The 2012 Excellence in Public Service Award winners were announced today in separate surprise announcements at their respective jobs. The winners are:
Joe Pajor, the Assistant Director of Public Works & Utilities, with the City of Wichita.
Tracy Swihart, a lieutenant with Sedgwick County Emergency Medical Services
Cynthia Martinez, who serves as the McKinney Vento Homeless Liaison with Wichita Public School District USD 259
This year marks the 25th 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 2012 honorees:
Pajor has worked at the City of Wichita in a multitude of capacities for more than 30 years. He has helped guide the City’s largest department in providing important infrastructure upgrades, water and sewer service and protection of the natural environment. Most recently, he led the department’s tornado recovery efforts. He is very active in the community. He worked as an adjunct professor at Friends University for 20 years. He has volunteered in a variety of River Festival roles for more than two decades. He has also served on the board of two homeowners associations, the Downtown Lion’s Club, the American Red Cross Blood Services, and the Midway Chapter of the American Red Cross. An active member at St. Elizabeth Ann Seaton Catholic Church, Pajor has operated its soundboard equipment, monitored facility security, instructed middle school students and served on a stewardship committee.
Swihart has been a Sedgwick County employee and paramedic for 13 years. In addition to providing advanced life support care as an EMS worker, Swihart has served in many roles as a paramedic, including teaching new hire paramedics and overseeing the field internship of paramedic students. She has demonstrated drive and generosity to work in many areas of emergency medicine. She was chosen to represent EMS on a protocol committee for the Emergency Medical Service System (EMMS). Swihart also volunteers as a reserve officer for the Wichita Police Department and was awarded the Bronze Wreath for administering medical treatment during a criminal pursuit. She is also part of the worship band and a youth leader at her church, Holy Cross Lutheran Church.
Martinez is a 12-year employee of USD 259, providing support and services for more than 1,400 homeless children and youth. She is committed and passionate about ensuring that all children have access to a public school education. Martinez held the first ever Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA, party for homeless seniors this year to encourage them to apply for financial aid and plan for their futures. In addition to her USD 259 work, Martinez is an active volunteer and serves on committees and boards of numerous organizations such as Nomar Community Development Corporation, Mayors Youth Homeless Coalition Committee, Wichita-Sedgwick County Continuum of Care Committee and Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.