PRIDE achieves community excellence
Sacrifice is the idea behind voluteerism: your own time, time with family and free time are set aside for a greater good. On many occasions, that forfeiture isn't rewarded and those sacrificing typically wouldn't want it anyway.
But that doesn't mean they won't take it. And in the case of Basehor PRIDE and its branches, those words of praise translate back to their original goal: improving the community they so faithfully represent.
At the annual PRIDE day celebration Saturday, Sept. 27 in Great Bend, the Basehor PRIDE group received the Community of Excellence standard.
It's the second time in the last three years and the eighth time since 1995 the community-organized, volunteer group has reached those high-water marks for community service.
The award puts the PRIDE group in an exclusive club: 65 cities in Kansas took part in PRIDE Day and the Basehor group was one of just 15 to receive marks for excellence this year.
PRIDE members modestly view the accolades as an accomplishment earned by the whole community.
"It was a community effort," PRIDE chairman Chuck Wilderson said. "It's all organizations, the city, the Chamber (of Commerce), PRIDE, Gold PRIDE and Youth PRIDE coming together. That's really what we envisioned PRIDE being, a focal point to bring organizations together."
PRIDE earned $500 for the excellence award, and members said the funds would be put back into the community.
Overall, the group has earned approximately $8,000 for its marks of excellence, all of which have been spent for community activities, Wilderson said.
Julian Espinoza, Basehor City Council president, said the group's community efforts do not go unnoticed and are appreciated by residents and city officials.
"I think it's very helpful when you find a group of people committed to helping the community," Espinoza said. "Since I moved here, I said from day one that I am always impressed with the level of volunteerism in this community. PRIDE helps people get excited about becoming involved."
According to the judge's comments, a major factor in PRIDE receiving the excellence standards revolved around the group's work with the Community Assessment, a review and goal setting initiative implemented earlier this year.
Approximately 70 local residents, business owners and government leaders banded together to complete the Community Assessment program; the project's membership reinforces the notion that the Community of Excellence award was, after all, a community accomplishment, Wilderson said.
In addition to the Community Assessment, PRIDE also organizes a yearly recycling drive at Basehor City Hall, "Welcome Home" bags for new city residents and an annual Police and Fireman's Banquet, which will take place this year on Oct. 12.
And in coming months, the PRIDE group could be branching out; the organization is exploring ways to take advantage of tourism opportunities.
"We can capitalize on the history of the town," Wilderson said. "People like to come to small towns and see what makes them tick."
"Maybe it will help bring more dollars into our town," he added.
Anyone interested in becoming a PRIDE member should contact Wilderson at (913) 724-1057, or those interested in joining Gold PRIDE can contact Nola Cooper at (913) 724-1155.