisler, Wamego - Quietly delivering quality
Helen Norman Dobbs, St. Francis - Dedicated doer
Carolyn Dunn, St. John - Ardent Achiever
Joy Jensen, Eureka - Years of Good
Keyta Kelly, Tonganoxie -All about community

Eric Montgomery, Lawrence - Picture of Support
Karen Sturm, Caldwell - Historically Awesome
Rosa Thomas, Whiting - Cooking up some love
Two more to come


B and Mandy Fincham, Beloit - Giving Beloit a cool factor

Shaley George, Concordia - Sharing stories with heart

Jeanne Fisher Roberts, Plains - Plains Awesome

Kelli Hilliard, Topeka - Tourism friend to all of Kansas

Kelly Larson, Lincoln - Passion for "building"

Lori Lennen, Coolidge - Putting Coolidge on the map

Luciano and Nancy Mottola, Mulvane – Providing great taste and class

Heidi Plumb and Kale Dankenbring, St. Francis - Breath of fresh air

Jenny Russell, Courtland - Passionate rural by choice doer

Rosslyn Schultz, Lucas - Sharing art in extraordinary fashion

Jim Stukey, Burlington - Painting the town

Note - We accidentally did eleven this year.  How wonderful!



Rosanna Bauman, Garnett - Farming the future

Community of Winfield - Bringing Kansas Together 2016-2017

Kristi Lee, Leavenworth - Making things happen

Chris McCord, Ellinwood - Shining light on the underground

Julie Mulvihill, Topeka - Connecting Communities

Jayne Humphrey Pearce, Wallace - Making Wallace County Historic

Jacque Pregont, Atchison - Being attentive to Atchison

Kathy Richardson, Lindsborg - Making Ad Hoc into an art form

Len Schamber, Damar - Preserving Kansas, ala Len, Schamber Historic Preservation

Roxie Yonkey, Goodland - Complementing Sherman Co.


