The 2013 Excellence in Public Service Award winners were announced today in separate surprise announcements at their respective jobs. The winners are:
• Kimber Kasitz,a school nurse with Wichita Public School District USD 259;
• Jay Holmes,a community corrections administrator with Sedgwick County;
• John Speer,a captain with the Wichita Police Department.
This year marks the 26th year of the Excellence in Public Service Award, which aims to recognize public employees who go beyond the call of duty. Honorees are selected from thousands of eligible workers from the City of Wichita, Sedgwick County and USD 259. They share a strong work ethic, exceptional performance and a commitment to community. The DeVore Family will award each recipient a $2,500 check at a reception in May at The Cowtown Visitors Center, 1865 W. Museum Blvd. Following is more information about the 2013 honorees:
Kasitz is in her fourth year as an employee of the Wichita public school district and is the first school nurse to serve at the newly opened Martin Ortiz Elementary School. In addition to providing ongoing care for the school’s 375 students, Kasitz coordinates staff wellness programs such as the Biggest Loser, the Diva Dash 5K run, health education classes and Body Mass Index screenings for parents. Active in the community, Kasitz serves as lead coordinator the first Sunday of the month at the Lord’s Diner, responsible for coordinating 45-50 volunteers who feed homeless residents and others in need. Kasitz has also served on the Via Christi Foundation Committee for the Emerald Ball, which benefits the Gerard House for pregnant teens in Wichita. She is an active member of her church, Blessed Sacrament, where she is a Catholic Youth Advisor and frequent participant on youth mission trips and events.
Holmes has been a Sedgwick County employee with the Department of Corrections for 23 years. As a community corrections administrator, Holmes has earned an excellent reputation in the field due to his calm and collaborative approach and an exceptional ability to establish and maintain positive relationships. Over the past five years, Holmes has been charged with changing the culture of community corrections. He championed use of evidence- based practices developing new skills in his staff. Since 1995, Holmes has volunteered countless hours to coach several youth soccer teams. As a coach, he emphasizes the importance of giving time and talent not only on the soccer field but in the community by creating opportunities for the players to volunteer and raise money for local non-profits.
Speer has been a Wichita Police Officer for more than 25 years, serving in a variety of complex assignments. He has helped lead major homicide investigations, coordinate complex security arrangements for dignitaries, and develop innovative strategies to reduce gang violence in the community. He has worked closely with downtown leaders to develop policing strategies for Intrust Bank Arena and Old Town district. His community service includes the Board of Directors of the Wichita Federal Credit Union and treasurer of the Sons of the American Revolution. Throughout his career, he has volunteered as a mentor to many, including disadvantaged youth, students, and fellow professionals. He is a respected and tireless partner of numerous law enforcement agencies, including the US Attorney’s Office, the Sedgwick County Sherriff’s Office and the FBI.