City of Shawnee

Do you know a Neighbor With Heart?

Nominate a Neighbor With Heart today!
Posted on 04/26/2023

Mayor Distler and the City of Shawnee are proud to share our Neighbor With Heart Award, a community-nominated award for residents, employees, and business owners who go above and beyond for their community. 

Want to nominate a neighbor with heart? Send your nominee's name with a brief description of why they deserve the award to [email protected]! Recipients will be recognized before City Council meetings with a photo op and nomination reading by Mayor Distler. 

Check out three of our recent Neighbor With Heart recipients! 

Mike VanLandingham and Mayor Distler

"I would like to nominate Mike VanLandingham. He is the best neighbor anyone could ever wish for!! Ever since we moved to Shawnee 11 years ago, he has been a huge help to me and my daughter. I was a single mom and worried about my daughter walking home from Hocker Grove every day after school when I couldn't be there. Mike would meet her and walk her home. He's been a great mentor to her as well.

He would let our new puppy out when we got her during the day until she was potty trained. He now brings our packages in when they get delivered and we are not home to get them.

It is such a joy and relief knowing that I can call him and he is always ready to help any way needed.

He has been a huge help to the whole neighborhood as well. He gets to know everyone and makes new people in the neighborhood feel welcome. 
There is no better "Neighbor With Heart" than Mike VanLandingham."

Suzanne Handlin and Mayor Distler

"I would like to nominate my neighbor: Suzanne Handlin for her BIG heart! 

For two years she has taken it upon herself to request donations, help prepare, and then deliver packages for people experiencing homelessness, especially during the winter months. Suzanne not only opened her heart to the homeless population but took it upon herself to go straight to the sources to find out what would make the best care packages.

In lieu of money, these packages provide hygiene, food, and warmth items. They're packaged in a way that they can easily be handed out the car window. Suzanne graciously shared some with neighbors so that when we encountered a person asking for help, we could share this small gesture of care. 

Beyond this point, she has been instrumental in other collections for donations to causes, nearly all of them local. She is the "glue" that keeps all of her neighbors together in friendship and support."

Shelee Brim and Mayor Distler

"I nominate Shelee Brim for the Neighbor With Heart award.

Shelee and Shawnee are synonymous. She taught first grade in the DeSoto School District for years, making a difference in hundreds of students' lives. Many students have fond memories of her and claim that she was their favorite teacher with her calm and loving demeanor. She went above and beyond her teaching duties, showing that she truly loved her students by attending their sporting or theater events and graduation parties. After retirement, she served at the Topeka Capitol as a House Representative. She invited former students to serve as pages so they can see how government works. During her teaching and political career, she began a second career as a real estate agent with Keller Williams Legacy Partners. She takes the time to listen to her buyers and sellers' needs. Every week, she puts out a post on social media with happenings around the community. Besides her love of helping people, she adores four-legged furry friends, showing she truly cares about everyone and everything in her community. With proceeds from her sales, her company KC Homes and Hounds donates a portion to Imagine Furever Ranch, a senior dog rescue shelter, where she volunteers and serves on their board. Shelee also has a photography business and can be seen around Shawnee photographing former students and their families. As a Christian, she volunteers at her church and loves God. She loves her own family fiercely and has been married to her husband Mitch, a retired Shawnee policeman, for many years. She raised two children and travels often to the east coast to help with her seven grandchildren."

"I nominate Shelee Brim as Shawnee's Neighbor With Heart. Shelee is a retired Shawnee educator, a very successful local realtor, involved in her church, helps old, unwanted dogs find homes, greets everyone with a smile, is a friend to those that need one, and sprinkles kindness everywhere she goes! 

Shelee is married to a retired Shawnee Police Officer, raised two children, and is now an involved grandmother of seven grandkids!"