United Way. Habitat for Humanity. Big Brothers Big Sisters. Rotary Club. Suicide Prevention Committee. Leadership Newton.
The list of local organizations Kim Manring is involved in goes on and on. She said volunteering gives her purpose and also helps define her.
Because she often works behind the scenes, she might not always get to meet the people these organizations serve face-to-face. However, for her, volunteering isn't about receiving a "thank you." It is about quietly making a difference. For her efforts, Manring has been honored with one of this year's "Woman of the Year" awards.
"Kim not only has a compassionate heart for individuals, she has a visionary mindset for the community as a whole," said nominator Tina Payne, executive director of the Harvey County United Way. "A combination of these two important attributes is not always found, and makes her even more invaluable to the organizations/causes she serves."
"Volunteering for me is as important as working," Manring said. "It's my way to give back."
Manring — who is employed at Fuqua Ruth Typer Insurance in Newton — started volunteering with United Way in 2007 as the campaign chair and has served in various roles since. Payne said Manring just chaired the second-highest United Way campaign in the organization's history, bringing in more than $330,000.
Others in the community have highlighted more of Manring's accomplishments. She served as president of the Newton Rotary Club from 2012-2013 and promoted suicide awareness, helping to bring Harvey County's suicide rate below the national average for the first time in 10 years.
Manring encourages others in the community to look for ways to give back. Although hectic schedules can make it challenging to find time to volunteer, she said giving back is a worthwhile investment. You can give funding or you can give time; find what you are passionate about, whether it is pulling weeds at the local arboretum or filling volunteer spots at the homeless shelter.
She said she made volunteering a priority in her life as a way to give back after all the opportunities she has experienced.
"The best way to give back is to give of myself," she said. "... It's not about the thanks. It's simply knowing that we made a difference."
"Kim understands that giving your time is both an investment in your community and also an investment in yourself," said Rod Kreie, Newton Rotary member. "She does this unselfishly, not expecting anything in return. She does this quietly, not expecting recognition, and is rewarded by knowing that she made a difference."