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Ferguson honored for serving needy
Commission presents Employee Recognition Award
amy ferguson award
The Barton County Commission Wednesday morning hon Amy Ferguson, community liaison with the Barton County Health Department, with an employee recognition award. Pictured are commissioners Jennifer Schartz, Barb Esfeld, Shawn Hutchinson, Kirby Krier and Jon Prescott standing with Ferguson and Employee Relations Committee President Bailey Rankin. - photo by DALE HOGG Great Bend Tribune

Barton County Commission at a glance

Here is a quick look at what the Barton County Commission did Wednesday morning:

• Approved a cereal malt beverage licence application for Corinthian Hill LLC for its wedding venue at 464 NE 20 Ave.

No retailer may sell any cereal malt beverage without having secured a license for that business. When a business is located in the unincorporated portion of the county, that application must be approved by the commission, County Clerk Bev Schmeidler said.

• Marked an employee recognition award for Amy Ferguson, community liaison with the Barton County Health Department.

• Approved a new digital sign for the Barton County Health Department for $51,096 from Mark’s Custom Signs of Great Bend. Requests for proposals are now being sought to handle the electrical work. 

• Approved a bid from Heartland Structures LLC. of Kansas City for $34,254 to repair the Road and Bridge Department’s salt shed at the South Washington sandpit which was damaged during the December 2021 wind storm. Emergency Risk Manager Amy Miller submitted the bill to insurance and received payment in February.

The county will only be out the $10,000 deductible.

• Appointed Kathleen McGinnis to the Center for Counseling and Consultation Board. 

The county seeks applications for the board which reviews and makes recommendations on mental health services in Barton County and the surrounding area. McGinnis was the only applicant for the uncompensated position that expires Dec. 31, 2024.

Extolling her many services to the county and its residents, the Barton County Commission Wednesday morning bestowed the Employee Recognition Award on Amy Ferguson, community liaison with the Barton County Health Department. This honor covers the firsts quarter or 2022.

The Employee Relations Committee recommends outstanding individuals for the honor, said ERC President Bailey Rankin. 

Ferguson was nominated, in part, for her support of those recovering from substance misuse, trauma and mental illness as a liaison for local services.

“Within her position, she does so much for our community.” Rankin said. She assists individuals facing hardships and coordinates Rise Up Central Kansas and the Prevention, Intervention and Resilience Organization. 

She is on the Poverty Task Force of the Central Kansas Partnership. 

She engages with individuals with substance use disorder and helps them access treatment, and educates the community about adverse childhood events other risky behaviors that contribute to future substance use and other long term health problems.

“She interacts with community partners and agencies to share and update them new programs that are available to community members,” Rankin said. And she participates in, and assists with, events at the Barton County Health Department as needed. 

“Beyond her tasks, Amy is a positive influence to everyone around,” she said. “I have witnessed firsthand her lighting up the room. What she does for this community is vital.”

District 1 Commissioner Kirby Krier has also seen this. He was seeking help for an Ellinwood man and was put in contact with Ferguson.

“I’ve had first-hand experience with what Amy does. She is amazing,” Krier said.

“I really appreciate you,” District 2 Commissioner Barb Esfeld said. She applauded Ferguson’s work in connecting the many resources available to those in need.

“If it wasn’t for Barton County hiring people with lived experience,” Ferguson said she wouldn’t be where she is, noting her faith has been instrumental in her success. “I’m not somebody that just has a passion for (those with negative life experiences). I’m also somebody that has lived that experience.”

After living through substance abuse herself, “I know that it’s not only my passion to reach those people there, it is a need. These people are sad and they’re broken,” she said. 

“And the county continues to hire people that have lived experience like that and we get opportunities to get awards like this,” she said. “It gives hope. And that’s what the county is offering us, hope.”

She thanked Health Director Karen Winkelman for trusting her and allowing her follow her passion. She also noted the myriad partnerships that the county supports to serve this population.

“I just thank you guys for this opportunity,” she said.