Realty executive is Citizen of Year
The chairman of one of Leavenworth County's largest privately held businesses is this year's Leavenworth-Lansing Area Chamber of Commerce's Citizen of the Year.
Jerry Reilly, chairman of Reilly & Sons Inc., and president of Reilly Homes and several other real estate investment companies, received the honor Wednesday night during the chamber's annual meeting at the Riverfront Community Center in Leavenworth.
Reilly was nominated by his son, Mike.
In his nomination, Mike Reilly said his father and mother, Charla, have made a "substantial commitment" through the years to local education.
"Through their philanthropic efforts, Jerry and Charla have helped build a science lab at Immaculata High School, a computer lab and Xavier Elementary School, are lead contributors in the Leavenworth Public School Education Foundation, the Lansing Education Foundation, the Basehor-Linwood Education Foundation, and they have a scholarship for nursing at the University of St. Mary," Mike Reilly wrote.
The younger Reilly also told how Reilly & Sons had four people working in its insurance sector and two Realtors when his father joined the business in 1969.
"Today, under Jerry's leadership and guidance, Reilly & Sons has grown to two locations with more than 70 associates."
More than 1,500 families in Lansing and Leavenworth live in homes developed in "Reilly Communities," Mike Reilly pointed out.
"Not only have they added an extreme amount of value to the area and to the residents who live there, but Jerry's commitment to shopping locally by using local businesses in the construction of his developments and homes circulates over $7 million annually to local business and trades people," Mike Reilly said.
The chamber award winner was born in 1944 in Leavenworth. He attended Immaculata High School and was a member of its 1962 undefeated state championship basketball team. He graduated from the University of Kansas in 1966 and served with the 69th Infantry Brigade in Vietnam.
He and his wife are parents of three children and five grandchildren.
In the nomination submitted to the chamber, Mike Reilly listed a litany of community organizations and boards on which his father has been involved: First National Bank and Trust; Exchange Bank & Trust holding company; Blish Mize Inc.; Command and General Staff College Alumni Association; University of St. Mary; St. John's Hospital; Leavenworth Board of Realtors; Leavenworth Insurance Board; the chamber; Leavenworth Country Club; Leavenworth Catholic Education Foundation; Leavenworth Regional Catholic School Board; Frontier Army Museum; Lansing Prison Museum Board; and Sacred Heart Catholic Church.
Also at Tuesday's annual meeting, the chamber honored Matt Sittnick, a senior at Leavenworth High School, as its Junior Citizen of the Year.
Sittnick, the son of Steve and Cava Sittnick, is a Kansas Honor Scholar, a member of the National Honor Society, is president of the school's Fellowship of Christian Athletes chapter and achieved the rank of Eagle Scout at age 13, among many other accomplishments.
Patricia Klima, a counselor at Leavenworth High School, nominated Sittnick and said he had the "full package - intelligence, drive, leadership and commitment. He is a supreme motivator and team player, and one that I can personally count on to complete a job correctly - the first time."
Kathy Nietzke of the Leavenworth Plaza Shopping Center is president of the chamber for 2008; she replaces Greg Madsen of St. John Hospital, who served in the top post in 2007.