2022 Newton Area Women of the Year

Since 1956, our program has honored Newton area women who give freely of their time and talents to make our community a better place to live. Clubs, organizations and individuals are asked to nominate women from the community involved in community and civic service, education, religion, the arts or business, who have made a positive difference in the community. Each year, three outstanding women are chosen by a panel of judges to be honored as Women of the Year. The WOY Advisory Committee oversees the Women of the Year program and hosts the recognition event. Newton Area Women of the Year is a component fund of Central Kansas Community Foundation, meaning it is managed under the foundation’s 501(c)(3) umbrella for the benefit of our mission to honor Newton-area women making a positive difference

Susan Lamb
A formal and informal educator that genuinely cares about all community members, with a mission for creating community resiliency.

Susan is a dedicated and passionate volunteer. She cares deeply about the community and organizations of which she’s a part. Her care is shown thru active involvement and engagement. Though her past volunteer roles would be too numerous to name, she is currently involved in the following volunteer capacities:

  • Hesston Board of Education Member
  • Kansas Mennonite Relief Sale Board Member and congregation liaison
  • Hesston Mennonite Church JYF co-coordinator
  • Hesston Mennonite Church Hospitality Chair

Susan is a very enthusiastic leader in Hesston – the community we both live in. She is always brainstorming and implementing fun events to enhance community. For over a decade, she has coordinated a summer weeklong camp for 6th and 7th graders, called H-Town. The group tours a variety of businesses in Hesston and eat lunch each day at a local restaurant. Both of our boys participated in H-Town and really enjoyed learning why Hesston is such a great place to live.

Further, Susan is assisting to get permanency for the Harvey County Drug Court by organizing an advocacy team. This team will share the hopes and challenges of court participants. Giving people who made a poor choice some local supports and not jail time will ultimately create more contributing members of our community.

She is also currently in a contractor capacity for Disaster Response coordination at CKCF. Following the 2017 shooting event in Hesston, Susan was determined to add man-made incidents as part of preparation and preparedness for disaster response. She far exceeds her contribution of time the grant allots to this role, going so far as reaching out nationally to local community foundation after mass shooting events occur to lend a message of compassion but also making herself a known resource to share community resiliency strategies to guide their recovery.

Susan is married, has two grown children and loves being a grandmother.

Tami Lakey
A visionary entrepreneur giving back to our community and providing space for youth and families to succeed.

Newton is Tami’s hometown, and she loves this city with her whole self. She is giving of her time, energy and resources as she innovatively cares for this community. When Tami worked as a library aid at Slate Creek Elementary in 2015-17, she recognized a growing desire to provide a space in her hometown where youth could gather for needed community and connection. Out of that desire came a much-needed program for the Newton community: Later@Norm’s. Norm’s Coffee Bar was for sale at the beginning of 2017, and So Shine Foundation saw an opportunity to invest in a business that could fund the initiative. Santa Fe students have now been hanging out after school in her spaces (now @ The Porch: 724 N Main, having outgrown the coffee bar’s capacity for the amount of students!) for five school years, and there has been a fantastic overflow of life produced from it! 

Later@Norm’s is cultivating a multigenerational atmosphere that is uniting high school students (some former attendees!) and adults to volunteer their time, investing in this next generation of Newtonians. She has donated generously of her time, too many occasions to count, as this business has grown deep roots and seen much fruit. Norm’s mission statement of Coffee, Community, and Connection has Tami’s DNA all over it. 

The Table is a weekly free community dinner at The Porch, that seeks to build meaningful community within families, build a deeper sense of belonging TO our families AND our town, and build a stronger future FOR our families and town. She is the visionary leader behind all of it, but you will see her at Norm’s cashiering, after school playing UNO with students, and serving up a delicious plate of dinner at The Table… every.single.time. 

With all this she is deeply invested in her faith and family as a wife, mom and newly a grandmother!

Sandie Kueker
An innovative health professional, civic member, wife and mom that makes a difference in our community because she cares.

Sandie and her husband, Adam, own Hesston Pharmacy and Harvey Drug, two successful locally owned pharmacies in our community. Even before the pandemic, it was fantastic to see their success and know that local business owners were making a real impact on the health of our community members. This work of Sandie’s alone is an outstanding contribution to the Newton area. 

Yet, in addition, Sandie’s work during the pandemic has been beyond any expectation. Once vaccines were available, it was a real issue (on the local, state, and national levels) to best understand how to get vaccines to as many people as soon as possible. Our local health department did not have the capacity to do this work alone and Sandie and her staff at Hesston Pharmacy and Harvey Drug really stepped up to provide broad access to those in our community.

Sandie’s compassion for helping those in our local community and the state is unparalleled and the compassion shines through in her work. In addition to vaccine distribution clinics, she has worked with local schools to make sure children had access to the COVID-19 vaccine and worked with other pharmacies to teach them how to successfully run large-scale vaccine clinics in their own communities. She also utilized the pharmacy to serve as a COVID testing site through the state program and this has led to a large increase in access to free testing for our area.

In addition to all this she is involved with Newton Lions Club and is an active wife and mother.