In Honor of Michael Samms

Honoring Michael Samms

Late last week, we received news that one of our valued partners, Michael Samms, has passed on.  In early 2016, Michael, who served as the Chairman for Community Service at the Heart of America Council, Boy Scouts of America, reached out to us with a vision.  In the fall of 2016, we launched our partnership program implementing his vision: for the Boy Scouts obtain their Heartland Forestry Badge by completing a workshop series in partnership with our Heartland Tree Alliance program.

The workshop featured educational sessions such as: benefits of trees, tree identification, uses for wood products, forest management and forest threats, culminating in a tree planting activity.  Through this partnership, and with Michael’s leadership, nearly 400 Boy Scouts planted nearly 5,000 trees in Kansas City, Missouri area parks.

In addition to his partnership work with Heartland Tree Alliance / Boy Scouts of America, he was very active in several additional community service activities throughout the Kansas City region.  We are grateful for his contributions and will honor his legacy by planting a tree in his memory.   We offer our deepest condolences to Michael’s family and friends.


The following post was taken directly from his memorial site:


Michael Dean Samms, 61, of Overland Park, KS, passed away, Wednesday, November 1, 2017.

Visitation will be from 2 – 6 pm Sunday, November 5, 2017 at Lord of Life Lutheran Church, 3105 W. 135th Street, Leawood, KS 66204. Funeral Services will be 10 am Monday, November 6, 2017 at the Church with burial following in Mt. Moriah Cemetery South.

In lieu of flowers donations may be made to Heartland Tree Alliance, 1427 W, 9th St. Suite 201, Kansas City, MO 64101, James E. West Fund, Boy Scouts of America, 10210 Holmes Rd., Kansas City, MO 64131, or Lord of Life Lutheran Church.

Michael was born on February 23, 1956 in Upper Darby Township in Pennsylvania. He was the son of Clarence and Shirley (Snyder) Samms affectionately known as Gene and Darlene. He graduated from Ulysses High School in Ulysses, Kansas and Wichita State University with a Finance Degree. Michael met Christine Twenhafel at Wichita State and they married on June 14, 1986 in Wichita, KS. He worked in Banking in Wichita and later in Health Care Administration. He worked for Health Midwest in Kansas City, Missouri. Michael was involved with Boy Scout Troop 201 and was an Assistant Scoutmaster and served as Committee Chair for the Troop.

Michael was a Vigil Honor in the Order of the Arrow and was honored with the Silver Beaver Award. He served the Redtail Hawk and Iron Horse Districts and currently serves at the Chairman for Community Service at the Heart of America Council. As part of his vision he designed the Heartland Tree Academy assisting Scouts to earn the Forestry Merit Badge and planted over 3000 trees in parks in the Kansas City Area. He also developed Dig Day teaming up with Kansas City Parks and Recreation to beautify the city for spring to help plant more than 80 of the city’s community flower beds across 35 locations on Mother’s Day weekend. He was an active member of Lord of Life Lutheran Church where he organized a community service day known as Greater Things.

He is preceded in death by his parents and grandparents and uncle, Bud Miller. He is survived by his wife, Christine Samms, children, Grant and Sarah Samms, sister, Darla (Samms) Piepmeier, uncle and aunts, Bob and Judy Snyder and Betty Miller.

Online condolences may be made at