When Sarah Krom says she was surprised to receive two recent awards, she is telling it like it is. After all, she missed both formal presentations while attending simultaneous meetings in Manhattan.
Krom is coordinator of the recycling and General Public Transportation operations at Sunflower Diversified Services. She earned awards for her roles in both.
The Kansas Organization of Recyclers Appreciation Award honored Krom for her efforts to help the environment and for providing employment opportunities for individuals with special needs. Sunflower, which serves people with developmental disabilities, owns and operates First Step Recycling in Great Bend.
Krom’s "work provides structure and jobs to those who might not otherwise be afforded the opportunity," according to a KOR statement. "(She) supports important social services, and serves Great Bend – and Kansas — in a role that is above and beyond."
Krom is a founding KOR member and its past president.
The other recognition came from the Kansas Public Transit Association, which bestowed on Krom its highest honor – the Willie M. Murry Award. Murry was a dedicated community leader and major supporter of Kansas’ public transportation services.
The award honors those who have carried on Murry’s spirit by providing distinguished service to the entire Kansas public-transportation community for a sustained period of time, according to the KPTA.
The nominating letter that led to Krom’s recognition states: she "is a dedicated community leader and a major voice for all Kansas transportation services providers. Her knowledge and insight are truly exceptional. Sarah is a leader not a follower …"
The letter also notes Krom’s advocacy skills and refers to her as a professional who genuinely cares about the people in her community.
Krom said she appreciates the awards but is quick to note Sunflower staff members and others deserve much credit.
"This is a real honor but the awards belong to the dedicated staff that work in Sunflower’s recycling and transportation departments," Krom said. "We also appreciate the recyclers who care about the environment and the passengers who use our buses and vans for transportation. And, of course, the people we serve have my gratitude for all they do every day."
Sunflower serves infants, toddlers and adults in Barton, Pawnee, Rice, Rush and Stafford counties. The non-profit agency is celebrating its 45th anniversary this year.