The community champion award Jon and Vicky Cundiff received at a national convention was the result of a grassroots initiative planted in Lee’s Summit.
The Cundiffs, owners of a Weed Man of Kansas City franchise and Lee’s Summit residents, were honored in early December with the Community Champion Award for 2013 at the company’s national conference in Orlando.
The Community Champion Award was established by Weed Man USA to reward the franchisees who have demonstrated exemplary commitment to community service through regular involvement in local causes, fund-raising efforts and volunteerism.
The Lee’s Summit couple was singled out for a neighborhood watch-style program that incorporated employees, who trained with an officer with the Lee’s Summit Police Department to recognize suspicious behavior while they’re on the job.
“We’re out in the neighborhoods everyday,” Jon Cundiff said in a recent interview with the Journal. “We’re up and down the Lee’s Summit streets everyday. We kind of know what’s normal and what isn’t. We kind of see the differences. It’s a good project to have our people learn. It’s an extension; kind of like having eyes out in the field for the police department.”
Lee’s Summit Community Interaction Police Officer Beth Glover trained Cundiff’s staff. She said the staff was all-in during training sessions.
“It’s very similar to neighborhood watch, but it’s geared towards the business sector or the private sector more so than the residential sector,” Glover said of the department’s Eyes of the City program. “Jon had expressed that he desired to train his employee on how to recognize suspicious activity when they are out in the neighborhoods. He wanted them to have training to recognize suspicious activity and how to report it. His request lined up perfectly with Eyes of the City.
“Jon was willing to step up and provide that training for employees. It was great working with Jon. I could tell from hr beginning that his heart was in it. It was a pleasure to work with him and provide that training to his employees.”
Cundiff said close to 25 employees took part in the program, which consists of monthly meetings and yearly training.
“Last year was the first year,” Cundiff said. “It actually had been something that we discussed for a year or so to bring some added value to what we do. We are good stewards of the city; it makes you feel good as an employee. Were investing in them and they’re investing in the city.”
The Cundiffs were also rewarded last year for their volunteer work in the community for the year 2012. After back-to-back recognition from the Weed Man organization, the owners and their employees are back at it for the new year.
“We’ve always been very active in the community,” Cundiff said of he and his wife. “This is where I live, where I work, where our kids went to school. My wife is very active with the Chamber of Commerce and involved in the community with Lee’s Summit 360, so we are always looking at ways that we can go out and help the community and give back.”