Wayne Thorpe Receives Don Rezac Memorial Award

Wayne and Peg Thorpe. Submitted photo.

Wayne Thorpe, a 50 year Supervisor on the Bourbon County Conservation District,  won the Don Rezac Memorial award on Monday, November, 23, according to  Bourbon County Conservation District Manager Mandy Shoemaker.

In the February, 1969 minutes for the Bourbon Co. Conservation District, it was suggested the Secretary should contact Wayne Thorpe to serve as an advisor, according to a press release from Shoemaker. Wayne accepted the Advisor position and attended his first meeting in March, 1969. Almost 1 year later, in January, 1970, Wayne became a Supervisor. In February, 1971, Wayne became the Treasurer and has held that office to this present day, 49 years later.

Wayne has served faithfully as a Supervisor for 50 years and has missed only 1 board meeting (Feb. 1999). More often than not, board meeting minutes end with “motion by Wayne Thorpe to adjourn”. Wayne was and is always ready to finish business so he could visit with the other board members and advisors.

Wayne served on the District’s Youth Committee from 1970 till 2008. He was responsible for getting the poster contest together and working with the many other youth activities throughout the year with the local schools. Every year the District has sent 1 or 2 students to the Kansas Range Youth Camp thanks to the Youth Committee.

In January, 1985, Wayne was involved with the development of the Marmaton Watershed #102. He approved for the District to be an information gathering center for landowners to give their ideas and input regarding the Marmaton Watershed District during that time. He was also involved in approving Technical Assistance from the Conservation District to the Watershed.

In 1991, John W. Reh, Assistant State Conservationist, sent the District a letter looking for participants on the State Reclamation Committee. Wayne was appointed by the District Board to represent Bourbon Co.

Wayne has served on the KACD Grassland Committee and has attended almost all of the KACD Conventions since 1970.

Other meetings Wayne has attended over the years: NACD Annual Meeting

Legislative Fairs at the State Capitol

Fort Scott Chamber of Commerce events & meetings Banker’s Tour for conservation awards

Spring and Fall KACD Workshops

The District has had several drills over the years and Wayne was always glad to help work on them when needed. Outside of being a 50 year member of the Bourbon Co Conservation District, Wayne has farmed, raised beef cattle, and dairy cattle.

He is a 40+ year member of the Mirza Shrine Club. Wayne served as President of the Bourbon Co. Shrine Club and has donated countless hours volunteering.

Wayne also volunteers every year for the Salvation Army as a Bell Ringer.

There isn’t anything that Wayne wouldn’t do to promote conservation and help landowners accomplish that. His dedication and quality service to the Bourbon Co Conservation District is why we would like to nominate Wayne Thorpe to receive the Don Rezac Memorial Award.


Kathy Valentine, Chairman Ronnie Brown, Vice-Chairman Joe Ludlum, Supervisor Deb Lust and Mandy Shoemaker, District Manager.


Don Rezac was a lifelong Kansas farmer and rancher. He started his career with only six sows and one boar and went on to become president of Rezac Land and Livestock, according to a press release from Shoemaker.

He was a passionate conservationist who served as a supervisor of the Pottawatomie County Conservation District for 41 years, from 1969 to 2010, and served as director of Area IV for the Kansas Association of Conservation Districts from 1995 to 2007.

Don served in the Kansas House of Representatives from 1982 to 1994. In addition, he was active in many local organizations, including the Kansas Cattlemen’s Association, Kansas Livestock Association, Kansas Farmers Union, Kansas and Onaga Young Farmers and the Kansas Soybean Association. In 1987, he became only the fifth Kansan in history to receive the National 4-H Alumni Award. Don and his wife, Barbara, were named Master Farmer-Homemaker by Kansas State University in 1996 for their contributions to agriculture and community. He was also an active member of the Onaga school board from 1971 to 1982.

Don Rezac has been described as a man of integrity, intelligence and humor. He will be remembered for his lifelong commitment to public service to his state and community, and to our good fortune, the Kansas Association of Conservation Districts.

Required Criteria:

  • Candidate has been a district supervisor for a minimum of six years.

  • Candidate has attended the KACD Convention on a regular basis and been active in KACD activities.

Other Criteria for Favorable Consideration:

  • Candidate has served on the KACD Board of Directors

  • Candidate has served as a State Conservation Commissioner

  • Candidate has been involved in outside activities (elected positions, community groups, other state and local associations)

The Kansas Association of Conservation Districts is a voluntary, nongovernmental, nonprofit, incorporated organization that was established in 1944, two years before the National Association of Conservation Districts was formed.  Its members are the conservation districts located in the state’s 105 counties.

The KACD Board of Directors is composed of five elected members, each of whom represents one of five geographical areas of the state.


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