Photo courtesy of Amy Heaven


Amy Heaven
Special to The Gardner News
Rick Poppitz is a one-man show. You’ve seen his name in the bylines of newspaper articles as a freelance writer. You have also seen his photo credits in publications. But do you know who he is?
A native of Willow Springs, Mo., Rick moved to this area after a 4-year stint in the Navy. He recalls with fondness his brief cruise on the USS Coral Sea and a breathtaking flight on a fighter jet. After his honorable discharge in 1979 Rick settled in Western Kansas and worked as a farm hand and cowboy. His mother’s illness brought him to Kansas City to provide what help he could in her final days.
Rick heard his calling when he hired on with a small, Kansas City-based video production studio as an apprentice in 1984. It was there that he discovered the pleasure of creating chronicles of weddings, and the doings of famous people like Joe Montana, John Trivolta, Dee Wallace and
Tiny Tim. Among his repertoire of talents is creating instructional videos. He recalls filming the dissection of a human cadaver for a medical product.
Knowing that he wanted to settle in a quiet rural setting, he and Yvonne, his wife of 31 years now, after crisscrossing the area for hours by car, stumbled on Gardner Lake. In Rick’s words, the octagonal house on the water that he now calls home, “spoke to him”. That was 24 years ago and they have since raised three children in that eclectic space with a pie-shaped ceiling and a carport perched on the remains of an old stone latrine from the late 1930’s.
Today, Rick is currently following the events of the Gardner and Edgerton City Council which take him into the early morning hours as elected officials and constituents debate municipal issues. Often, his morning deadlines demand duty-days that exceed 24 hours straight.
Rick also gives tirelessly to the efforts of the Gardner Lake Association where he is considered a public treasure. He creates the annual videos of the 4 th of July Parade, the Labor Day Kayak Run and the Christmas lights contest for all to enjoy. He also manages the lake’s website, pro-bono.
Founder of his own video production company, KC Video, Rick’s capabilities have expanded to include website design. But his passion is revealing an intimate, heart-tugging family story that he refers to as a “Family Legacy Video”. Rick skillfully blends intimate family stories, told on camera and blended with old still photos, with early family movie reels. The result is a priceless heirloom, and a tribute to family heritage. Justifiably, he is most proud of this singular effort.