Siemens selected as one of 19 Kansans statewide to receive a Kansas Health Foundation Civic Health Heroes Award.
Retired Pratt Chamber of Commerce Director Jeanette Siemens has been selected as one of 19 Kansans statewide to receive a Kansas Health Foundation Civic Health Heroes Award for which she was presented a plaque and a Civic Health Heroes t-shirt.
“It’s humbling, very humbling,” Siemens said of the honor.
She was nominated for the honor by Brandie Osenbaugh, who got to know Siemens as a member of the Leadership Pratt Class of 2014.
Osenbaugh, a stay-at-home Mom taking on- line classes through Ft. Hays State University with an eye toward graduation with a degree in elementary education in May 2020, said her participation in the Leadership Pratt program was life-changing.
That’s why, she said, earlier this year when she was browsing the Kansas Health Foundation website and saw the call of nominations for the Heroes Award, she knew she wanted to nominate Siemens.
“My immediate thought was of Jeanette,” Osenbaugh said. “She does many things for our community, including starting the Circles pro- gram to help educate people in our community about poverty.”
Siemens is one of the founding members of Circles of Hope and she said it was one of her “most rewarding” endeavors. She has been a civic leader in Pratt since moving here in 1967 with husband, Jerry, as new owners of the Dairy Queen, then a walk-up business at the corner of Champa and First Street.
They later relocated the business to South Parke and Highway 54, where the Verizon Store is now located. During the 1970s Siemens owned and operated a fabric store and a bridal shop, both on Main Street.
Before her three-year radio stint with KWLS (now KMMM), she served as Director of Development for Pratt Community College.
In 2006 Siemens concluded 15 years of service retiring from her position as manager and economic development director for the Pratt Area Chamber of Commerce.
Siemens was also a key player in the rebuilding of Greensburg following the May 4, 2007 EF5 tornado, serving as the devastated city’s chamber manager and economic development director.
Most recently, she and daughter Jeanine — who has followed in her Mom’s footsteps and is Chamber of Commerce Director for Emporia – had a consulting firm “Think Out” which focused on strategic planning and community development.
Currently, along with her civic activities, Siemens is most focused on family. Husband Jerry retired from his own home repair and remodeling business and is now working at Home Lumber. Daughter Joni operates Joni’s Stitch by Stitch on Main Street. Sixteen- year-old grandson Cole is ready to begin his junior year at Pratt High School.
Siemens said that when she takes time from her civic and other activities, she likes to sit in her meditation garden in a sheltered area at the entrance to her home to contemplate. She uses this quiet time to recharge the inspiration that friends say has been making her life a blessing to the Pratt community for half a century and counting.