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WICHITA, Kansas — A Wichita police captain received quite a surprise on the job Friday.
John Speer thought he was just going to a meeting at city hall when the mayor and city manager surprised him with the Excellence in Public Service Award.
They also gave him a $2,500 check.
“I don’t know if I’m deserving of such recognition, but all I can say is thank you,” said Capt. Speer.
The Devore Foundation also awarded Kimber Kasitz, a school nurse with Wichita Public School District USD 259 and Jay Holmes, a community corrections administrator with Sedgwick County.
Here is more information about this years winners:
John Speer has been a Wichita Police Officer for more than 25 years, serving in a variety of complex assignments. He has helped lead major homicide investigations, coordinate complex security arrangements for dignitaries, and develop innovative strategies to reduce gang violence in the community. He has worked closely with downtown leaders to develop policing strategies for Intrust Bank Arena and Old Town district. His community service includes the Board of Directors of the Wichita Federal Credit Union and treasurer of the Sons of the American Revolution. Throughout his career, he has volunteered as a mentor to many, including disadvantaged youth, students, and fellow professionals. He is a respected and tireless partner of numerous law enforcement agencies, including the US Attorney’s Office, the Sedgwick County Sherriff’s Office and the FBI.
Kimber Kasitz is in her fourth year as an employee of the Wichita public school district and is the first school nurse to serve at the newly opened Martin Ortiz Elementary School. In addition to providing ongoing care for the school’s 375 students, Kasitz coordinates staff wellness programs such as the Biggest Loser, the Diva Dash 5K run, health education classes and Body Mass Index screenings for parents. Active in the community, Kasitz serves as lead coordinator the first Sunday of the month at the Lord’s Diner, responsible for coordinating 45-50 volunteers who feed homeless residents and others in need. Kasitz has also served on the Via Christi Foundation Committee for the Emerald Ball, which benefits the Gerard House for pregnant teens in Wichita. She is an active member of her church, Blessed Sacrament, where she is a Catholic Youth Advisor and frequent participant on youth mission trips and events.
Jay Holmes has been a Sedgwick County employee with the Department of Corrections for 23 years. As a community corrections administrator, Holmes has earned an excellent reputation in the field due to his calm and collaborative approach and an exceptional ability to establish and maintain positive relationships. Over the past five years, Holmes has been charged with changing the culture of community corrections. He championed use of evidence- based practices developing new skills in his staff. Since 1995, Holmes has volunteered countless hours to coach several youth soccer teams. As a coach, he emphasizes the importance