Archive for Thursday, February 17, 2005

Chamber names mayor Citizen of the Year

February 17, 2005

Eudora Mayor Ron Conner was recognized Saturday as Eudora's Citizen of the Year. The Eudora Chamber of Commerce bestowed the honor at its annual dinner.

Chamber President Theresa Abel presented the award to Conner for his willingness to serve the community and to always put the interests of others before his own.

"When the city is in a crisis, Ron is there to help," Abel said.

She said when a storm hit the Eudora Nursing Center a few years ago, Conner was there working with emergency crews and making sure the center had the supplies and food it needed. And when the city of Eudora was hit by a major storm in 1993, before Conner was mayor, he postponed tending to damage to his own home until Eudora was taken care of.

"When the storm hit in 1993 and Eudora citizens were without electricity and basements were flooded, the crews were working all night," Abel said. "Ron was out with them, holding flashlights and making sure they had everything they needed including food and drinks. At the same time, his home also had a flooded basement, but it didn't get attention until the city was in good shape."

Conner was elected mayor in 2001 and is nearing the end of his first term. Because of professional responsibilities that have kept him away from Eudora for extended periods of time, he has decided not to run for re-election.

Before serving as mayor Conner was on the Eudora City Council for 12 years, from 1987 to 1999. He served as council president for several of those years.

Conner moved to Eudora with his family when he was 5 years old. He graduated from Eudora High School in 1973 and from Kansas State University with a bachelor's degree in architectural engineering.

He and his wife, Charlene, have been married for 29 years and they have two grown children, Matthew and Crystal.

Conner is a member of the Eudora Lions Club and Eudora United Methodist Church. He was a board member and president of the Eudora Amateur Baseball Association. He has served on the board of directors of the K-10 Corridor Association and is currently serving as treasurer.

Conner has also been a supporter of the community's Relay for Life and a leader for local Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts.

Abel said when Conner took office he wanted to unite the City Council, and prepare for growth to the city.

"In many ways his personality was ideally suited for the position," Abel said. "He was a calm but firm presence at Council meetings, who kept focus on the issue...He made his well-reasoned views known without becoming partisan or personal. The only agenda he appeared to have was what was best for the city."

Conner appeared to be surprised by the award, smiling and shaking his head during the lengthy introduction that chronicled his achievements as mayor and as a citizen of Eudora.

At the dinner, the Chamber also recognized Marilyn Neis for her years of service to the Chamber of Commerce.

Since the Chamber was established in 1991 Neis has volunteered and served as secretary for several years.

"She is one of those people who never takes credit, yet deserves a great deal of it," Abel said. "Her efforts for the Chamber, the EudoraFest, her church, her family and work make so many things go better for the community."

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