The 2018 Excellence in Public Service Award honorees will be recognized at 4:30 p.m. Wednesday at a reception in Lotus Hall at Botanica, 701 Amidon. The award, in its 30th year, recognizes Sedgwick County, Wichita Public Schools and City of Wichita employees who share a strong work ethic, exceptional performance and a commitment to community. The honorees will be presented with a recognition gift and $2,500. The Excellence in Public Service Award is sponsored by the DeVore Foundation and KSN.
The honorees are:
Sgt. Clayton Barth, Detention Academy Sergeant for the Sedgwick County Sheriff's Office;
Janet Sutter, Business Technology Teacher at Wichita Alternative High School at Chester Lewis Academic Learning Center; and
Van Williams, City of Wichita Public Information Officer.
Sgt. Clayton Barth (Sedgwick County) serves as the Detention Academy Sergeant for the Sedgwick County Sheriff's Office at the Law Enforcement Training Center. Barth graduated from Southeast High School in 1999 and joined the United States Army where he completed Military Police School and served eight years. He is known for his bravery, courage, and leadership and has been awarded the prestigious Silver Medal of Valor for his courage during a fire that was set in the jail. Barth has trained many staff members from the Sedgwick County Juvenile Division of Corrections, Kansas Jail Association, Andale Police Department and been invited to share his expertise in the field at numerous events.
Barth serves as the Lead Pastor and an Executive Board Member of Journey Church. Over the last four years, he has led a team of volunteers with the Convoy of Hope helping families in need. Under his leadership, Journey Church has distributed more than 300 sack lunches to the Union Rescue Mission and provided Thanksgiving and Christmas meals for local families. Barth has demonstrated exemplary performance both in his work duties and in the community. Barth and his wife Katie, have two children, Kylee and Austin.
Janet Sutter (Wichita Public Schools) is a Business Technology Teacher at Wichita Alternative High School at Chester Lewis Academic Learning Center. Sutter has taught for the Wichita Public Schools for 30 years. She teaches students how to use graphic design and movie-making software; her development of an after-school program has captured the imagination of students, staff and the community.
Using a combination of grant money and personal funds, Sutter bought lathes and tools to start a woodturning program. Students thrived with the hands-on learning and participation in the program has grown exponentially. In the past year alone, Sutter has invested more than 1,000 hours of time on the woodturning club and recruited members from a local adult woodturning club and her church to help. Students use their newfound skills to craft pieces for numerous organizations including pens for soldiers overseas and bowls for a local hospital called Beads of Courage Bowls which go to children who have chronic illnesses. The children receive beads for doctors' visits, surgeries and treatments, and can keep them in their bowls.
Sutter supports Freedom Hooves, a non-profit organization that uses equine therapy for physically handicapped individuals. She started a woodturning club for women in the Wichita area, which offers free sessions and fellowship during their monthly meetings. She is actively engaged with the American Association of Woodturning (AAW) and its grant committee Women in Turning (WIT). She is also an active member of her church. Janet and her husband, Brian, have two sons, Grant and Ethan.
Van Williams (City of Wichita) is the Public Information Officer for the City of Wichita and has worked for the City for nearly 13 years. He manages media relations including news media requests, news conferences, news releases, messaging, City7 television programming, and www.wichita.gov content. He has supported communications staffers across the organization, transformed City7 into a 24-7 television station with increased video programming and helped establish the City's social media footprint.
Williams is a founder of two youth-mentoring nonprofits: he co-founded Real Men, Real Heroes, which serves boys who lack father figures and was recognized by President Bush in 2007; and he founded River City Hoops, a travel tournament basketball organization that focuses on life skills and serves more than 100 youth. Real Men, Real Heroes has recruited approximately 50 men to serve as "Heroes." A WSU study estimated that Real Men, Real Heroes reaches thousands of youth in the area annually. River City Hoops' work extends beyond basketball and exposes players to guest speakers, educators, top coaches and recruiting experts.
Williams has served on several boards including the Wichita Riverfest, Kansas Health Institute, and The Kansas African American Museum, which honored him in 2015 with the Martin Luther King, Jr. Community Service award. Williams earned a bachelor's degree in print journalism (1989) and master's degree in public administration (2017) from Wichita State University. He and his wife, Kristi, are the parents of two Kansas State University graduates, Kelsey and Brooke; and a 15-year-old son, Christian.