Distinguished Kansans for 2021 include winner Tony, Team Hutchinson CC

Gannett Kansas recognizes six people as Distinguished Kansans for 2021. Jason Sudeikis was named Kansan of the Year.

They are as follows:

  • Donna McClish, community
  • Sheinelle Jones, journalism
  • Bill Farmer, animation
  • Hutchinson Community College football team, sports
  • Lois Smith, theater
  • Ximena Garcia, government

Here is why they are recognized today.

Donna McClish, Community

Donna McClish, an urban farmer from Wichita, thinks everyone is family. With the motto “All are fed. No one is hungry, ”she begins her job every day buying from farmers and local dairies, packing their fresh vegetables, eggs and cheese, and delivering the items to retirement homes and low-income residences. of central Kansas.

McClish formed Common Ground Growers and Producers, the only group in Kansas that delivers fresh vegetables directly to seniors and low-income families. It is also Kansas’ only mobile market.

McClish, who grew up on a farm in Sedgwick County, said it was important that everyone was at the table, including the farmers.

– Alice Mannette

Following:Jason Sudeikis named Kansan of the Year for Eternally Upbeat Emmy-Loved ‘Ted Lasso’

Sheinelle Jones, Journalism

Sheinelle Jones is a distinguished Kansan for her documentary "Stories We Tell: The Secret to Fertility."

Journalist and native of Kansas, Sheinelle Jones enjoys helping others. As the co-host of “3rd Hour Today” on NBC-TV, this Wichita Heights high school graduate brings her liveliness and wealth of knowledge to her audience.

On December 19, his documentary “Stories We Tell: The Fertility Secret” aired. As the executive producer of the documentary, which highlights infertility stories of black women, her passion for helping women, especially women of color, was vital.

Jones hopes to educate women and their daughters about fibroids, which can strike any woman, but according to Jones, can strike women of color disproportionately.

In November, Jones was inducted into Northwestern University’s Hall of Achievement.

– Alice Mannette

Following:Over 500 recognized as Kansans of the Year or Distinguished Kansans in 56 years. Here they are.

Bill Farmer, Entertainment

Bill Farmer, a native of Pratt, has voiced the Disney character Goofy since 1987.

Walt Disney’s “Goofy” grew up in Kansas. Comedian and comedian Bill Farmer, a native of Pratt, watched cartoons as a child, and when he moved to Hollywood, he auditioned for a role with Walt Disney Studios.

Since 1987, Farmer has represented the voice of Goofy. He can also be understood as Pluto and Horace Horsecollar and appears in several Disney films, including “Beauty and the Beast”. Last September, Farmer, a 1971 graduate of Pratt High School, was inducted into the Greenback, Pratt High School, Hall of Fame.

In 2009, Farmer was awarded the Disney Legend Award.

– Alice Mannette

Hutchinson Community College Football Team, Sports

The Hutchinson Community College football team won the NJCAA Div.  I national championship in 2021.

Hutchinson Community College Blue Dragons head football coach Drew Dallas led the Blue Dragons to a 17-2 record in two seasons, including a Jayhawk Conference Championship, a Jayhawk Playoff Championship and a the NJCAA. I win the national championship.

The national championship, won in a 29-27 victory in June over Snow College in Ephraim, Utah, was the program’s first in school history.

As part of the Blue Dragons football program, many players have turned to the NCAA to continue their football adventure at schools such as Auburn, Buffalo, Coastal Carolina, and UTSA.

– Billy Watson

Lois Smith, Theater

A native of Topeka, Lois Smith accepts the 2020 Tony Award for Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Role in a Play.

Topekan native Lois Smith in September became the oldest person to win a Tony Award for her acting.

Smith, 90, was born in Topeka in 1931 and spent the first 11 years of her life there. She received the award for Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Role in a Stage Play for her appearance as Margaret in “The Inheritance” at the 74th Annual Tony Awards.

This was Smith’s first Tony Award and his third Tony Award nomination in a long acting career, which has included appearances in various films.

– Tim Hrenchir

Ximena Garcia, Government

Ximena Garcia has served as Governor Laura Kelly's statewide adviser on how best to include communities of color in the COVID-19 vaccination effort.

Retired physician Ximena Garcia is recognized for her work in raising awareness about COVID-19, particularly among Hispanics.

Garcia, of Topeka, was appointed COVID-19 vaccine fairness advisor to Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly in March. She has worked with representatives from under-represented populations and the Kansas Department of Health and Environment to coordinate vaccine delivery in socially vulnerable communities.

Since November, she has been the Interim Public Health Officer and Medical Director of Medicaid.

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