Dena Patte of Ellis Alliance won a We Kan! Award -- but she didn't know it. The awards are first presented at the Kansas Sampler Festival, held in May. Those who aren't present are awarded in a variety of other ways in the following weeks and months.
WenDee and I were on our way to Sherman County to do our guidebook research. We intentionally went through Ellis to present Dena her We Kan! award plate. About 15 minutes before we got to Ellis we had the idea to call the city office and see who they could round up to be at Dena's award presentation.
We drove into town and parked several doors down from Dena's office. At the same time people started coming out from the shadows, or so it seemed. They came from the alley, down the street, out of vehicles. Within a few minutes, 14 people had assembled.
We all filed in to Dena's office and everyone just sort of stood around with smiles on their faces. Dena didn't know what was going on. WenDee and I walked in last.
On this Monday morning, Dena had been doing some wrap up of the weekend's event in Ellis and was a little tired. You see, Dena does everything, all out for Ellis. She's the kind of person that makes a town click. People like Dena are the reason why people will volunteer because they want to support her and they know everything will be done well. The Dena Patee's of the world don't expect or really care about recognition but they are the reason why a small community works.
It was only fitting that 14 people from her world were willing to drop what they were doing and show up for an impromptu presentation. Dena's award was appropriately titled - Doing Everything, All out.
We all went back to our planned agendas after that with a kick in our step and a light in our heart. It was pretty neat to have the mayor, the former mayor, the banker, the newspaper, the city workers, and others all show up in a matter of minutes to show appreciation for one of their own.
Thanks for all you do, Dena.
From the road by Marci Penner