Who is that young lady with paint stains on her gray sweatshirt, painting store front windows in downtown Alliance on any given day? Who is that person wearing a silly costume that somehow benefits our community? Why do I spot her picking up trash?
It is our greatest pleasure and honor to nominate Kathy Worley for Person of the Year, 2019.
The Alliance Community is a better place to live, thanks to the efforts of our citizens. However, there are times when one person stands out among the crowd and deserves to be recognized.
Kathy is an individual who cares deeply and passionately for not only our community, but our county, our state and our country.
One of Kathy’s earliest contributions to the residents of Box Butte County was serving as Director for United Way. This required working with local entities and individuals to secure funding for many local non-profit organizations. One aspect of her excellent performance is that of doing a fantastic job distributing the money broadly. Many organizations benefited from her efforts. In addition, Kathy initiated the rebirth of the Cinco de Mayo celebration in Alliance. Her work with United Way provided her with many skills and experiences as she moved into a new position with Keep Alliance Beautiful.
Kathy is the Director for the successful KAB (Keep Alliance Beautiful) program. KAB is a non-profit whose funding relies on grants and donations. Its impact on our community is evident. Under Kathy’s leadership, KAB has been recognized statewide for its recycling efforts through community impact. The business window painting done by Kathy, highlights upcoming events and activities in our community. Upon conclusion of the event, Kathy returns and cleans the paint from the windows. Any proceeds from Kathy’s paintings are donation- based which go directly to KAB. During Kathy’s previous position with United Way, the window painting occurred as well. One day Dave Pearse happened to notice Kathy painting a storefront window. He stopped and told her she is like a Bob Ross. Mr. Ross appeared on the NETV network where he taught and discussed painting. Kathy responded with, “There are no mistakes, just happy accidents!” During Kathy’s previous position with United Way, the same held true.
Kathy led the effort to implement curbside recycling pick up. Kathy is seen working next to her staff to make this possible. It has been very successful and offers recycling to those individuals who may not be able to deliver items to the various recycling sites around town. Also, Kathy was instrumental in finding places where cigarette butts could be deposited. There are sculptured pieces located in the downtown area which help solve this problem. Thanks to Kathy’s artistic abilities, a mural was painted at the Alliance Animal Shelter. How about finding a use for plastic bottle caps? Kathy and her staff partnered with Carnegie Arts Center to design two murals made solely from bottle caps. The community responded and as a result, 40,000 bottle caps were collected. The first mural, of an Alliance Bulldog, consumed all 40,000.
This mural was placed on the outside wall of the Alliance Chamber of Commerce building. A second mural, depicting a cow in the pasture will soon be on display at the Knight Museum.
Residents from the Assisted living facilities, Girl Scout members and missionaries from the Mormon Church, have all pitched in to help with the completion of this second project. One additional note on Kathy’s community support with Keep Alliance Beautiful is that of picking up trash, after hours, upon the conclusion of Heritage Day activities. As you guessed, recyclables are kept separate. Keeping Alliance eco-friendly: CHECK.
Kathy grew up in Alliance and attended Alliance High School. One of Kathy’s great-great aunts, Mabel Rebecca Worley, started Worley’s Studio. She passed away in October 1930. Her grandfather, Glen Worley took over the business in later years. Her father, Duane, joined the family business after that. Worley Studio was a well-known name in Box Butte and surrounding counties for photographic excellence. Stephanie (Sutton) Mantooth became friends with Kathy upon Kathy’s return home in the 90’s. Stephanie began work for Worley Studio in the early 90’s, working with Glen and Duane. After Glen’s passing and Duane’s retirement, Kathy took over the studio. Later, the studio was closed and Kathy took on freelance work. Kathy also worked at House of Photography for a period of time. Later on, Kathy came to work for Steph Mantooth, where Kathy put orders together, assisted Steph with printing pictures and helping with school pictures. Steph commented, “The kids absolutely loved Kathy at picture time.”
Currently, Kathy still helps Steph with school pictures and does a “little bit of everything.” During an interview with Steph, she said. “Kathy will do anything she can to help someone else out. She puts herself above others.” Another comment from Steph is, “She has a heart that does not stop.”
Kathy has raised four children: A.J. Reyes; Nick Anderson, Brit Wandermann, Ollie Anderson and has two grandchildren: Cruz and Oskar.
