Volunteer of the Year

El Dorado Branch YMCA 

Kyle Loucks is the Volunteer of the Year award winner for the El Dorado YMCA and is a nominee for the overall Greater Wichita YMCA Volunteer of the Year Award that will be presented at the  Annual Celebration to be held March 10th.  As the El Dorado Y Volunteer of the Year, Kyle will be presented with a plaque at the event. 

Kyle Loucks is the El Dorado YMCA Volunteer of the Year

“Our volunteer of the year, Kyle Loucks, works at the front desk,” said Matt Engel Branch Director of El Dorado YMCA. 

“She is our ultimate gretter. The regulars who come in in the morning expect to see her at the front desk,” said Engel.  She is part of our family and part of our culture. She is definitely the life of the time when she is here.”

Loucks has volunteered at the El Dorado YMCA for 6 years. 

“My favorite part is greeting people,” said Loucks. “And I like helping them feel happy and healthy.”

“Kyle has the best attitude,” said Engel.  “She does towel runs and will help wherever she can.”  

  “Volunteers of the Year at the branch level are selected for the exceptional work they do to make the Greater Wichita YMCA better. Their length of involvement with the Y and the impact they make on all those around them are part of the selection process,” said Angela Cato, Director of Marketing for the Greater Wichita YMCA.

William Allen White and the KKK In Kansas

Beverley Olson Buller, author, educator, and Chair of the William Allen White Children’s Book Awards, will be at the Butler County Historical Society Home of the Kansas Oil Museum on Sunday, February 20, 2022 at 2 p.m. as part of the museum’s Sunday Speaker Series.

Beverley Olson Buller, author, educator, and Chair of the William Allen White Children’s Book Awards

She will be speaking about El Dorado native William Allen White’s efforts to outlaw the Ku Klux Klan (KKK) in Kansas.   

As the editor of the Emporia Gazette, White was acutely aware of the growing presence of the KKK in Kansas following World War I, according to Buller.

The 1920s saw the re-emergence of the KKK across America, and sparked fear and violence against African Americans and other minority groups. 

During the 1924 Kansas Gubernatorial campaign, White observed that none of the candidates were free of Klan influence, and decided to run for the governorship to free Kansas from the disgrace of the Ku Klux Klan.

While he did not win, his efforts led to a Kansas Supreme Court ruling that outlawed the Klan in Kansas

Tickets can be purchased for a $10 donation to the museum at 383 E Central Ave, in El Dorado, or by calling (316)321-9333.

New Police Chief Selected

     The City of El Dorado has made its selection for the next Chief of Police and their announcement was made via the City of El Dorado Facebook page on Tuesday, January 25th.

     Mike Holton, Lieutenant with the El Dorado Police Department has been selected to serve El Dorado as the next Chief of Police.  

Mike Holton has been selected to serve the City of El Dorado as Police Chief upon the retirement of Curt Zieman on March 25, 2022.

     Holton has been in law enforcement in El Dorado and Butler County for more than 33 years. He most recently returned to the El Dorado Police Department in 2019.

     “I’m deeply honored to have the opportunity to serve the City of El Dorado as your next police chief,” said Holton. 

     “I’m equally honored to step into the shoes of a man who served this community for over 40 years, Curt (Zieman, Police Chief) also served as one of my mentors over the last 20 years.”

     “I truly look forward to serving this community by building relationships with community groups, community organizations and the citizens of El Dorado,” said Holton.

     “I look forward to serving the city of El Dorado along with outside agencies in an effort to keep El Dorado a safe place to live, work and play.”

“Holton will be promoted to Deputy Chief within the week,” said Julie Clements, Municipal Information Officer for the City of El Dorado. “He will work and learn under Chief Zieman until [Zieman] retires on March 25th.”

Search for New El Dorado Police Chief

On Thursday, January 13th, the public was invited to meet and greet the final four candidates for the job of El Dorado Police Chief. 

The current Police Chief, Curt Zieman, retires on March 23, 2022. 

Craig Holloway, Kevin Kichler, Mike Holton and Dirk Budd are the final candidates for the position.

El Dorado City Manager David Dillner introduced each of the candidates during the Meet & Greet. From left to right: Dillner, Dirk Budd, Kevin Kichler, Craig Holloway and Mike Holton.

Throughout the day Thursday, each of them interviewed with city staff, met community members and youth, and participated in activities which enabled them to display the skills and talents they would bring as the next police chief.

“We appreciate everyone’s participation in the day’s activities and the feedback that will help the City Manager to make the best decision on the next police chief,” said Julie Clements Municipal Information Officer. 

David Dillner, El Dorado City Manager, will review all the  information from the day’s events before making a final decision. 

“We hope to make a decision in the next couple of weeks,” said Clements.

Barefoot Racer Raises Awareness for Footprints ICT

Thomas Plush races barefoot in OCR

Thomas “The Barefoot Wonder” Plush is how MudGear Battle of the Lions (BOTL) Pro-Team identifies their newest team athlete. But Plush is so much more than that.

Thomas Plush races barefoot to raise awareness for Footprints ICT.

He identifies himself as a husband and father, first, a nurse, fireman, barefoot runner with the team and most recently he added the title of 2021 OCR Relay World Champion.

Obstacle course racing (OCR) is a sport where competitors, traveling on foot, must overcome various physical challenges in the form of obstacles. Races can vary from Ninja Warrior-type races, to track races or urban and cross country races. In cross country races, mud and trail runs are often combined and designed to result in mental and physical collapse.

These obstacles can include climbing over walls, carrying heavy objects, crossing bodies of water, crawling under barbed wire, and jumping through fire. Many of the obstacles are similar to those used in military training, but some are unique to obstacle racing and are used to test endurance, strength, speed, and dexterity.

But what sets Plush apart from other competitors is that he races barefoot. In addition to winning 1st place in the 2021 Team Relay World Championship in the Open division, Plush is the first athlete to complete an OCR World Championship barefoot.

“I race barefoot when I can,” said Plush. “I have always loved being part of a team to work with others and improve myself,” he said.

“OCR is usually an individual sport so I was thrilled to get the opportunity to join a Pro Team that has made their name known all across the world.”

“[I] can’t wait to see how my performance improves as an athlete, and as a person, by joining the BOTL Pro team,” he said.

The reason behind his running barefoot is what makes his accomplishments even more meaningful. Plush runs barefoot to raise awareness for Footprints ICT, a non-profit organization with a mission of protecting feet, one pair of socks at a time.

Why Socks? According to Director, Marsha Potvin, socks are the most requested item of clothing by shelters serving the homeless population and they are the least donated item.

“Foot ailments caused by a lack of good socks send more homeless people to the ER than any other reason,” said Potvin.

Footprints ICT also provides socks for “sock drawers” to schools in the Wichita area. “Students have a hard time focusing on school when their feet are cold or wet,” she said. When Plush is not running barefoot, he wears MudGear socks for recovery. Pro Team

sponsor, MudGear, provides performance apparel for outdoor competitors and is billed as rugged, tactical gear for top athletes competing in OCR, trail running and outdoor endurance events.

“I truly believe that MudGear will help an athlete succeed and their socks and compressions do just that.”

His next race, the Yeti- 5k with 20+ Obstacles, is scheduled for January 29th in Kansas City.

This is a 5k with 20+ obstacles intended to get you up and out of the house preparing for an amazing 2022 events season.

To learn more about Footprints ICT, visit their website; www.footprintsict.org