Jane Brophy, Chanute - Cheering for Chanute

Shari Butler, Elkhart - Passion for the Grassland

Sarah Green, Wichita - Doing Democracy

Bridgette Jobe, Kansas City - Seeing the Big Picture

Liz King, Park City, UT (Marci's sister) - Designed generosity

Ken & Shirley McClintock, Council Grove - Making History Delicious

Larry & Jan Olson, Hill City - Stumpin' for RV Parks & Campgrounds

Sue Stringer, Topeka - Toutin' Kansas

Andrea Springer & Steve Snook, Hutchinson - Good Thinkers for Kansas

Adam Wagner, Greensburg - You've Been Good for Kansas


Patty Clark Topeka - Leadership that strengthens rural Kansas

Simone Elder, Wichita County - Good energy for the county

Dave Kendall, Dover - You're simply the be...in a vest

Holly Lofton, Lindsborg - Making things happen in Lindsborg

Luke Mahin, Courtland - PowerUp for all ages

Nancy Ohnick, Meade - Dedication to Meade County History

Tom Parker, Blue Rapids - Putting Kansas in a good light

Dena Patee, Ellis - Doing everything, all out

Jan Stevens, Dodge City - Difference-making leadership

Community of Wamego - Bringing Kansas Together 2014-2015



Stacy Barnes, Greensburg -  Good for Greensburg through thick and thin

Phyllis Bitner, Franklin (Crawford Co.) - Irresistible force for Franklin

Jim and Sandi Coast, Cimarron - Community difference-maker

Jettie Condray, Minneapolis - Passion for Ottawa County History

Janelle Dockendorf, Dickinson County - Bringing the county together

Don Harness, Garden City - Keeping the Windsor Dream Alive

Katie Herrick, Johnson - Dedication to Stanton Co. history education

John Howard, Marysville - Marshall County Enthusiast

Paul Kallman, Scandia -  Great support for North Central Kansas

Susan Wettstein, Garnett -  Working for the good of Garnett

Abby Amick, Alma - Powering Up Agri-women and Kansas

Tammy Britt, Concordia - Good Thinker & Bright Spirit

Community of Liberal - Bringing Kansas Together 2012-2013

Marc & Alice Ferguson, Meade - Preserving the Old West Story

Marieta Hauser, Ulysses - Doing It All for Grant County

Don Lampe, Piqua - Always-there-to-help Guy

Liz Sosa, Garden City
- Leading the Way to PowerUp Kansas

Brenda Staggenborg, Marysville - Making It Happen in Marysville

U.S. Highway 36 Association - Century of Promoting East to West

Sarah Werner, Winfield - Valuable PowerUp Voice Across Kansas


Myrna Barnes, Elkhart - Commitment to county history

Amy Bickel, Hutchinson News - Perfectly penning about past Kansas towns

Vicki Gillett, Larned - Longtime community promoter

Connie Grafel, Oberlin - Steady regional influence

Keystone Gallery, Logan County - Fabulous fossil stewards

Connie Kimsey, Arkansas City -  Rock solid regional partner

Dick Mosier, Herington - Valuable volunteer and Kansas Explorer

Fred Peterson, Marquette - Determined community booster

Julie Roller, Wamego - Awesome supporter of her towns

Ruben Schuckman, Hays - Devoted promoter of Ellis County towns


Grady Atwater, Osawatomie - Dedicated advocate for John Brown

Sally Frame, Kinsley - Great Kansas Spirit!

Teresa Huffman, Marion - Positive force for rural communities

Leavenworth County - Thanks for bringing Kansas together in 2010-2011

Community of Muscotah - The Little Town that Could

Debra Nelson, Little River - Progressive difference maker

Yvette Schlegel, Ness City - Positive influence in southwest Kansas

Jeff Sheets, Abilene - Champion for cattle town history

Lonnie Stieben, Clearwater - Dedicated advocate for rural towns

Beccy Tanner, Wichita - LIfting rural Kansas with her pen


Cathy Albert, WaKeeney - Invaluable community promoter

Linda Clover, Cawker City - Caretaker of a community asset

Kathie and Jack Crispin, Lincoln - Outstanding keepers of history

Judy Dayhoff, Boulder, CO - Champion Explorer!

Craig Hull, Crawford County - Going the extra mile

Kaye Kuhn, Medicine Lodge - Caretaker of important history

Nancy Nolte, Blue Rapids - Champion Explorer!

Glenda Purkis, Abilene - Steady and positive influence

Tom Reed, Horton - Deluxe Entrepreneur and Good Guy!

Lea Ann Seiler, Hodgeman County - Positive force for forward motion


Tom Braddy, Paxico - Mr. Promoter of Wine and Kansas

Concordia - Bringing Kansas Together in 2008-2009

John Divine, Salina - Longtime and loyal support

Sharla Krenzel, Leoti - Making a difference for Wichita County

Kristel Lewis, Lawrence - Extra effort for entrepreneurs

Joan Nothern, Glasco - Thoughtful Leadership

Susan Rathke, Emporia - Excellent for Emporia

Glenda Trecek, Agenda - Believing in Agenda

Kristina Vaughn, Canute, OK - Extra Effort

Pat Veesart, Garden City - Champion for Many


Belinda & Mike Adams, New Albany - Passionate at Sharing History

Cris Collier, Great Bend - Superior Nature Promoter

Collyer Community Alliance - The Little Town That Could

Linda Craghead, Alma - Leadership and Creating Community

Cuba Booster Club - Keeping a Town Alive

Sally Fuller, Liberal - Making A Difference

Cathy Haney, Clay Center - Commitment to History (and hats!)

