There are countless people raised in Great Bend who are proud of their hometown. But none have exhibited more pride than Jan Westfall.
For her unmatched enthusiasm and commitment to the Great Bend community, she received the 2014 Citizen of the Year Award Saturday from the Great Bend Chamber of Commerce and Economic Development.
Westfall was born and raised in Great Bend, and attended Barton Community College where she performed as a vocalist and a cheerleader. Her skills for generating excitement and rallying support have been valuable to the Chamber and this community, and has earned Westfall the unofficial nickname of Great Bend’s greatest cheerleader.
“When I think of a volunteer and Great Bend, I think of Jan Westfall. She represents both to the highest standard,” said Jim Vopat, a longtime friend. “Red — as I like to call her — is always upbeat and whistling and bringing a smile to others. She sets the bar for what it means to be a Great Bend citizen.”
Early in her career as manager of The Chandelier Shop, Westfall quickly found her strengths in sales and relating to her customers. Her people skills and outgoing personality helped her excel in sales for the retail, media, and healthcare industries over the past three decades.
Despite her busy professional life, she found time to volunteer for numerous fundraisers for area foundations, such as the Central Kansas Medical Center Fall Follies. For Barton Community College, she volunteered in the “Dancing with the Barton Stars,” event and chaired their annual dinner and auction.
Today, Westfall is active at First Presbyterian Church, serving as an elder and a deacon, and serves on the board of the Family Crisis Center. She is also an active member of the Noon Lions Club.
In addition to her personal and professional commitments, Jan’s most well known for her involvement with the Great Bend Chamber of Commerce and Economic Development. Westfall has been serving the Chamber for nearly 30 years, starting when the female Ambassadors were called Diplomats.
As an Ambassador, Westfall has been a role model for countless professionals who have come through the group in three decades, also taking her turn as President of the Ambassador Club. The past four years, she has also served as a member of the Chamber’s Board of Directors.
“Even more significant than the countless other ways Jan has served the Chamber and the Great Bend community over the past 30 years, her dedication and commitment to the Great Bend Farm and Ranch Expo is the main reason she is deserving of this award,” said Jan Peters, President/CEO for the Great Bend Chamber of Commerce and Economic Development. “When we transitioned from a bi-annual show to an annual exposition, Jan was an enthusiastic cheerleader for the show promoter, our volunteers, and the exhibitors who make it happen. She is the face of the Farm and Ranch Expo to many, many people.”
Westfall assists the production company with sponsorship sales, volunteer recruitment, and facility preparations — all with a cheerful whistle and a smile. For all three days of the show, you can see Jan on her golf cart helping welcome the exhibitors, volunteers, and spectators. What you might not see is the countless hours she puts in before and after the growing regional event.
“Jan is a big reason for our show’s success,” says Curt Mauler, 2014 Great Bend Chamber of Commerce and Economic Development chairman. “Our show promoter, Darren Dale, has strengths in developing exhibitor relationships and event logistics, but Jan has the charisma and the connections to sell the show and the Great Bend community to those she meets.”
Jan lives in Great Bend with her husband, Larry, and enjoys singing, playing guitar, and serving her community.
Annually, the Chamber recognizes outstanding service by an individual who contributes to the quality of life in Great Bend. The award winner is also someone who gives of their time, talent and energy to help the Great Bend Chamber of Commerce excel. Additionally, the award recognizes people who provide outstanding service to the community, or it recognizes people who have excelled in their chosen professions and serve as role models in the community.
“Citizen of the Year” Recipients
2013—Roger Murphy; 2012—Rick Ball; 2011—Glenn Opie; 2010—Wally Straub (posthumously); 2009—Bob Dema; 2008—Sheryl Cheely; 2007—Bob Parish; 2006—Bill Berryman; 2005—Terry and MelEasa Stueder; 2004—Ron Koelsch; 2003—Danny Biggs; 2002—Jean Cavanaugh; 2001—Orville Huss; 2000—Mark Calcara; 1999—LeRoy Dringmann; 1998—Don Whelan