PITTSBURG —  It was difficult for his coworkers, family and friends to keep the surprise, but they managed it and John Clark was stunned to find out he had been awarded the “Spirit of Pittsburg,” award, sponsored by the Morning Sun, at the annual Pittsburg Area Chamber of Commerce banquet.

Usually an “attention to detail guy,” Clark said it was quite a surprise to come to the banquet and learn of this award.

“I certainly appreciate the recognition obviously I’ve been fooled by day one because I was at the house tonight and I told them I had a chamber banquet and they said ‘gosh good luck,’ he said.

He said there have been many outstanding people were selected for the award in the past, and to be added to this list of people is an honor.

The Pittsburg Area Chamber of Commerce presented the Spirit of Pittsburg Award and other awards during the 2018 Annual Banquet on Thursday.

The banquet is an opportunity for the chamber to thank outstanding businesses and community leaders.
“Our annual banquet provides us with a chance to say thank you and to highlight so many of the great businesses and individuals that have played a significant role in making our community a better place to live,” Director of Marketing & Communications for the chamber Josh Lowe said.

Past Spirit of Pittsburg Recipient Mark Werner introduced Clark to the audience.

“This year’s spirit of pittsburg award recipient has certainly paid it forward and lived as an active as a true civil leader in our community … I believe this honoree has served our community largely behind the scenes being involved in many organizations and activities, often choosing to allow others to take the spotlight,” Werner said. “This Pittsburg native and product of local schools and as well as graduate of Pittsburg State University so the community can be very proud of the accomplishments of this honoree.”

Clark has served several terms on the USD 250 Board of Education and currently serves on the Board of Directors of Via Christi Hospital and the Pittsburg Family YMCA.

He is graduate of Leadership Kansas and will be a local program chair for this year’s Leadership Kansas program.

Other award winners are: Small Business of the Year, Sweet Designs Cakery; City of Pittsburg Employer of the Year, Apex Stages; Educator of the Year, Steve Mahnken teacher at George Nettels Elementary; Chamber Volunteer of the Year, Julie Reams;  Business Education Alliance Bill Coleman Business Partner of the Year, The Morning Sun; BEA Jerry Lindberg Volunteer of the Year, Mindy Cloninger; BEA Koeta Bryant Education Partner of the Year, Stuart Perez.
The finalists for the Small Business of the Year Award, sponsored by BKD, LLP, were Custom Awards, LLC and Sweet Designs Cakery.
The finalists for the Educator of the Year Award, sponsored by Pitsco Education, were Steve Mahnken from George Nettels Elementary, Kelsey Boulware from Pittsburg Community Middle School and Jill VanWey from St. Mary’s Elementary.

— Stephanie Potter is a staff writer at the Morning Sun. She can be emailed at spotter@morningsun.net or follow her on Twitter @PittStephP and Instagram @stephanie_morningsun.