Jefferson Award Winner: Phyllis Fitzgerald

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Highlighting Local Volunteers

The Jefferson Awards engages the Partners in our communities to highlight local volunteers. The goal is to spotlight the great work they do and to inspire our community to put their service ideas into action.

From the 2019-2020 Honorees, a local panel of judges select one winner that will travel to Washington, DC. to represent Northeast Kansas.  From the nationwide winners, one will be selected for the national Jefferson Award.

This Jefferson Award winner is full of ideas on how to make her community better, and she has the energy and passion to make it happen. 

It doesn’t matter how many steps it takes, if Phyllis Fitzgerald comes up with an idea that can help Junction City, Kansas be better or more beautiful, she’s all in.

“When people get off the interstate and they roll into Junction City I know I as well as everybody else here would love for everybody to leave her with a good first impression,” Fitzgerald said. 

She and a group of friends started picking up trash around town on Saturday mornings.

“In the last five years, I can tell you that we have picked up over 100,000 gallons of trash.”

Her passion and desire to go-go-go led Phylis to run for mayor a few years ago, and she won.

Even today she’s still a city commissioner.     

Junction City Police Chief, Dan Breci recognized Fitzgerald’s passion for her work. 

“Phyllis is a ball of energy, we call her the energizer bunny,” Breci said. “She has given back forever since I’ve known her, and when we talk about a volunteer we talk about she’s number one on the list.”

In the last two years, Phyllis was back at it again with a big idea.

She helped create an adopt a soldier program at Fort Riley, allowing local families to host soldiers so they feel more at home.

“I understand the feeling because when I left home I was 17,” Fitzgerald said. 

Phyllis wound up getting stationed at Fort Riley and earning one of the highest rankings in the army.

After serving our country for nearly two decades she retired from the army, but really she never stopped serving.

If you live in the Flint Hills area and would like more information on how to sponsor a soldier through the Flint Hills Home Away From Home Community, click HERE.

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