There were tears at Tuesday night’s Hays Area Chamber of Commerce Annual Banquet as the organization gave its highest award posthumously to a business leader whose service still shines, and another award to a woman who turned grief for her daughter’s death to action.
Lonny Claycamp, a long-time Chamber volunteer and a vice president at Insurance Planning, died in September at age 61. He served on several industry boards and local organizations such as the Chamber, Ellis County Relay for Life, Kiwanis, the American Red Cross, Tiger Club and VFW Sons of the Vets.
“There is a saying that if you shine brightly before you pass away, your brightness will shine for all time,” master of ceremonies Ken Windholz said in introducing the award at the banquet in Fort Hays State University’s Memorial Union Ballroom.
“No words could be more true in describing our Hall of Fame recipient,” he said.
“Lonny’s life was filled with love and laughter and he easily shared those with so many. His legacy will continue to live through the selfless work that he did for Hays,” Windholz said.
Claycamp was so proud to live in Hays, he immortalized it in an engraved brick at the Downtown Pavilion, Windholz said. The brick includes the names of his family — wife Rebecca and children Brad Claycamp and Nicole Raymor — and “proud to be part of Hays, the greatest community in Kansas.”
“We think this is exactly something a hall-of-famer would believe,” Windholz said.
Claycamp’s wife and daughter accepted the award.
The Citizen of the Year Award, for an individual in recognition of service over the past year, was given to Christie Brungardt, who, with her husband, Curt Brungardt, founded Jana’s Campaign in honor of her daughter, Jana Mackey.
Mackey was killed by her ex-boyfriend in 2008. A student at the University of Kansas, she had volunteered to help victims of sexual assault and domestic violence. Jana’s Campaign advocates against domestic and sexual violence through education programs for youth across the country.
Brungardt is also an assistant professor of leadership studies at FHSU and is a fellow for the FHSU Center for Civic Leadership and directs the FHSU Women’s Leadership Project.
Brungardt, Windholz said, has “truly inspired many because of her compassion, unwavering dedication and continued commitment to helping others to be the very best versions of themselves they can be.
“Her work in civic engagement service learning here at Fort Hays State University has substantially contributed to positive change through various community projects. Her legacy will live long through her teaching and her service,” he said.
Also receiving awards at Tuesday’s banquet were:
• ARC of the Central Plains, Helping Hands Award, given in recognition of a nonprofit or employee for improving the quality of life for Hays Residents.
• Olga Detrixhe, Nex-Tech, Rising Star Award, given to a young professional demonstrating service and leadership in their profession.
• Werth Wealth Management, Small Business Achievement Award.
• Carol Staples, Flowers by Frances, Business Woman of the Year.