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Stoss named Hoisington Citizen of the Year
hoi kl stoss
Darlene Stoss was named Citizen of the Year at the Hoisington Chamber of Commerce annual banquet last week. She is most known for her volunteer work with the Labor Day clowns. - photo by KAREN LA PIERRE

HOISINGTON — Darlene Stoss, long-time Hoisington area resident, was named “Citizen of the Year” at the Hoisington Chamber of Commerce banquet.
Stoss is known for work with the Labor Day clown project as well as other volunteer projects.
For the last decade or so, she has collected bicycles to take to Ellsworth Correctional Facility for its bicycle rehabilitation program. Each August, she picks up  12 bicycles to hand out to children at the Hoisington Labor Day parade.  Bikes, toys and candy are handed out by clowns and others dressed in costumes.
Not only are bicycles handed out to children who need them, toys ranging in price from $10-$25 are handed out as well as candy. Plus, Stoss realized, if a child could not afford a bike, they also could not afford a helmet, which is also expensive. So, she has started to buy those as well.
All of Stoss’s family participate, including her four children, her grandchildren, as well as her great-granddaughter making it a four generation event. Other volunteers help as well.
“We have a good time,” she said. They use golf carts and four wheelers to deliver the items along the parade route.
“It takes a lot of money to buy,” she said. So, Darlene holds fundraisers, buys toys herself, and receive’s donations from local businesses, organizations, individuals and the chamber.
“I try to buy on sale,” she said and keeps a sharp eye out for discounted toys all year long. They spend about $2,000 for toys each year.
Although for years and years, penny candy was handed out at the parade, with Stoss’s work more candy, toys and bikes have been added. “It’s just fun to see the kids enjoys the toys and candy. It makes for a fun day for our kids.”
The nomination submission and comments by family also show appreciation for Darlene’s contributions. “Darlene Stoss has mastered the art of persuasion. I am privileged and honored to call her friend,” were some of the comments on the nomination submission.
For years, the Stoss’s had a carriage refurbishing business. They would bring into town a horse drawn carriage for rides for kids before Christmas on Saturday afternoons.
The Stoss’s have retired from the carriage business and from full-time farm work. Darlene also retired from driving the school bus for 36 years.
The first fundraisers for the clown committee will begin in March. There will be a pulled pork lunch fundraiser on March 2 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Bingo begins at 1:30 p.m., all at the Hoisington Activity Center.
Also planned for later this year is Mud Volleyball.
“It’s just for the enjoyment of the kids,” said Stoss.