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Commission recognizes volunteers for their efforts
Tuesday marked as County Recognition Day for National Service
new dehcounty commission recognition day logo

 In other business Monday morning, the Barton County Commission:

• Reappointed Jim Welch, Mary Anne Stoskopf and Billie Bonomo to the Barton County Planning Commission for three-year terms. The county has sought three applicants for the Barton County Planning Commission, the focus of which is to plan for the proper growth and development of Barton County through the enactment of planning and zoning laws for the protection of the public health, safety and welfare. Although all applicants must reside in Barton County, the majority of members must be from the unincorporated area, said Environmental Manager Judy Goreham.  • Adopted the Solid Waste Management Plan for Barton County. The commissioners, assisted by Solid Waste Committee, plan for the proper disposal of solid waste in Barton County through the Solid Waste Management Plan, which is required by state law. The plan must undergo both an annual review and a comprehensive five-year review. The comprehensive review was done last year, Solid Waste Director Phil Hathcock said, adding there were just minor changes and updates.

The plan will now be submitted to the Kansas Department of Health and Environment. 

 Noting the importance of volunteerism, the Barton County Commission Monday morning approved a proclamation recognizing Tuesday as Mayor and County Recognition Day for National Service.  

Senior Corps participants serve in more than 50,000 locations across the country, including more than 40 sites in Barton County, bolstering the civic, neighborhood, and faith-based organizations that are so vital to Barton County’s economic and social well-being, Volunteers in Action/RSVP Director Linn Hogg said. Volunteers in Action/RSVP is joining with the Corporation for National and Community Service and several national agencies to engage citizens, improve lives, and strengthen communities by marking this occasion. 

“You don’t hear their stories on the nightly news, but every day, RSVP Senior Corp volunteers head out, quietly and without fanfare, to improve lives and strengthen communities,” Hogg said. “As Director of Volunteers In Action and RSVP, I am grateful for the dedication and sacrifice of these citizens, who are helping make our county stronger, safer, and healthier.  I have seen their impact first-hand, and know that national service is a cost-effective strategy to meet critical community needs.”

This is why Mayor and County Recognition Day for National Service is so important.  “We are taking time to recognize the impact of national service and thank those who serve.”  

She invited commissioners to attend a special gathering and tour in honor of the event at 9 a.m. Tuesday at the Food Bank of Barton County, 3007 10th St., Suite B. This will be followed by a reception at 10 a.m. with a representative from Sen. Jerry Moran’s office expected to attend.

Hogg said the CNCS may highlight Great Bend either statewide or nationally for its efforts.

Benefits of volunteering

Given the many social needs facing our communities – and the fiscal constraints facing government at all levels, local leaders are increasingly turning to national service and volunteerism to help meet local needs, she said. “We know that engaging citizens is a smart strategy to make progress on local challenges.”  

The Corporation for National and Service, a federal agency that oversees Senior Corps, and other programs that engage millions of Americans in service each year, is a crucial to this effort.  This agency works hand-in-hand with counties, cities, nonprofits, and other local partners to support high-impact national service. 

Here in Great Bend and Barton County more than 458 volunteers help with Meals On Wheels, medical transportation, blood drives, taxes, Medicare counseling and tutoring,” Hogg said. “They serve at schools, hospitals, food banks, non-profit organizations, city and county levels. They are board members, committee members and fundraisers.

The partnership between public and private entities is a good one, Hogg said. 

“National service represents a unique public-private partnership,” she said. “It invests in community solutions and leverages non-federal resources to strengthen community impact and increase the return on taxpayer dolars, including more than $60,000 in Barton County.”

These participants, in turn, demonstrate commitment, dedication and patriotism, she said.

“National service shows the best of the American spirit – people turning toward problems instead of away, working together to find community solutions,” she said. “Strengthening that spirit is one of RSVP’s goals. Today, as we thank national service members for their commitment, let us all pledge to do our part to strengthen Barton County through service and volunteering.”

“It would be a sad day if we didn’t have all these volunteers,” Commission Chairman Don Davis said, adding he wished that he volunteered more. “My hat’s off to all of you.”