Kenny and Ember Manley

Citizen Spotlight: Kenny Manley

Kenny Manley and his wife, Ember. (submitted photo).

Kenny Manley thinks of himself as an ordinary father and husband. He says his kids think he’s weird and embarrassing and his wife thinks he’s a dork. But Manley isn’t an embarrassment to his community of Excelsior Springs. Born at Excelsior Springs Hospital in 1982, Manley graduated in 2001 with a generation of Excelsorites who are making an impact in their hometown. As a realtor for RE/MAX, you may have seen Manley’s funny caricature on the side of his truck or on his signs around town, but his dedication and involvement in the community are no joke. 

The Manley mobiles sport Kenny’s signature caricature look (submitted photo).

Manley’s community service began as a youth when he worked to earn the level of Eagle Scout. He says the pride he feels for Excelsior Springs is partly a reflection of the support he was shown as a child. He says he can remember walking in the local parades and seeing the faces of friends and family urging him on. He fondly recalled going with his dad to a city council meeting, “We were just sitting in the back, and then they introduced me as a scout and it was like, ‘Woah that’s cool!’ it meant a lot.”

After graduating high school, Manley joined the Army National Guard with his friend and classmate Josh Campbell (Campell Wood Designs). He spent a year and a half in Ft. Lewis Washington as military police and in 2008 did a tour to Kosovo. From 2005 to 2017 Manley worked as a conductor for Union Pacific Railroad and since 2016 he’s operated the Manley Home Team at the local RE/MAX Area Real Estate. 

Manley has faced some adversity on his way to becoming a leader in the community. He says the challenges he’s faced throughout his life have made him a stronger person and pushed him to give back. “Just six years ago I was going through a really tough time and I told myself when I get out of this I’m going to do my best to never get in this situation again,” he said. He’s also suffered some tragic losses, “suicide awareness means a lot to my family as we lost my dad and now my uncle recently to it,” said Manley. When times are tough and things look dark, it’s important to remember there’s more to life than just that one moment. “Being in a tough situation is more about how you come out of it, and the lessons you learn,” he reflected. Manley says he is using his experiences as motivation to give back to his community.  

Manley says his proudest achievement is being a good father and husband. Seen here on a family trip to Disney (submitted photo).

You don’t have to own a business or be from a family who’s lived in Excelsior Springs for many generations to get involved. “When I joined Rotary in 2013 I didn’t own a business, I just knew they were a group who did good things in the community and I wanted to be a part of that,” said Manley. Aside from being a member of Rotary, Manley is a booster for many kids’ sports teams, has served on the city’s planning and zoning board, and is actively serving on the Excelsior Springs School Board, Community Foundation Board, and Communities of Excellence Housing Task Force. 

Manley says he wants to let people know, participating in your community not only improves the quality of life in Excelsior Springs but will also make you feel better too. He says he gets tired of hearing complaints from people who aren’t actively involved in the community. “Being involved is free, all you have to do is give your time. Instead of sitting on social media for an hour go to a meeting once a month,” he said. He added, he’s noticed the growing civic pride here in Excelsior Springs and encouraged citizens young and old to jump in and be a part of the change. “Give something back,” he exclaimed, “this may not be Hollywood, but it’s our town and we should be proud of it.”

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