A longtime city staffer, a veteran city councilmember and former mayor, and a proprietor of one of the area’s best known locally owned businesses were recipients of this year’s Prairie Village Community Spirit Awards.
Given each year to residents and business people who have made remarkable contributions to the city and community, the awards are announced each year at the start of Prairie Village’s annual VillageFest Fourth of July celebrations. This year’s honorees were:
Former Mayor Laura Wassmer
Wassmer served on the city council from 1998 until she became mayor in 2015. She completed her term in the city’s highest elected office in 2019, wrapping up more than two decades of public service to the city.
She served on several committees during her time in office, overseeing a wide number of issues and events, from improvements to code enforcement to statuary preservation to marketing and communications efforts.
“As Council Person and Mayor, Laura demonstrated her commitment to the City’s parks and trail system,” Mikkelson said. “She led the implementation of the Parks Master Plan to enhance city parks and recreation programs, including the redevelopment of the pool complex, the construction of the skate park, the acquisition of new parkland for both North Park and Meadowbrook Park, and the expansion of city trails and sidewalks.”
The new park being built on the site of the Former Faith Lutheran Church, originally called North Park, will be named in her honor when it is dedicated in the coming months.
Former City Clerk Joyce Hagen Mundy
Joyce Hagen Mundy, the longtime city clerk, received a Lifetime Achievement honor as well.
When she retired in January, she had worked for the city for more than 30 years, interacting with countless residents and city officials along the way.
“Joyce has mentored and provided direction to employees in the City Clerk’s department, provided a high level of service to the community; and she was a vital component in helping to create and plan community events that have become an important tradition for many families.”
Mely’s Yogurt & Ice Cream Owner Mely Ballard
Mely Ballard has been dishing up ice cream and frozen yogurt to area residents for decades, greeting customers with a natural warmth and friendliness that keeps them coming back. But her presence in the community is felt far beyond the walls of her Corinth Square shop.
With her deep involvement in community events and volunteer efforts, she’s left a big impact across Prairie Village. She bakes the gingerbread houses that families decorate ahead of Christmas, an event that raises funds for the Prairie Village Foundation’s summer scholarship program.
Mikkelson read the words of Liliana Lin, who nominated her for the award.
“Everyone enjoys talking to Mely – she is personable, friendly and caring,” Lin wrote. “Young and old gravitate to her ice cream whether it is spring, summer, fall or winter! Mely represents Prairie Village in everything she does and says. She is a great supporter of our community.”