MOUNDRIDGE — Moundridge's Reed Gleason admits he would rather be out and actively involved in the community than sitting at home — and it shows. Gleason moved to Moundridge for work with Citizen’s State Bank two and a half years ago and quickly grew fond of the town, becoming an active, participating member in several community endeavors — like his work on the Black Kettle Festival committee.
On top of his work with the festival and McPherson County fair, Gleason has also been an active member of the Moundridge Chamber of Commerce since moving to Moundridge.
This past month, the chamber recognized Gleason with its Volunteer of the Year award for his work with several community organizations. While he admitted he was a little shocked, Gleason said it meant a lot to receive this award and is grateful for the chance to pitch in and help bring people together.
“I’m extremely honored and really enjoy being involved in these things, involved in the community,” Gleason said. “It’s just a good experience to be involved in things and being a part of something and seeing what kind of impact that can make on the community.”
As part of the Black Kettle Festival committee, Gleason helps out with many aspects of the June event from organizing activities to scheduling performances. One of his biggest involvements is on the fundraising side, and this year, he was pleased to involve the high school in the festival raffle — a big part of the fundraising — that featured a shed and metal sunflower yard ornaments.
"I worked with the local FFA chapter and art department. They put those together for us and those were our raffle items, so that was a lot of fun, kind of getting another aspect of the community involved," Gleason said. "That day's a lot of fun, just seeing everybody out at a family event and everybody together. We had a really nice turnout this past year."
Another community event Gleason is strongly committed to is the McPherson County 4-H Fair, as he routinely helps out with the livestock competitions — particularly the hog show.
"We do weigh in, tag in, help the exhibitors before the show and that type of thing," Gleason said.
Both FFA and 4-H were organizations Gleason was a part of while growing up in Uniontown in southeast Kansas. In fact, Gleason admitted one of his best experiences in service was in helping his high school's FFA chapter establish a scholarship fund in the name of a Uniontown alumnus and veteran who gave his life serving in Afghanistan.
Having that early exposure was part of why Gleason gravitated toward working with those groups in Moundridge, though he noted there are other factors that have encouraged him to get involved as well — from his own parents to his employer, which also is a strong supporter of the county fair and other local events.
"My folks were pretty involved in different organizations when I was growing up and the bank I work for, they're very involved in the community, so that kind of went hand-in-hand," Gleason said. "I like being a part of things and contributing."