By John Sharp
The South Kansas City Alliance is resuming its annual community awards program with a breakfast at 9 a.m. Saturday, July 30, at the Avila University Whitfield Center, 11901 Wornall Rd., after a multiyear pause during the height of the pandemic.
Persons may purchase tickets for the event which includes a full breakfast buffet for $10 on the SKCA website southkcalliance.org.
The Alvin Brooks Lifetime Service Award named after the former KCMO mayor pro tem and anticrime leader will be presented to Jerry Darter, former director of the KCMO Parks & Recreation Department and current co-chair of the Southern Communities Coalition. Darter has been the leader of recent community efforts to get the city to reconstruct and reopen the closed portions of Blue River Rd. where the subsurface has failed and has begun sliding down toward the adjacent Blue River.
The Judy Swope Good Neighbor Award will be presented to Diane Hershberger, a founder and longtime leader and activist in the Marlborough Community Coalition.
Outstanding Public Safety Service Awards will be presented to Kansas City Police Officers Marshal Canfield and Davion Jones for forcibly removing a resisting motorist who was suffering a diabetic episode from his wrecked vehicle that was on fire. Seconds after removing the driver against his will the passenger compartment of the vehicle became engulfed in flames. Their prompt actions risking their own safety undoubtedly saved the man from burning to death.
Grandview Fire Chief Ron Graham will also be receiving an Outstanding Public Safety Service Award for his leadership in passing a no tax increase bond election in Grandview this April that included funding to replace the department’s 20-year-old ladder truck. When its replacement is put in service it will also be available to respond to high rise fires in south Kansas City since Grandview and Kansas City have an automatic aid agreement for fire and ambulance service so the vehicle that can respond to the scene quickest is the one that is dispatched.
The Outstanding Community Service Award will be presented to the Community Assistance Council and the
VFW Post 8100 Auxiliary. The CAC, located on the north end of the Ruskin High School campus, is one of the few full service social service agencies based in the south Kansas City area. In the past year it has distributed millions in rent and utility assistance from various government programs to prevent homelessness in the south Kansas City area. It also provides a client choice food pantry, diapers provided by Happy Bottoms and medical supplies and equipment provided by Kansas City’s Medicine Cabinet.
The Auxiliary of VFW Post 8100 located in Grandview sponsors numerous activities and programs to honor area veterans and assist them and their families as well as other community events that benefit the broader community.
The John Sharp Outstanding Government Service Award (kindly named after me by the SKCA board) will be presented to longtime KCMO city council assistant Keema McCoy who has helped many south Kansas City residents and community groups over the years during working hours and beyond and recently filled the unusual role of serving as the assistant for two council members simultaneously for many months due to a vacancy.
The other honoree is Robert Woods, now of the KCMO Public Works Department, who in recent years has organized successful neighborhood cleanups and household hazardous waste collections in south Kansas City including the upcoming one August 27 at Ruskin High School.
The Outstanding Neighborhood Organization Award will be given to the View High Drive North Neighborhood Association that hosts many neighborhood activities and has successfully applied for funds through the city Public Improvements Advisory Committee to improve sidewalks and a city park and playground in the neighborhood. (Unlike homes associations that have mandatory fees, neighborhood organizations have to rely on voluntary contributions from members which makes their neighborhood improvement efforts more challenging.)
Outstanding Educational Achievement Program Awards will be presented to the Center High School Broadcast Journalism Program, the Grandview Education Foundation’s Cover 2 Cover Summer Reading Program, the Grandview C4 School District’s Social and Emotional Learning Program and Youth Guidance which operates its BAM (Becoming A Man) and WOW (Working on Womanhood) guidance and counseling programs at Smith-Hale Middle School and Ruskin High School in the Hickman Mills C-1 School District.
Outstanding Young Achiever Awards will be given to Center High School student Avery Bennekin and Ruskin High School student Danise Robinson.
The Good Corporate Citizenship Award will be presented to NorthPoint Development that is currently redeveloping the site of the former Bannister Federal Complex on the north side of Bannister Rd. east of Troost as the Blue River Commerce Center. NorthPoint is being honored for dedicating 5,000 square feet of space in one of the industrial park’s new buildings for use as a workforce development center that will be managed by the South Kansas City Chamber of Commerce.