Jon Hotaling, Burlington - Dedication to County

Erika Nelson, Lucas - Visionary Artist, Thinker, and Speaker

Linda Wilson, Dodge City - Lending a Helping Hand

Mary Arlington, Oakley - Great Booster for RV's & Campgrounds

Mary Asher, Mound City - Outstanding Upholder of County History

Jason Camis, Ottawa - Great Communicator & Cuisine Connoisseur

Connie Dougherty, Lucas - Champion of Explorer Tourism

Craig & Kelle Goodman, Ness City - Top-notch County Promoters

Christy Hopkins, Tribune - Positive Communicator and Visionary

Andrew Mahoney, Garden City - Golden Voice for Kansas

Carolyn Pendleton, Baxter Springs - Invaluable Community Promoter

Jim Richardson, Lindsborg - Helping Us See Kansas with New Eyes

Sunflower Journeys, KTWU, Topeka - Distinctive Kansas Documentarians


Judy Casey, McPherson - Steady and Positive Influence
Tiffani Kirk, Goodland - Enthusiasm for Region
Shelia Lampe, Piqua - Regional Difference-Maker
WenDee LaPlant, Garden City - Networker Deluxe
Gene Merry, Burlington - Rural Supporter Extraordinaire
Bobbi Miles, Smith Center - Commitment to Community
Gloria Moore, Barnes - Making Things Happen
Norma Mosier, Herington - Keeping History Alive
Scott Nichols, Ulysses - Leadership and Cooperative Spirit
Cheryl Unruh, Emporia - Beautiful Kansas Writings


Community of Burns - The Little Town that Could
Joann Combs, Liberal - Community Promoter
Emma Crites, Fredonia - Community Service
Ola May Earnest, Pleasanton - Commitment to History
Debbie Divine, Salina - Helping People See with New Eyes
Deborah Kennamore, Burlington - Commitment to Excellence
Laura McClure, Osborne - Progressive Difference-Maker
Barbara Mehuron, Winfield - Pitch In and Help
Jeanette Siemens, Pratt - Leadership and Vision
Bob and Jan Topping, Leavenworth - Valuable Perspective


Paul Bahnmaier, Lecompton - Keeping History Alive
Suzan Barnes, Cottonwood Falls - Making It the Best It Can Be
Judy Billings, Lawrence - Bringing Communities Together
Sally Hatcher, Leavenworth - Support for Rural Kansas
Susie Haver, Concordia - Making a Difference
Kim Legleiter, Montezuma - Community Support
Dollie Mathes, Harper - Community Difference-maker
Community of Newton - Bringing Kansas Together
Donna Price, Goodland - Being the Glue
Sue Smith, Cottonwood Falls - Making it Fun!


Chris Bauman, Neodesha - Community Service award

Paul Boyer & Family, Belleville, Support of creative genius

Robert Cole, Wamego - Dedication to Commerce & History

Fancy T's and More, Waterville - Community Support award

Roger Hrabe, Stockton - Making a Difference award

Dennis Katzenmeier, Ellsworth - Extra Effort award

Osborne County Tourism, Seeing County with New Eyes award

Wild West Country (SW Kansas Tourism region) - Attention to Towns of All Sizes award

Margo Yates, Marion - Plugging Away award

Ann Zimmerman, Salina - Music to our Ears award


Amazing 100 Miles - Cooperative Spirit award

Fred Burgess & Jim Mathes, Lewis - Make a Difference award

The Community of Independence - Bringing Kansas Together award

Brenda Johnson, McDonald - Hometown Champion award

Charley Klamm, Cottonwood Falls - Make a Difference award

Margaret Kraisinger, Halstead - Community Service award

Diane Niehoff, Baldwin City - Community Service award

Eileen Robertson, Humboldt - Generous Spirit Award

Sara Fair Sleeper, Alden - Believing in Community award

The Solomon Valley Heritage Alliance - Creative Energy award


Ann Walter - Making Things Happen

Ellen Morgan - Uniting Arts and Tourism

Ellen Snell - Uniting Culture and Tourism

Jessica Gilbert & Pat Wick - Enthusiasm & Spirit

John & Debbie Breeden - Extra Effort

Karen Tanner - Cooperative Effort

Leo Oliva - Bringing Communities Together

Mike Mayberry - Countywide Support
Paxico Merchants - For Reviving Paxico

SEKTR - Enthusiasm & Unity


Community of Ottawa - Bringing Kansas Together

Connie Essington, Council Grove - Commitment to Excellence

Country Boys Carriage & Prairie Adventures, Newton - Keeping the pioneer story alive

Dave Procter, Manhattan - Telling the Kansas Story

Downs Art Council - Making a Difference

Glasco Arts Council - Believing in Community

Martha Slater, Hutchinson - For believing...

