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Excellence in Public Service Honorees

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Annual winners announced at surprise events today

The 2011 Excellence in Public Service Award winners were announced today in separate surprise announcements at their respective jobs. The winners are:

  • Mary K. Vaughn, the City of Wichita’s Housing and Community Services Director;
  • Carol Cole, Executive Secretary in the Sedgwick County Commissioners Office; and
  • Colleen Fulford, a Clinical Behavioral Specialist at West High School.

Winners were 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 on May 12 at The Cowtown Visitors Center, 1865 W. Museum Blvd.

This year marks the 24th year of the Excellence in Public Service Awards, which aims to enhance the image of employees in the public sector and gives recognition to public servants who go beyond the call of duty. Following is brief information about the 2011 honorees:

From left to right: Council Member Lavonta Williams, City Manager Robert Layton, Mary K. Vaughn (center), Bill DeVore and Council Member Roger Smith

Vaughn has been employed by the City of Wichita for more than seven years. She directs her staff to improve housing, economic self-sufficiency and the quality of life for extremely-low to moderate-income people. She strives for excellence in the department and her service in the community. Vaughn played a key role in the “Point In Time” homeless Count at Century II in January, serves on the Homeless Youth Taskforce, has mentored City and County employees and steps up to a variety of organizational committees. Vaughn is the author of “The Wait: How God sustains and explains when His answer is “Wait.” She serves as the vacation bible school coordinator and Sunday school teacher for Saint Mark United Methodist Church. She also mentors as a Big Sister.

Cole has been a Sedgwick County employee for 30 years, working in several different County offices. She works with five County Commissioners while meeting constituents’ needs with excellent customer service, professionalism and a positive attitude. She is a member of the Sheriff’s Citizens Community Council and serves on the Executive Board for The Kansas African-American Museum where she was board president for two years. She volunteers for the Black Arts Festival and is a narrator on KMUW’s “Black Pioneers in Wichita” vignettes. Cole is the adult choir director at New Day Christian Church, where she assists with special events and youth group activities.

Fulford provides mental health resources to students-in-need. Working well beyond the typical school day, she identifies new and creative ways to influence student success. Fulford developed a clothing and school supply closet for students who need clothing during cold weather, emergencies and physical education classes. She has fostered relationships with colleagues and outside agencies such as COMCARE, The Mental Health Association and United Methodist Youthville to help students transition back to West High from alternative school settings, incarceration and private residential treatment facilities. Fulford received a Champion of Respect certificate from the Wichita/Sedgwick County Domestic Violence/Sexual Assault Coalition for demonstrating respect in her beliefs, attitudes and behavior. She is a participant in the Kansas Chapter of National Association of Social Workers and has served as an adjunct instructor at Wichita State University, teaching both graduate and undergraduate coursework. While serving in the Kansas Air National Guard in the 1990s, Fulford began volunteering for the Special Olympics where she helps head the awards table for the basketball and cheerleading competitions.

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