Praeger, Milstead recognized for service by Lawrence chamber of commerce

Sandy Praeger

A banking industry veteran and Kansas’ former insurance commissioner are being recognized for their contributions to the community by the Lawrence chamber of commerce.

Jean Milstead, who’s worked more than 50 years in the banking industry, has been named the 2015 Citizen of the Year, The Chamber, Lawrence, Kansas said.

In addition, Sandy Praeger, former Lawrence mayor and Kansas insurance commissioner for 12 years, has been awarded the 2014 Crown Automotive Organization ATHENA Award, according to the chamber.

Milstead and Praeger will officially receive their awards tonight during the chamber’s annual meeting.

The Chamber’s Citizen of the Year Award is given each year to a local resident whose life’s work has positively affected the Lawrence community. The international ATHENA Award is given to women leaders in the community.

Jean Milstead

Chamber President and CEO Larry McElwain said Milstead is “one of the most gifted and giving individuals to walk among us.”

McElwain also said those fortunate enough to work alongside Milstead will recognize her talent and dedication to the people and businesses in Lawrence.

“We have benefited from business to education to volunteerism and beyond from her dedication to making Lawrence and Douglas County a better place to live,” he said.

The Chamber also recognized Praeger’s dedication to the community.

Aside from her time spent as insurance commissioner, Praeger served three terms in the Kansas Senate and one in the House of Representatives. During her time in office, Praeger worked for the expansion of children’s health insurance and to pass patient protection laws.

Praeger was the mayor of Lawrence and a city commissioner. She is a founding member of local Health Care Access and the Haskell Indian Nations University Foundation and Douglas County C.A.S.A. boards.

Miles Schnaer, president and CEO of Crown Automotive, said Praeger’s history speaks to her determination to improve the quality of life for others.

“I consider Sandy a personal friend and am very excited that she will be honored with this year’s ATHENA Award,” he said.