our vision, mission, and passion
Every human being, young or old, should be provided the opportunity to achieve his/her fullest potential while participating in and contributing to all aspects of life.
It is our mission to advocate for, support, and teach individuals with developmental and intellectual delays and/or disabilities to reach their potential and achieve their maximum level of independence.
Our passion is to help individuals with developmental and intellectual delays and/or disabilities to achieve whatever dreams their hearts desire while assuring them and their families that they have the right to do so.
Their Dreams aren’t any different than anyone else’s.
To feel loved
Having a family they can rely on
Enjoying a family relationship
Enjoying community with others
Having their own place
Seeing the world
Having a job
Contributing to their community
To be accepted by everyone.
And much much more!!
In 1960 nine families, by the grace of God, happened to hear about each other and the fact that they had something very precious in common - small children with learning disabilities. They all agreed to get together and start meeting with one goal in mind - to determine how they could best help their children develop more like normal children.
In the 50’s & 60’s, most families simply placed their children into institutions because they weren’t trained how to care for their children who were born with intellectual disabilities. But these families were more determined than that. They started meeting monthly as a support group and to research ways to develop a curriculum that could possibly help their children improve their developmental skills. In 1963 they officially became the Barton County Association for Retarded Children. It is entertaining to read in the monthly meeting minutes about their early meetings and how they would talk about their kids, brainstorm training curriculum ideas and they always ended the meetings with coffee, cookies or pie. The women would take turns baking for each monthly meeting.
Eventually they were able to secure a portion of the Jefferson Grade School in Great Bend Kansas which turned into the Jefferson School Special Ed class room. They quickly grew to 68 members and they decided to grow their service model to include school age children, young adults and older adults. In 1966 they began meeting in their newly built facility which was located on south main just across the Arkansas River bridge. The new facility was a metal building built on land donated by Charles Hulme.
In 1969 the Dominican Sisters wanted to help and they proposed to ARC that a stand alone program be developed for adults. ARC quickly endorsed the Sisters proposal and the program HOPE was born. HOPE started serving 12 adults on the 3rd floor of the old St. Rose Hospital on Broadway in Great Bend, Kansas. In 1970, the Kansas Legislature introduced and passed House Bill 1379 authorizing other Kansas counties to establish similar comprehensive programs as Barton County ARC & HOPE had done. They saw the difference that formal training and support could make in the lives of people with development disabilities. The legislative bill also gave Counties the authority to levy tax support for services specifically designed to help our intellectually disabled citizens in Kansas.
In 1972 HOPE, Inc and ARC Children’s Program consolidated into one single service organization. In 1976 this organization became Sunflower Diversified Services. And now each year, this organization serves over 125 adults, 36 to 42 Pre-school age children and 120 to 140 infants from birth to 3 years old.
Director of Human Resources
Vicki Keffer is the Human Resources Director for Sunflower Diversified Services, Inc. She is a graduate of Barton County Community College where she was a member of Phi Theta Kappa National Honor Society. Vicki also served as the state President of Business Professionals of America and national Vice President.
Prior to joining the team at Sunflower she worked for nearly 15 years at CPI Qualified Plan Consultants (CUNA Mutual Retirement Solutions) as a Senior Manager for the Education & Enrollment Services team and later the Educational Institutions team. During that time, she also earned her securities license series 6 and 63, life insurance license, Tax-exempt & Governmental Plan Consultant (TGPC) designation from the American Society of Pension Professionals & Actuaries, and her Patient Protection & Affordable Care Act Certification (PPACA) from the National Association of Health Underwriters.
When she isn’t busy handling her responsibilities at Sunflower, she enjoys traveling with her family and playing with her grandson. You can reach her at SDS-HR@sunflowerdiv.com or call 620-792-1321.
John Lichter is Director of Facilities Management at Sunflower Diversified Services, Inc. He is a graduate of Barton County Community College. After 16 years with Airco and Mobil Oil, John owned and operated John Henry’s Restaurant in Ellinwood for 26 years. The restaurant was noted for great food at reasonable prices. His career experience in business management, staff management, and sales is a huge value to Sunflower. John and his wife Connie reside in Great Bend.
Director of Facilities Management
Director of Nursing
Brandy Loomis became Director of Medical Services for Sunflower Diversified Services, Inc. in 2018.
Her tenure in the Home Health industry (eight years) supporting those in their later years and helping them have the best quality of life possible combined with her tenure working for the Larned State Hospital has made her a great Director of Medical Services for Sunflower. In addition to her professional experience, she actually worked for Sunflower in our residential program for three years giving her insight into our quality service. She truly understands the day-to-day needs of our clients – medically as well as their daily living.
