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McPhersonSentinel - McPherson, KS
  • Habitat for Humanity volunteer receives award

  • Bill Parker was awarded the prize of Philanthropist of the Year by the McPherson County Community Foundation at Monday evening’s awards ceremony.
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  • Bill Parker was awarded the prize of Philanthropist of the Year by the McPherson County Community Foundation at Monday evening’s awards ceremony.
    A former McPherson High School principal who’s remained active in organizations such as The Cedars, The McPherson Optimist Club, The Red Cross and the First Baptist Church, Parker’s work as a board member and volunteer with the nonprofit Habitat for Humanity, Incorporated has resulted in 26 homes in McPherson County since 1992.
    Habitat for Humanity is an all-volunteer Christian housing ministry that builds houses for low income families.
    Parker said that being named Philanthropist of the Year was extremely supportive to him personally.
    “Housing is a big issue in McPherson,” Parker said. “We’ve been able to work with organizations like Circles, and we have several people who’ve completed Circles who’re now homeowners. People need to recognize that it’s important to do things for other people, and that seeing other people succeed is extremely gratifying.”
    First runner-up for Philanthropist of the Year was Neisha Dahlstrom, whose hard work was instrumental in bringing Circles to McPherson County, and who currently serves as the organization’s president as well as on the resource team.
    A nonprofit devoted to ending poverty in communities, since 2010 Circles has helped six families move into financially stable and prosperous lives.
    “I was very honored to be nominated, but it’s important to remember that I’ve got a huge group of people who’ve helped bring Circles here over the last four years,” Dahlstrom said. “We were told it would be five years before we made an impact. To date we’ve moved six families out of poverty, and are currently working with thirty more. It’s very gratifying.”
    The second runner-ups were Ruby Jantzen and Delonna Barnett, the co-directors of Angels’ Attic at 125 South Christian Avenue in Moundridge.
    Established in 2009 under a mission statement to improve the community by meeting needs, the nonprofit organization provides gently used clothing and household items at new cost. Since 2011 its motto has been, “Share what you have... take what you need... pay it forward.”
    No conditions are placed on why people come to shop, or what is taken out, and needs are answered as opposed to handouts supplied.
    Jantzen and Barnett make sure Angels’ Attic is open five days a week, and spend many off work hours seeing to the operation of the organization as well as coordinating with other organizations, such as the 27 current partners they have that make available items Angels’ Attic won’t or can’t stock themselves.
    “We’re ecstatic,” Jantzen said, “and it’s an honor. We like what we do, and we’re passionate about keeping it going. Recognition like this lets us feel we’re doing something worthwhile. Last year, over 25,000 items went out from our location, and 34,000 have gone out this year up to the end of October. We have 25 volunteers helping us, and we feel like one big happy family.”
    Page 2 of 2 - McPherson County Community Foundation President and CEO Becky Goss said that recognizing these philanthropic works was very important.
    “If you look around at churches and nonprofit organizations, most of the people who keep them operating day to day are volunteers,” Goss said. “In 2008 the McPherson County Community Foundation developed this award to recognize these types of volunteer efforts in our community. We started by giving one award, but have expanded it to the top three candidates, and the organization each of the top three represents will receive a grant.”
    Parker’s organization, Habitat for Humanity, Inc., received a $1,000 grant, with Circles receiving a $750 grant and Angels’ Attic receiving a $500 grant.

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