Whitney honored for going above and beyond her duties during the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020

Vincent Marshall
Dodge City Daily Globe
Rhonda Whitney was named the 2020 Dodge City Area Women's Chamber of Commerce, Woman of the Year during a banquet held by the Dodge City Area Chamber of Commerce in March.

The 16th Judicial District Chief Clerk Rhonda Whitney was named the 2020 Woman of the Year by the Dodge City Area Women's Chamber of Commerce in March.

Whitney received the award during the annual Dodge City Chamber of Commerce banquet held earlier this month in Dodge City.

Tina Gerber with the Crisis Center of Dodge City, made the nomination based on Whitney going above and beyond her duties during the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020.

"I am on a committee working directly with the courts and COVID-19 made things difficult because the courts were closed down," Gerber said. "Protection orders was one thing they didn't stop hearing and Rhonda was intricate in making sure judges were taking them, sometimes personally taking paperwork to judges.

"Protection orders are not one of those things that can't wait because of people's safety.

"I nominated her because I saw what she did in 2020. That was such a huge help and what the court system had to go through in 2020 but there were some services that were still needed and she was one of the people that made sure things got done."

Whitney also received a recommendation from former 16th Judicial District Chief Judge E. Leigh Hood saying in the application for nomination, "I have known and worked with Rhonda since 2011 when she became the Chief Clerk of the 16th Judicial District.

"Rhonda spends two hours everyday on the road driving to and from Dodge City for her job. I have never heard one complaint about this travel, which shows her dedication and strong work ethic."

Hood went on to say that Whitney is charge of all the district courts in Ford, Gray, Meade, Clark, Comanche and Kiowa counties which make up the 16th Judicial District.

"During the COVID crisis when the courthouse was shut down for almost six weeks, Rhonda was at work every day as an essential employee," Hood said. "She single-handedly performed the work of all six district courts in order for her employees to stay home with their families.

"Her dedication during that time was far beyond any expectation."

When notified of receiving the award, Whitney was humble.

"Why me? That's still my reaction," Whitney said of receiving the award. "I am still flattered but feel so unworthy. Its very overwhelming, I didn't feel I did anything that warranted that. I did what any court employee would do. I feel very unworthy and am very grateful but what people need to know is it was the court system as a whole that deserved the recognition not just me."

To nominate a woman for the 2021 Woman of the Year, visit www.dcwomenschamber.com/woman-of-the-year for the application form. The deadline to submit a nomination is Oct. 1.

According to the Dodge City Area Women's Chamber of Commerce, award recipients must meet each of three specific criteria:

Assist women in reaching their full leadership potential.

Demonstrate excellence, creativity, and initiative in their business or profession.

Provide valuable service by devoting time and energy to improve the quality of life from others in the community.

The recipient will be announced at the December membership meeting and honored at the Annual Banquet of the Dodge City Area Chamber of Commerce, Inc.

To contact the writer email vmarshall@gannett.com