She is a longtime resident of Great Bend, KS which includes graduating from Great Bend High School. Brandy earned her Nursing Degree and license from Barton County Community College. She resides in Great Bend with her husband Tommy and their three beautiful daughters. Her favorite past time is being with her husband and kids. For fun Brandy loves reading, spending time outdoors, and kayaking.
Director of Planned Giving and Community Support
Cody Harris started his career at Sunflower Diversified in 2013, working in the day services program. From their he advanced to being the Community Employment Specialist. Cody has also helped in other departments such as general public transportation and residential services. In 2020 Cody was promoted to Director of Planned Giving and Community Support.
Cody attended school at Fort Hays, but didn't know what his calling was, but eventually realized supporting and advocating for individuals with disabilities is where his heart was at. He is an active member of the community. He is involved in the Chamber Ambassador Club, as well as the Noon Lion's Club.
Cody is a Deerfield, KS native. He moved to Great Bend to be with his wife Maggie who works in Public Relations at Barton Community College. Cody has 3 beautiful daughters and excited to raise them in this wonderful community and is proud to call Great Bend home.
Director of Compliance and Quality Assurance
Amanda Urban moved to Great Bend, Kansas in 2001 with her husband Kirk and their four children from Hoisington, Kansas. He was her high school sweetheart. They are both avid sports enthusiasts and their children have followed suit in regard to sports. They have traveled all over Kansas and the surrounding states participating in softball tournaments watching their children compete. Amanda and her husband have volunteered for various coaching opportunities for Baseball and Softball. She and her husband have also had the heart for being foster parents and helping children in need of parental support and guidance.
Amanda attended Barton County Community College. Her educational journey also includes formal certification as Sunflower's Certified Mandt Instructor, Certified CPR/FA Instructor and Certified Job Placement Specialist.
She is a member of the Prince of Peace Parish, Kiwanis, Legislative Advocacy & Leadership Academy, Quick Silver Softball Secretary, PTA, and enjoys volunteering for community projects.
Sunflower Diversified Services, Inc. has been fortunate to have her on the day-to-day team as well as the Leadership team since 2006. She has expertise in direct care at our manufacturing facility, supportive home care, residential services, staff development, and therapeutic/retirement services. Her management experience is of great value to our agency as it includes: Community Employment Manager, Training Manager, Director of Adult Services, and currently our Director of Compliance and Quality Assurance. Amanda is also on our Emergency Response Team and a member of our Safety Committee.
BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Scott Donovan is an employee owner with Eagle Radio of Great Bend. He started his radio career in July of 1983 on KHOK as a nighttime radio DJ. He is currently the Director of Sales, Program Director, Music Director and Morning Show Host on 100.7 Eagle Country KHOK. He was the 2002 Chairman of the Kansas Association of Broadcasters and currently serves on the KAB Foundation Board. He has also received 30 KAB awards for production, programs, and promotions throughout his 35-year career. And just received the 2017 KAB Sonny Slater Award for Community Service. Scott was also recognized in 2018, as the Company Lead Eagle in Local Radio Sales, for Eagle Communications. He has been the Market Leader in radio sales for 13 consecutive years in Great Bend.
He joined the Board of Directors for Sunflower Diversified Services, Inc. in 2002 and he currently serves as Board President. He is also serving as Board President for Central Kansas CASA. Scott’s heart for his community includes board membership of Knights of Columbus Club, and Pastoral Council for the Prince of Peace Catholic Parish. He is a member of the Great Bend Noon Lions Club, Great Bend Farm & Ranch Expo Committee, Great Bend Optimist Club, Job fest Committee, Great Bend High School Site Council, Heartland Cancer Patient Care Committee, and Miss Barton County Pageant. He was an Ambassador for the Great Bend Chamber of Commerce from 2009-2015, Chairman for the 2006 Barton County Relay for Life, 2004 President of the United Way of Barton County, and he volunteers as an emcee for many local fundraising banquets and events every year.
He was also the recipient of the 2008 Great Bend Greater Award from the Great Bend Kiwanis Club. He and his family were recognized as the Dodge City Diocese Knights of Columbus “Family of the Year” in 2006. Distinguished Graduate Award from St. Patrick’s Catholic School in 2007 and is a National Distinguished Service Award winner from the Boy Scouts of America in 1986. and was the North Central Region Chief for the Order of the Arrow from 1982-1984.
Scott and his wife Mary are the parents of two beautiful girls Michala and Emma. He is also a cancer survivor and a lifetime resident of Great Bend.
Edmund L. Oborny
Edmund Oborny joined our board in 2008 and he is currently our Board’s Secretary/Treasurer. His professional experience as a college professor as well as a CFO for LaCrosse Furniture Co. has made him a perfect member for our Board.