Kathy also works as a supervisor for United Parcel Services in the evenings. She understands the demanding hours the drivers put in during the holidays and will make breakfast enchiladas and cinnamon rolls for the Saturday crew. Kathy also volunteers for Open Table. Kathy is a “mover and a shaker.” She is currently working with community members in the futuristic planning for a program called “WASTE NOT PERISHABLE FOOD RESCUE.” This program would work with local food entities and result in picking up food items which otherwise might have been thrown away. These items would then be made available to help feed those in need. The program is in the early stages of development and Kathy’s role is to assist with locating and securing grants to help fund this new program. Kathy has extensive background writing grants which support the many projects she is involved with. Her experiences as Director of Box Butte County United Way and currently, KAB, result in securing money to support community projects.
Kathy shares her knowledge of a green environment with students in the Box Butte County Schools. They are encouraged and challenged to recycle and become aware of environmental issues. Kathy’s abilities to communicate with kids is matched by her skills in Art. Kathy teaches both environmental and basic Art to students at The Alliance Rec Center. During Heritage Days,
she has participated in Art in the Park. At one point in time, Kathy taught Art to students at Hemingford and Antioch Schools.
Kathy is sensitive and perceptive to the world around her. Steph Mantooth simply states, “Kathy will do whatever it takes to help someone else out.” She has been involved in the TeamMates program, serving as a Mentor to a student in the Alliance Public Schools. She served as a role model and encouraged her mentee to be the best she can be. She connected with the young lady assigned to her and promoted the skills and attitudes for feeling confident and empowered as a young woman. Kathy has assisted persons traveling through Alliance who were hungry and homeless. She helped by working with local churches to secure food and lodging.
Kathy is a member of the Alliance Episcopal Church where she serves as lay leader. She also volunteers, with others, when needed, as an Arts and Crafts instructor for Canterbury Kids. Children come to the church on Wednesday’s after school, where they are given opportunities in Arts and Crafts. Sherrie Feddersen offered this about Kathy, “When you call and ask her to help with something at the church, she is always willing to help.”
A special gift which Kathy has been blessed with is a sense of humor. Her participation in Alliance Chamber events such as Hollywood Squares and the Gong Show, see her dancing or singing with other community members all dressed in silly costumes. She dressed for the part of Edith Ann during the Hollywood Squares skit at Newbury’s; participated in the Lip Sync contest with her group who have won the event the past two years and has worn a cowboy costume and another time dressed the part of Charlie Chaplin for the Gong Show. Kathy never sees herself as being too serious. She can laugh at mistakes and has such a positive outlook on life that is contagious to all of us who know her. Maggie Brittan defines Kathy as a “GOER” and a “DOER.” In addition, she describes Kathy as, “Giving, Devoted, Creative, Fun and Generous.”
Kathy is aware and sensitive to the needs of our four-legged friends who need love and attention. She has painted a mural at the Alliance Animal Shelter and once found an abandoned kitten to which she gave a home. The kitten is named BOO! Kathy also introduced the DOG PLUNGE at Big Blue Bay which “WENT THROUGH THE WOOF!” This was held at the end of summer and gave dog owners a chance for their pets to cool off. There are also instances where Kathy has helped “dog sit”, when their owners are out of town. She has helped do house sitting, (and when it snows, scoops the sidewalk and driveway) watering a Christmas tree or getting mail while residents are away from their homes. Once again, willing to help if needed.
Kathy is a member of the local Rotary Club, attending meetings and participating in activities. She is a member of the Alliance Chamber of Commerce, representing KAB. Kathy has donated her time to Dobby’s Frontier Village, helping with painting and repair work.
Kathy is one who works toward a solution and does not like to focus on the problem. The word “NO” is not in her vocabulary. Kathy is a “ONE IN A MILLION.”! Delinda Neville shared a personal thought when she said, “You can travel for miles and not find a more “COMMITTED” individual. When God handed out gifts, he gave our community an exponential portion in Kathy Worley.”
Kathy Worley is one of those people who will not take credit for their gift of giving. Maggie Brittan offered this special statement describing Kathy in her work and making Alliance a better place to live: “Invisible is equal or more, compared to visible.”
Now you know who that young lady is who’s wearing a paint-stained gray sweatshirt painting storefront windows in Alliance. Yes, she has earned the title of “PERSON OF THE YEAR 2019.”