On Dec. 15, Cris Collier will no longer work for the Convention Bureau in Great Bend. She has served this community for many years and will be missed.
There are just some people that get things done. I honestly don’t think the Kansas Wetlands Education Center would be what it is without her huge effort. She had such a clear vision of how it should be and the fortitude to fight for her dream. She unabashedly and without hesitation took on city, county, state and national entities in her quest to “get it right.” She has withstood criticism and challenges from lots of different agenda-driven groups-- and remained true to her dream. She has a state and national presence in the organization of Convention Bureau groups and has had Great Bend, the Scenic By-way, and Kansas on her banner every time. They know where she lives and who she represents and respect her energy and enthusiasm. She was instrumental in establishing the “Friends of Cheyenne Bottoms” and watched it like a hawk in its infancy. She championed the zoo when it was struggling. Her photography contests and ideas about the Scenic By-way have been a focus of her efforts from the inception. She envisioned and created a union between the communities of Hoisington, Stafford, Ellinwood, Claflin and Great Bend that gave each community a profile and visible place on the By-way and a sense of unity that is rare when cities compete for funding and tourists. She has generated elegant brochures and pamphlets and a mobile dialogue for the Bottoms in conjunction with Ft. Hays State at the Education Center. She has displayed huge talents in combining and separating various groups to keep the focus precisely clear on Great Bend and the By-way.
When Cris hosted the state meeting for the Convention Bureau group in Great Bend, I was honored to meet and visit with several of her counterparts from other communities. Rick Dykstra from Junction City was very eager to express his respect and admiration for Cris and Great Bend, as did everyone else I met at that meeting. Rick took me to some sacred spots on the Nature Conservancy ground near Junction City. That would not have occurred without Cris’s recommendation. We got some great buffalo pictures.
There are lots of other things I could say-- but I won’t expose her soft side. Great Bend will be better for years to come due to her efforts-- we say “thank you so much” and wish you the very best as you travel along the road of life.