For more information, contact:
Jody Hoener, Awards Chair
Governor’s Council on Fitness
Email Jody Hoener
KDHE Communications Office
Email Matthew Lara
2022 Kansas Health Champions Announced
TOPEKA – The Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) and the Governor’s Council on Fitness (GCOF) presented the 2022 Kansas Health Champion Awards during the Community Health Promotion Summit today, Thursday, January 27.
The Governor’s Council on Fitness developed the Health Champion Award to recognize and promote exemplary contributions to fitness in Kansas. Those recognized include an individual and organization and honorable mentions in each category.
- Individual Health Champion: Mike Goodwin, Topeka
- Organizational Health Champion: Salud + Bienestar, Wichita
- Individual Honorable Mention: C. Clyde Jones, Manhattan
- Organizational Honorable Mention: Colby United Methodist Church, Colby
“The winners were selected for the exceptional efforts they have put forth to model, encourage and promote fitness in Kansas,” said Jody Hoener, GCOF Awards Chair. “Their efforts have made a positive impact on their communities and inspired others around them to get involved.”
“Congratulations to this year’s Health Champions,” said Janet Stanek, Acting Secretary. “We thank you for the work you have done across Kansas to promote the importance of fitness in your communities.”
Mike Goodwin of Topeka is a longtime volunteer and board member with Kansas Trails Council (KTC), an all-volunteer nonprofit dedicated to building and maintaining natural-surface trails for public use. However, Goodwin’s commitment to ensuring that every community has access to a safe place to walk, hike or bike far transcends even KTC’s laudable mission.
Elizabeth Burger of Sunflower Foundation, who nominated Goodwin, said, “Our foundation has had the honor of working with Mike for the past nine years. During this time, I have witnessed how he has donated his time to travel the entire state of Kansas to personally mentor, guide and work along dozens of communities and nonprofits that want to build a trail in order to have a safe, accessible place to be physically active in the outdoors. Mike listens to each community and their specific needs and priorities regarding a trail and provides invaluable support and technical assistance every step of the way.”
Salud + Bienestar’s mission is to provide information to empower, lead and connect community members to live a healthier life within the traditional Spanish-speaking cultures. They provide relevant health information and education to help Spanish-speaking individuals work through the barriers they face when addressing complex issues, such as navigating the health care system, gaining access to affordable fresh and nutritious foods and bringing community members closer together.
Shelley Rich, who nominated Salud + Bienestar, said, “They are passionate about the health of residents in North Wichita and are a trusted source of information. Salud + Bienestar goes above and beyond to promote health and fitness to those they serve. Their work as a liaison between health and social services and the community has improved the access, quality control and cultural competence of the service delivery to the Spanish-speaking community.”
C. Clyde Jones of Manhattan turned 99 years old in December 2021. For nearly a century, he has modeled, encouraged, and promoted health, fitness, and wellness in the broadest sense. Jones was the leading force in organizing the Community Health Council, bringing community partners (city, county hospital, school board, public health, etc.). In addition, Jones wrapped up his 10th Annual C. Clyde Run last fall, which raises funds each year for Shepherd’s Crossing, a local philanthropic organization.
Connie Satzler, who nominated Jones, said, “Physical activity and fitness are a pillar of Clyde’s lifestyle and legacy. His efforts in developing coordination and collaboration among health care providers has had a lasting effect of making health more accessible to low-income populations and more efficiently delivered. He is always looking for new opportunities to get involved in the years ahead to better his community and to keep making new friends along the way.”
Colby United Methodist Church (UMC) has participated in programs that seek to address food insecurity, such as partnering with the school district and other organizations to support the Summer Food Service Program for their community. They have worked with the Thomas County Coalition to start a community garden, plus Colby UMC has worked with additional partners in the community to support a free bike-share program.
Katie Schoenhoff, who nominated Colby UMC, said, “Colby United Methodist Church has long demonstrated an outstanding level of commitment and service to the health and wellness of both congregation and community, going beyond expectations to address not only immediate needs but also the underlying social determinants of health. Their partnerships with local organizations have supported both the sustainability of their efforts and increased community engagement.”