Citizen award surprises recipient
A little rain didn't spoil the Fourth of July party in Basehor, and members of the Basehor Chamber of Commerce didn't spoil a surprise for one of its members.
Lila White, who is active in numerous civic activities, was named 2007 Citizen of Year during Basehor's Independence Day celebration, "Honoring America's Heartland Heroes."
Nominations for the Citizen of the Year Award are submitted to the Basehor Chamber of Commerce for review and the chamber's board of directors makes the final decision.
A chamber board member herself, White said her fellow board members did a great job keeping it a secret even though it had to have been difficult.
"I work in Lawrence so they know I usually can't make it to noon meetings," White said about her fellow board members. "They scheduled a noon meeting and then checked with me in advance to see if I was going to be there. It was pretty sneaky. They kept it a secret until the very end."
Recipients of the award are chosen based on nominations and their commitment to community service. Along with her participation in the chamber, White also is president of Friends of the Library, chairperson of Basehor Dairy Days, an Independence Day celebration committee member and also helps out with the Basehor Historical Society.
White received five nominations for the award, one of which was from the 2006 award recipient Mary Ann Mogle.
"She's just an awesome lady and an extremely hard worker," Mogle said. "Whenever there's a need, she's there. One thing that's neat about Lila is she never asks for any recognition. She's not one of those people to pat herself on the back and she definitely deserves it."
"I'm just overwhelmed at the response," White said. "It's pretty neat."
Resident Debbie Breuer received the Spirit Award for her commitment to the community. The recipient of the Spirit Award is also chosen by nominations and the chamber board. Breuer said she was surprised to hear she had received the award.
"I'm quite honored to think that somebody thinks I've contributed that much to the community," she said. "I'm happy to be a recipient of it."
While parade participation was scarcer than usual, people still turned out to brave the steady rain that fell during the event. Among the crowd was Miss Leavenworth County, Paula Prosser.
"She got a little damp, but she had an umbrella," said Chuck Wilderson, president of Basehor PRIDE. "She was very gracious and we appreciated having her."
The first-place prize awarded to the best parade entry went to Mindy Wilson, who was riding in a wagon pulled by her father.
"She was two or three years old," White, a parade judge, said of Wilson. "She was decorated, her umbrella was decorated, the wagon was decorated, and she just had a beautiful smile on her face. She was just enjoying it."
The Veterans of Foreign Wars International entry, which displayed several flags received second place, and Basehor Boy Scout Troop 169, who turned out in large numbers to march with their banner in the rain, earned third place.
Joining White as parade judges were Mark Lee and City Administrator Carl Slaugh.
The rain stopped about 7 p.m., allowing residents to put away their umbrellas, come outside and enjoy the rest of the activities planned at the high school football field. But, Basehor Mayor Chris Garcia, Slaugh, Police Chief Terry Horner and City Council president Terry Thomas still got soaked as dunk tank volunteers. The popular crowd-pleaser raked in about $105 in donations that went toward the fireworks display, Wilderson said.
Residents also enjoyed a cake walk with cakes furnished by Gold PRIDE and the Dreams Come True organization, concessions provided by the Basehor VFW Post 11499, free popcorn made by Youth PRIDE members and country gospel music by "Soul Salvation."
Hannah Brown, a 2006 graduate of Basehor-Linwood High School sang the National Anthem while the VFW raised the flag. "Taps" was then played during the VFW's 21-gun salute prior to the fireworks display that began at 9:15 p.m.
Wilderson said it was a fantastic display as always.
"People just oooh and aaah at it," he said. "Especially the grand finale. It was spectacular."
Residents were also generous in their donations this year, raising about $970 for the fireworks display.
"That's a little better than what we usually do," Wilderson said. "The turnout was as good as last year even though we had rain earlier."