GREAT BEND — Nearly a quarter of a million dollars has been donated to Sunflower Diversified Services based in Great Bend, thanks to the generosity of a Lyons woman who had an affection for people with special needs.


The Vera Elliott Finnin estate recently contributed $249,800 to the non-profit agency that serves people with intellectual disabilities and delays in central Kansas.


"We are totally excited about this more-than generous contribution," said Jon Prescott, Sunflower executive director. "And the timing could not have been more perfect.


"We have placed these funds in the Sunflower Foundation to replenish some of our reserves, which were affected by the pandemic and other unexpected costs."


These types of gifts create stability for Sunflower and the individuals it supports, Prescott said.


"They are critical to our long-term existence, especially in light of budget concerns at the state level," Prescott said.


Prescott said that clients and their families, along with employees feel "blessed" to be among the beneficiaries of the Finnin estate. They are indebted to Scott Bush and Jim Johnson, he said. Bush is the attorney for the Finnin estate, as well as Sunflower’s attorney. Johnson is the retired executive director of the agency.


"They invested their time and talents many years ago to meet with Mrs. Finnin and share with her what we do here at Sunflower," Prescott said. "They helped explain the critical nature of our support services and the impact our agency has on clients’ lives as they strive to achieve higher levels of independence."


Finnin was born and raised in Rice County, which is in Sunflower’s service area. She and her husband, Pete Finnin, lived in California for his job in the aircraft industry. They returned to Lyons in the 1980s. Vera died April 2, 2019, 20 years after her husband’s passing.


"Sunflower is blessed to be one of the organizations Vera cared deeply about," Johnson said. "I never cease to be overwhelmed by the generosity of people and their concern for children and adults who rely on Sunflower for the services they need."


Sunflower serves infants, toddlers and adults in Barton, Pawnee, Rice, Rush and Stafford counties.