I’m Not Finished Yet

I’m Not Finished Yet

By Kathleen Swift • Photo by Artistic Expressions Photography “I’d wanted to be a fire fighter since I was a kid,” said Jimmy Burgess, “but my friends were joining the military, and up to that point, I had no plans. I joined the Air Force reserves and eventually ended...

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Honoring Our Military – Featuring local veterans

Honoring Our Military – Featuring local veterans

Articles and photos by Amy Howe Fredric R. Wheeler II Hometown: Des Moines, Iowa Current Town: Joplin, Missouri Branch: Navy | Rank: LCDR (04) MOS: 8402 Independent Duty Submarine Corpsman as enlisted Physician’s assistant as a warrant officer and pediatrician as a...

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Casting a Line in the SEK: An Anglers’ Paradise

Casting a Line in the SEK: An Anglers’ Paradise

By Connor J. Ossowski, District Fisheries Biologist Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks & Tourism It was the first day of what felt like summer without the consistency of the forecast showing a chance of rain. It was 5:30 in the morning, and I was heading out to...

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True North: Developing Leaders

True North: Developing Leaders

By Kathleen Swift Jimmy Burgess envisioned a new style of team building and leadership training that would operate in a military style. It would be a place where veterans and others could discover strengths in themselves and do things they didn’t know were possible....

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!Editor’s Letter


The Home of the Brave

The year of 2020 has proven our need for bravery. It has been a year that has challenged us, stretched us and reminded us of what really matters. July marks the half-way point. Half the year is behind us and half of the year is ahead. We have 6 months, including this one, to make an impact. Approximately 180 days to show resiliency by facing our obstacles with compassion and strength. In this edition, we feature individuals who set the example of community, and we highlight communities that respect the strengths of individuals.

There is no better example of bravery than the men and women who joined our armed forces. The definition of bravery is the ability to act with courage when faced with adversity. In the “Honoring Our Military” section, we recognize men and women who are currently, or have in their life, stood tall for something bigger than themselves and exemplify the meaning of bravery. Their act of courage assured our well-being and safety. From the Air Force to National Guard, turn to page 56 and learn the names of the soldiers who impacted our lives, even though we have never met.  

SMTO features Southeast Kansas. In the “Faces of Southeast Kansas” section, you will meet healthcare professionals who provide quality and compassionate care to patients. You will learn about community members who are organizing events we have grown to count on, small business owners who are committed to serving the community and community advocates who are doing their part to make SEK the best place to call home. Even through this challenging time, SEK is banding together to make this year the best year yet.

We feature local experts committed to making a positive impact. Holly Hukill’s feature answers the question we have all been asking: How do we make the best of this summer? Holly shares tips and activities to turn your backyard into a wonderland of fun for children, family gatherings and a summer get-to-together. She shares games and activities that are inexpensive and mobile. Turn to page 24 and start planning a fun day in the sun, without the inconvenience of packing the car to travel.

As always, I want to take the time to thank all the local businesses and advertisers that make this magazine a reality each month. We appreciate you! I also want to remind our readers the value of shopping local. Now is the time. By shopping local, we create jobs for our friends, family and neighbors. We contribute to improve infrastructure and invest in our community, both socially and economically. As I opened this letter, we have 6 months and approximately 180 days to make our impact on 2020. Let’s be brave and make a difference.

Happy 4th of July! 

Lee Radcliff


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