Ed grew up on a farm and graduated from Fort Hays State University in 1964 with a B.S. degree in Mathematics, and earned an M.S. degree in Mathematics at Oklahoma State University in 1965, attending on a National Science Foundation full-ride grant. He also completed 30 additional credit hours in mathematics at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, WI while serving as a Graduate Teaching Assistant.
Ed married his wife, Carol, in January 1967 in Chicago and began teaching at the University of Northern Iowa (UNI), Cedar Falls, IA as an Asst. Professor of Mathematics where he remained through 1972. Having heard about a new furniture manufacturing operation starting up in Rush County he started pursuing one of his dreams which was to return to his home area to help develop more opportunities for young people so they could enjoy the value of remaining in central Kansas after completing their education. After teaching at UNI for six years, he moved with his wife and three young children to LaCrosse, KS. In January 1973, he took a position as Office Manager/ Controller at LaCrosse Furniture Co. As a new company, he was very instrumental in the start-up process, and basically taught himself the finer points of accounting and business management as the company developed. He held the title of CFO for about 25 years, and served the last five years prior to his retirement in June 2007, as the Executive Vice-President in charge of all Plant operations. Ed remained on the board of directors of LaCrosse Furniture Co. through June 2016.
After returning to LaCrosse he also gradually returned to farming, initially as sort of a hobby farmer, later working to expand their farming operation as the interest of his youngest son, Brian, grew. He is currently semi-retired, remaining engaged in farming with Brian. Today Ed and Carol, now his wife of 51 years, live on the original farmstead his grandparents settled in 1906. They have four married children, six grandchildren, and a dog named “Petey” that pretty much runs their lives.
He has held various Church and Community positions throughout the years. Upon retiring from LaCrosse Furniture Co., Ed wanted to continue serving in some useful capacity and found that an opening existed on the Sunflower Diversified Services, Inc. agency board. He is especially proud of the outstanding service this unique non-profit organization provides to any developmentally disabled individuals, young and old. "The management team and staff are so dedicated, so passionate about their work", and he has truly enjoyed his ten years of service on this board. One unique interest that Ed enjoys…he has taught himself to play a button accordion, more or less, and since his wife plays piano accordion they love to entertain shut-ins and residents at local nursing homes.
Lisa Milton joined our Agency Board in 2017 and her years of experience as County Treasurer for Stafford County provides our Board and our overall Agency some incredible insight into budgets and how counties manage their budgets. This is critical because Sunflower Diversified Services, Inc. is dependent on mill levy funds, grants and certain appropriations from the five counties we serve. She served in that public position for over 12 years. Her tenure is a huge tribute to the job she was doing because this position is an elected office and the county residents were raving fans of her ability. She retired from that position in 2017. In addition to her tenure as County Treasurer, she worked for Stafford County for over 28 years.
Lisa works full-time helping her husband Ivan farm and ranch the family business in Stafford County, residing in Hudson, KS. Lisa and her husband were blessed with two amazing children, daughter Christa and son Jacob.
Lisa’s heart is totally committed to what Sunflower does for people and her quote to the local newspaper proves it all - “I want to use all my experiences to encourage more support for Sunflower in Stafford and the other four counties,” She also commented. “I want to be part of giving clients opportunities to learn new skills. And providing employment and lifestyle options not only helps Sunflower clients but their families too. I know families in Stafford County that are so pleased to see the levels of independence reached by their loved ones.”
Cheri Moeder joined our Agency Board of Directors in 2017. Her career experience has filled an expertise gap that we’ve had on our Board for years. Her insight in these areas will make a big difference in our ability to increase our revenue so that we can grow our quality service focus for the clients we serve.
Cheri’s background includes, more than 30 years in the employee benefits arena (CPI Qualified Plan Consultants) and two years helping a software company build a national brand (Envisage Information Systems in NY). She is currently the grant coordinator at Clara Barton Hospital. Her focus and love has long been marketing which provides a valuable insight into helping Sunflower establish a better recognized brand in the five counties we serve.
Fifteen years ago Cheri began teaching herself how to sell effectively on eBay, Etsy, NexTech, and others, so she also brings to the Board experience in internet sales and marketing using a variety of websites. That experience will help Sunflower do a better job marketing the products our clients build (door mats, wood products, art creations and furniture).
Cheri understands and appreciates that Sunflower Diversified Services, Inc. is an extended family to its clients, and she eagerly joined that family in her new position as a member of our non-profit agency’s board of directors. She is one of three Rush County residents currently serving on the board of directors. Cheri’s husband Norbert is very supportive of her work with the Sunflower board of directors.
Cheri was born in Florida, but was raised in Kansas spending the majority of her life living in LaCrosse. Cheri and Norbert are blessed with three sons and a daughter who are now providing them with the greatest blessing of all – grandchildren!