STATEWIDE—On Monday, August 17, 2020, The Kansas Sampler Foundation announced the recipients of the 27th annual We Kan! Awards. Presented as an appreciation for dedicated work in helping preserve and sustain rural culture, the final two 2019 awards were made on August 14, 2020.


"These award winners aren't chosen from an application process," said foundation director Marci Penner. "They are people we notice because of their good work over time or for how they impact their community in a unique manner."


Presented at the Kansas Sampler Festival for many years, the awards are now given in surprise fashion, often with a flash-mob of local supporters in attendance.


The recipients for 2019 are: Michelle Crisler, Wamego (Quietly delivering quality); Helen Dobbs, St. Francis (Dedicated doer); Carolyn Dunn, St. John (Ardent achiever); Dan & Jan Epp, Tribune (Best kind of newspaper); Kathleen Holt, Cimarron (Answering the call); Joy Jensen, Eureka (Years of Good); Keyta Kelly, Tonganoxie (All about community); Eric Montgomery, Lawrence (Picture of support); Karen Sturm, Caldwell (Historically awesome); and Rosa Thomas, Whiting (Cooking up some love).


"I can't imagine Kansas without these people," Penner said. "They each make such a difference to their community, region or state."


The awards plates were made by Elk Falls Pottery. To see a list of all We Kan! award winners go to kansassampler.org.