Megan Evans, Halstead - Commitment to Excellence

Territorial Kansas Heritage Alliance - Cooperative Promotion

Tom & Marcella Ryan, Valley Falls - Dedication to Rural Kansas


Clifton-Vining Music Festival - The Little Train That Could

Community of Pratt - Cooperative Spirit

Darrell Albright - Historical Preservation

Janice Walker - Dedication & Commitment

Kelly Goss, Garden City - The 220 Award

Linda Hart, Coldwater - Dedication & Commitment

Lisa Weigt, Melvern - Making a Difference

Peabody Historical Society - Preserving the Local Story

Shannon Thom, Isabel - Spirit and Support

Von Rothenberger - Preserving the Local Story


Deanne & Earl Wright, Council Grove - Dedication & Commitment

Dorene Anderson - Outstanding Community Service

Gary Satter, Valley Falls - Seeing Kansas with New Eyes

John & Susan Howell, Wichita - Telling the Kansas Story

Ken & Jeri Harder - Telling the Kansas Story

Leilani Thomas, Colby - Leading the Way

Mary & Marva Holt, Columbus - Hospitality

Owen & Della Meier, Canton - Dedication & Commitment

Patrycia Herndon, Dighton - Restoration & Artistry

Prairie Spirit Trail, Anderson County - Blazing the Way


Barbara Stoecklein, Emporia - Hostess with the Mostest

Betty Van Osdol, Inman - Unsung Hero

Community of Beaumont - The Little Train That Could

Community of Lucas - Extra Effort

Dane G. Hansen Museum, Logan - The Little Train That Could

Edwards County Tourism - Cooperative Spirit

Gary Anderson, Oberlin - Follow Your Dream

Jonathan Wimer, Jackson County - Making It Happen

Marilyn Helmer, Lincoln/Tescott - Outstanding Community Service

Vonada Stone Quarry, Sylvan Grove - Leading the Way


Country Junction/Lizard Lips, Toronto - Making A Difference

Dave & Mary Hendricks, WaKeeney - Leading the Way

Jay Yoder, Partridge - Follow Your Dream

Lester (Buffalo Man) Lawrence, Clifton/Clyde - Enthusiasm for Region

Lynda Fort, Ulysses - Leading the Way

Michael & Ivona Pickering, Lincoln - Outstanding Cooperative Spirit

Ride Into History, Admire - Extra Effort

Stan Finger, Wichita Eagle - Media Support for Rural Kansas

Zenda Lumberyard Restaurant - The Little Train That Could


B.J. Smart, Washington - Enthusiasm for County

Charley & Faye Minium, Morland - Making a Difference

Dolores Landry, Ames - Leading the Way

George & Marjorie Gantz, Holton - Outstanding Community Service

Jean-Ellen Jantzen, Emporia - Seeing Kansas with New Eyes

Kansas Originals Market, Wilson - Outstanding Retail Support

Roger Masenthin, Harper - Seeing Kansas with New Eyes

Scott Dietz, Wichita KSNW-TV - Media Support for Rural Kansas

Vicky Johnson, Scammon - Outstanding Cooperative Spirit

Wally & Marian Glotta, Stafford - Outstanding Community Support


Abilene Area Bed-and-Breakfasts - Cooperative Effort award

Christmas Wonderland, Stafford
Community of Caldwell
Community of Ellsworth
Early Bird Feeders, Augusta
Jane Koger, Matfield Green
Nita Jones, Sedan
Prairie People Tourism Association
Susie and the LuWondas, Cloud County - Seeing Kansas with New Eyes

Victorian Promenades, Fort Scott


Angela Bates, Nicodemus - Dedication to Historical Preservation

Annette White, Kanopolis - Dedication to Historical Preservation

Cloud County Stained Glass Task Force - Countywide Promotion

David Lewis, Southern Kansas Telephone, Clearwater - Corporate Support for Rural Kansas

Eda Jean Hildreth, Alton - #1 Kansas Explorer

Friends of Elk Falls - The Little Train That Could

Jim Gray, Ellsworth - Superior Knowledge of Area

Linda Niemeyer, Woodson County - Dedication to Historical Preservation

Peggy Blackman, Marion - Enthusiasm for County 

Tobe Zweygardt, Cheyenne County - Dedi
cation to H
istorical Preservation