To the editor:
I'll never forget an early lesson in my life when I first understood what it means to be committed to one’s community.
My father, Alan Landes, was expanding business for St. Joseph, Mo.-based Herzog Companies in the Compton, Calif., area. In doing so, he had a firm belief that it was critical he know, understand and contribute to the community in which he worked.
In the years that followed, one of his contributions included service as the volunteer president of the Sickle Cell Disease Research Foundation of California-Los Angeles.
As many know, sickle cell disease is a hereditary, life threatening blood disorder that primarily impacts African-American and Hispanic-American individuals and families.
I remember my Dad saying, “I serve this organization knowing that my own family will never suffer from this terrible condition, but community has no boundaries. … And, my commitment is to advocate for improved quality of life for individuals and families who suffer.”
My father’s work was, in many ways, done quietly, but with great love for others he didn’t even know.
It wasn’t long after Dad’s service at SCDRF that I chose Kansas, first for my college education and later to raise my family. Inspired by my father’s commitment to others, I made the decision to get involved in numerous activities, including civic involvement in Sam Brownback’s U.S. Senate run in the 1990s.
I consider this one of the luckiest moments of my life. This is not due to the fact that Brownback has just done great things, but because in the words of Mother Teresa he has also done “small things with great love.”
Early in my 20s, I remember a Senate staffer finding it curious that he was down on the street bent over a car engine trying to help someone get it re-started.
I wasn’t surprised.
Closer to 30, I remember the night he called when my son was born and he asked that we pray together for him. My husband and I were grateful. In more recent years, I remember him telling me that on a periodic basis he would spend time with prisoners to encourage their commitment to a better path.
I was humbled.
I share Brownback’s commitment to a better path. With my own children and the future in mind, I too spend considerable time thinking about systemic change for the state.
I appreciate Brownback’s growth plan centers on understanding that our future depends on young children living healthy, productive and successful lives. With Brownback’s support, the state has seen considerable outcomes related to early childhood investments such as block grants to high performing pre-schools, helping parents become teachers, and ensuring children with challenges, such as mental and behavioral health problems, get the best care possible.
Thank you, governor.
It has been my honor to support your leadership with thousands of hours of my time. I look forward to helping you bring more change to our communities, and even more important the children and families who live in them.

Amanda Adkins
Overland Park