WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) — A City of Wichita employee got a big surprise Monday during what he thought was just a work-related meeting. The Wichita city manager, mayor and council members showed up and presented Reginald “Reggie” Davidson with an Excellence in Public Service Award.

The awards go to three public service employees each year – a City of Wichita employee, a Sedgwick County employee, and a Wichita Public Schools employee. We will find out the other winners later in the week.

Wichita City Manager Robert Layton (L) shakes Reginald “Reggie” Davidson’s hand as he announces Davidson is the winner of the 2022 Excellence in Public Service Award, April 25, 2022. (KSN Photo)

During a meeting of some Wichita Parks and Recreation personnel, City Manager Robert Layton called Davidson, superintendent of recreation, to the front of the room and shook his hand.

“Reggie, I want to congratulate you on being the 2022 award winner for Excellence in Public Service,” Layton said. “You were picked for your leadership of the recreation team, for ‘Teamwork makes the dream work,’ as I understand is a phrase of yours, your inspiration, and the way that you’ve built your team and asked them to dedicate their service in an enthusiastic way to people here in the community.”

He said Davidson was also chosen because of what he does outside of work.

“You have leadership roles with the Boy Scout Council, with your church, with the Kansas Recreation and Park Association, so again, I want to congratulate you for giving to the community, giving to the state, and serving all the folks here in the recreational division and also the parks department,” Layton said.

Then the city manager, the mayor and the council members presented Davidson with a $2,500 check from the DeVore Foundation.

KSN spoke to Davidson after the meeting. He said the award was a big surprise.

Reginald “Reggie” Davidson (KSN Photo)

“It’s overwhelming, and can’t put it into words,” he said. “Definitely was a surprise to me, and I’m just excited to have an opportunity to represent the City in this capacity and that my peers thought enough for me to recommend me for it.”

“I’m always teaching that the importance of teamwork and teamwork wins, and to see that people are supportive of that and being able to reach some of the goals that we have as a department, as a City, is appreciated.”

Davidson has only been in Wichita for about four years. Before moving here, he did similar work in Austin, Texas.

“I care about the community,” he said. “I care about the people that we’re actually serving. (I) want to make sure that we actually make an impact to influence some persons’ lives, that they can move and do something positive, constructive with what they’re doing for their life goals and plans.”

After the presentation at Wichita City Hall, the City held a reception for Davidson.

This is the 34th year of the Excellence in Public Service Awards. They were put on hold in 2020 because of the coronavirus pandemic. To make up for it, there were six winners in 2021.

Starting in February, the call went out for people to nominate City, County and WPS employees who demonstrate a strong work ethic, high performance and a commitment to the community.

A committee of nine public and private sector representatives read through the nominations and chose the honorees. The winners are always announced during a surprise ceremony at their workplaces.

KSN is a proud sponsor of the awards. We will share the names of the other County and WPS winners after they are announced this week.

All three recipients will be honored at a reception on May 12 at Botanica. Family, friends, coworkers, previous honorees, the selection committee and members of the DeVore Foundation attend the ceremony.