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Bonine honored as the Chambers Citizen of the Year
dan bonine
Dan Bonine receives applause during the Great Bend Chamber of Commerce Awards Banquet on Saturday. - photo by COURTESY PHOTO

It’s been about 10 years since Dan Bonine retired from First Kansas Bank, but a former colleague there had no problem listing reasons his friend deserves recognition as the Great Bend Chamber of Commerce Citizen of the Year. “Dan has been a tireless leader and volunteer in Barton County during the past 41 years,” said Paul Snapp, president and chief executive officer of First Kansas Bank. “Much of his volunteerism has centered around youth but he has also devoted many hours to our area’s economic development.”
“This Citizen of the Year honor is a fitting recognition from the Chamber, given Dan’s record of service in a multitude of areas for our community.” Snapp and Bonine worked together at the bank for about eight years; Bonine was president and CEO at the time of his retirement in 2007.
Bonine has filled many roles in local and state organizations throughout the past four decades but he also should be congratulated for his recruiting and mentoring talents, Snapp pointed out.
“He was great at recruiting people to our community and is the best mentor I have ever known,” Snapp commented. “And it isn’t just me who would say this. Many others have shared with me that Dan’s mentorship had an outsized impact on their lives and careers.” “In addition,” Snapp elaborated, “many of the people Dan recruited and mentored went on to have very successful careers in Barton County and across the state.” Snapp added that Bonine was instrumental in recruiting high-quality leaders to entities such as the city, the county, local school districts, Barton Community College and economic development organizations.
“All these factors combine to illustrate that Dan’s personal and professional integrity is an inspiration to all,” Snapp said. “He consistently deflected credit to others for efforts he led. He lived by the motto of ‘catch people doing something right.’ He always addresses difficulties in a positive way and makes them learning opportunities for himself and others. Dan gave many people a hand up – anonymously.”
Bonine earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in agriculture and economics at Kansas State University in 1965 and 1970. He served in the Kansas National Guard during the Vietnam era. Following college, and while still serving in the military, Bonine worked for the KSU Extension Service as a 4-H agent in Emporia, and ag agent in Council Grove and Scott City. He began his banking career with Merchants National Bank in Topeka and accepted a position at American State Bank in Great Bend in 1976. He began working at First Kansas Bank in 1999.
Bonine has served many entities including: the USD 428 Board of Education; USD 428 Education Foundation, of which he was one of the founders; BCC Foundation; CKMC Hospital Foundation; Mid-Kansas Economic Development Commission; Great Bend Day Care Board; Presbyterian Church; Kiwanis Club; Kansas 4-H Foundation; Boy Scouts; Petroleum Club; Kansas Bankers Association; American Bankers Association; Golden Belt Swim Club; and Wheatland Electric.
Bob Parrish recruited Bonine to serve as the informal leader of the group that erected the memorial to early Barton County farmers, “Breaking the Prairie Sod” at 10th and K-96. The late Ray “Jiggs” Schulz had donated money for that purpose.
“Dan loves this community and he loved his work,” Jan, his wife, commented, noting he continues to volunteer. “We had lived in Scott City and liked western Kansas. The people here are friendly and welcoming, and we made friends quickly. It’s been a great place to live, work and raise a family.”
The Bonines, who will celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary in April, have three children. Carver lives in the Kansas City area; Jilinda resides near London in the United Kingdom: and Dave is a Great Bend resident.