Outstanding Citizen Award

The Outstanding Citizen Award

Each year, we recognize an individual who is nominated by the community and selected by a committee to be the year’s Outstanding Citizen. The Outstanding Citizen award is a highly esteemed recognition given to someone in our community who exemplifies hometown pride through service and engagement. This is someone who devotes an extraordinary amount of their time to the betterment of Newton.

If you know of someone who fits this description, we would love for you to nominate them for the Outstanding Citizen Award! Nominations for the 2022 Outstanding Citizen Award closed on September 2nd, 2022. However, there is always next year to nominate someone! Be sure to check your Chamber email, or follow us on Facebook to receive updates on when the next round of nominations open for 2023.

Once a nomination form is submitted, it is reviewed along with other nominations by the past 5 award recipients, who select the winner. The nominee selected for the award will not be aware of their nomination, so that when they are announced at the Chamber Annual Banquet, it will be a pleasant surprise! The 2022 Annual Banquet will take place on October 19th, 2022.


2021 Outstanding Citizen – Desiree Martens, Mirror, Inc.


Desiree Martens, Vice President of Prevention Services at Mirror, Inc. in Newton, KS, was named 2021 Outstanding Citizen at the Newton Area Chamber of Commerce Annual Banquet on November 10th, 2021.

Des Martens has a long list of character traits and involvement that qualify her for the designation of 2021 Outstanding Citizen. She moved to the Newton area in the 3rd grade and is a Hesston College alumna. Following college, she served as a Registered Nurse, which ignited a passion in her to invest in the field of prevention and health promotion in Kansas communities. Since then, Des has been a cornerstone of prevention work in our community. She created the Harvey County Drug-Free Youth Coalition, Mirror’s nationally recognized STAND program, and helped start the Harvey County Behavioral Health Coalition. On top of these efforts, she has brought in thousands of dollars of funding and resources to our community, while increasing collaboration and bringing national recognition to Harvey County.

In 2018, Martens received the Kansas Prevention Leader Award for exemplary work in community mobilization and is also a graduate of the Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America’s National Coalition Academy. She is also a trainer of trainers in SAMHSA’s Substance Abuse Prevention Skills Training, Ethics in Prevention and other evidence-based prevention programs.
Martens has served as a leader in many local organizations, including the USD #373 Drug Policy Team, Harvey County Behavioral Health Coalition, Newton Substance Abuse Advisory Board, Community Health Improvement Plan (CHIP), Governor’s Behavioral Health Services Planning Council Prevention Sub-Committee (Vice Chair), Kansas Prevention Conference Planning Committee, Newton Area Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors Executive Committee, Leadership Newton Committee, Hesston City Council, and her church’s prayer and event teams.

The Newton Area Chamber of Commerce would like to thank Des for the extraordinary love that she shows to our communities, and the great work that she has done in service of others. Congratulations, Des Martens, our 2021 Outstanding Citizen.


Past Award Recipients

Below is a list of everyone who has received an Outstanding Citizen award:

1985 – George J. Hannah

1986 – Millicent Claassen

1987 – Walter Claassen

1988 – Bradford Wells

1989 – Katherine Hanna

1990 – Arthur Delmez

1991 – Tom Walker

1992 – Phil Anderson

1993 – Lloyd Smith

1994 – Dick McCall

1995 – Max Graber

1996 – Frank Spangler

1997 – Ted Ice

1998 – Tom Adrian

1999 – Charles Koehn, Sr.

2000 – Chuck Waters

2001 – Ray Penner

2002 – Evelyn Gregg

2003 – John Robb

2004 – Merrill Raber

2005 – Sue Ice

2006 – Willis Heck

2007 – John Suderman

2008 – Christine Downey-Schmidt

2009 – Dewayne Pauls

2010 – Bill Hake

2011 – Virgil Penner

2012 – Steve Kelly

2013 – Nancy Craig

2014 – Ron Harder

2015 – Jim Nickel

2016 – Dr. Milton Claassen

2017 – Jessie Kaye

2018 – Tom Williams

2019 – Ron Lang

2021 – Desiree Martens