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Hoisington EMS, Sunflower Diversified team up for community gathering
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The Hoisington Emergency Medical Services team is sponsoring an open-to-the-public event to thank the community for its support and raise awareness about first responders. Sunflower Diversified Services will play a role in the May 23 barbecue.

           Hoisington Emergency Medical Services (EMS) will showcase its own programs and equipment, along with many Sunflower Diversified Services offerings, at its fifth-annual community barbecue.

            The open-to-the-public event is set for 5 to 8 p.m. Thursday, May 23, outside the EMS office, 202 E. Broadway in Hoisington.

            In addition to other volunteers, Sunflower staff and clients will be on hand to help cook and serve hamburgers, hot dogs and side dishes while supplies last.

            Sunflower serves children and adults with intellectual disabilities and delays in central Kansas.

            “The goals of our community-wide event are education and raising public awareness about first responders,” said Scott Fleming, EMS Services director and paramedic. “Many people don’t see us unless they are in trouble but this annual event allows us to be out in the public eye when there is not an emergency.

            “At the same time, we are using this opportunity to showcase Sunflower and its services,” he continued. “This is a great partnership between two organizations that deserve recognition.”

            The new Hoisington ambulance will arrive just in time for the special event. It will be on display along with fire trucks, law-enforcement vehicles, Hazardous Material Response equipment and first-responder gear.

            “We will offer hands-on tours of the vehicles and talk with the public about the equipment and how it is used,” Fleming said. “We are especially interested in reaching children. They need to see that we are their friends.”

            Free baseline readings of vital signs also will be available.

The event is held in conjunction with Stop the Bleed Month in May, as well as National EMS Week, May 19-25. The special month was started in 2017 as the result of mass shootings.

            “During these tragedies, most victims died from bleeding instead of the injury itself,” explained Fleming, an almost 30-year EMS veteran. “The key is to apply pressure to the wound. We will demonstrate the technique to anyone interested.”

            The EMS week theme is “Beyond the Call,” which also ties into public awareness and education. For example, local first responders offer hands-only CPR lessons and are offering education to schools in USD 431.

            “The goal is to reach our whole community. And if our barbecue is any indication, we are attracting quite a few people,” Fleming said. “We are happy to report that our community barbecue has grown every year; last year we served about 300 people. EMS encourages the community to learn more about EMS and Sunflower.”
            Connie Oetken, Sunflower director of development, echoed Fleming’s invitation.

            “Sunflower is always eager to visit with friends and find ways to give back to communities that have supported our agency for more than 53 years,” Oetken said. “Our staff and services change people’s lives and we want to spread the word.

“We are so grateful to Hoisington EMS for giving us this opportunity to support first responders and showcase our services, as well as the products clients make in our manufacturing plant,” she added.

            Sunflower serves infants, toddlers and adults in Barton, Pawnee, Rice, Rush and Stafford counties.