Cheryl Conard had learned about Sunflower Diversified Services over the years and liked what she heard. And now the rural Timken woman is in a position to directly help the people served by the non-profit agency.
Conard is the new member of Sunflower’s Board of Directors. The agency serves infants, toddlers and adults with developmental delays and disabilities in Barton, Pawnee, Rice, Rush and Stafford counties.
“I became interested in Sunflower when my husband, Terry, was a Rush County Commissioner,” she recalled. “He always spoke highly of Sunflower and always believed it provides great services.”
(County commissions in Sunflower’s service area provide some funding to the agency.)
Conard’s interest was sparked again when a respected friend asked her to attend Sunflower’s Charity Gala. “We took him up on the offer and have attended ever since,” she commented. “He then asked me to join him on the board to represent Rush County and I was given a tour of the facilities.
“I was so impressed and agreed to serve,” she added. “I have a great deal more to learn and am eager to contribute. I hope I can make decisions to help Sunflower remain solvent and strong, while discovering more about the needs of clients, families and staff members.”
The non-profit agency’s programs are vital to all the communities it serves, Conard noted. It provides services that “allow clients to be productive members of society – no matter the extent of their disability.”
In addition, she said, Sunflower can make life much easier for families who often are not equipped to give their loved ones all they need to reach new levels of independence.
Conard attended Fort Hays State University for a year and raised three children. She then worked at a bank and for the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation. Conard also worked for La Crosse Furniture Co. for 30 years before her retirement.
Edmund Oborny, the friend who sparked Conard’s interest in serving on the Sunflower board, said he is pleased she decided to join.
“Cheryl is a conscientious and caring person,” said Oborny, rural Bison. “She takes this service to heart, and she and Terry are long-time Sunflower supporters. Cheryl is concerned about the people we serve and their families. We are tickled to death she has joined us.”
Like Conard, Oborny was looking for a worthwhile organization to serve when he retired. “I toured the facilities and knew this was what I wanted to do,” he recalled. “It is so rewarding to be able to help people live more independent lives.
“Sunflower deserves strong representation in each of its five counties,” he added. “Our voices need to be heard.”
Oborny, board secretary, also emphasized that Sunflower staff members are dedicated to clients and families.
“It is not just a job to them,” he explained. “They are professional and caring. Compared to them, the board plays a minor role. This is a tremendous organization and we are privileged to be part of it.”
Sunflower Executive Director Jon Prescott said the agency is “extremely fortunate to have Cheryl on our board. She adds a ton of value to our leadership talent and our vision of the future. Since Rush County is very important to Sunflower, adding Cheryl to our team is a valuable achievement.”
Sunflower is in its 51styear of serving families in central Kansas.