While its membership is made up of attorneys, the Leavenworth County Bar Association turned the spotlight on someone who's not a lawyer Wednesday.
Retired Leavenworth Municipal Court Clerk Dian Wilkins was presented the Bar Association's Liberty Bell Award during a Law Day observance.
"This is really, really an honor and I don't know what to say," Wilkins said.
Also as part of Wednesday's Law Day observance, state Rep. Melanie Meier spoke about human trafficking and a new Kansas law designed to combat the problem. Meier, a Democrat from Leavenworth, represents the 41st District in the Kansas House of Representatives.
Law Day was established in 1958 by President Dwight Eisenhower, and it's observed each year throughout the United States. This year's theme was "Realizing the Dream: Equality for All," according to Todd Thompson, president of the Leavenworth County Bar Association.
The Liberty Bell Award is presented each year to someone who is not an attorney. Thompson, who's also the Leavenworth county attorney, said the award recognizes someone who has given "time and energy to strengthen the effectiveness of the American system of freedom under law, in keeping with the spirit of our Constitution."
Wilkins worked for Leavenworth Municipal Court for 20 years, retiring in June 2012. She had been the senior court clerk since 1994.
Wilkins was not informed ahead of time that she had been chosen for this year's award. She came to Wednesday's ceremony, which was held at the Leavenworth Justice Center, thinking someone else would be receiving an award.
Wilkins told the audience she doesn't miss her old job but misses the people she worked with.
During her remarks, Meier said human trafficking is not just a problem in other countries. It exists in the United States and Kansas. She said the victims are hiding in plain site.
She said a new state law, signed by the governor April 22, does a lot of things to combat the problem.
"I know a lot more has to be done," she said, the but the work starts with education.