HOISINGTON — Long-time Hoisington residents Duane and Debbie Reif have dedicated their lives to service, not only with the Kans for Kids Fighting Cancer Foundation, but in service to other charitable organizations.
Debbie is involved with the Chamber of Commerce and also with their church, the First United Methodist Church. She is a librarian at the Hoisington Public Library, working only half-time so she can donate 40 hours per week to Kans for Kids during the busy time of April to the end of the year.
Service is also important to Duane. "I believe you should give back," he said. He has been the branch manager for United Ag Service for 12 years. He is also a volunteer firefighter and takes work trips to build houses with his church. He is also past president of the Chamber of Commerce.
"It’s always a fun time. I enjoy it," said Duane, of his trips. In his "spare" time he builds furniture, including bedroom sets, and is currently working on music stands. "I have given more away than I sold," he said.
Duane grew up on a farm near Hoisington, and Debbie grew up in Hoisington. They both share a love of Hoisington and its sense of community.
"Hoisington people are extremely generous," said Debbie. Whenever there is a need.
Duane agreed and said that Hoisington people are compassionate givers.
Kans for Kids operates out of an office in the Reif house and has grown enormously. It now has a nine-member board of directors, and the Reifs still have a passion for the organization. "We have to keep doing it," said Debbie. "How could we ever quit?"
"We’d like it be to be here forever until there is a cure," Duane said. "Hopefully our children will be somewhat active." Their children Sarah and Shane, who started the organization as children, currently reside outside of Hoisington.
The couple are still in touch most of the kids they have served through Kans for Kids. "We have a love affair with the kids," Debbie said. "We’re a big family." Most of the kids stay in touch by choice.
"It gives you a good feeling," said Duane. "When you hand them a $1,000 check, it make you want to give them a $2,000 check next time."
"I love it when they get married," Debbie said laughing. "It’s like one of our kids getting married, except that we don’t have to pay for it.
"It is wonderful to see them grow up and have normal lives," Debbie said.
The current kids receiving benefits from Kans for Kids are Aaron Fryberger, on maintenance for one more year, Dade Cannon, on maintenance for six more months, and Kaito Richter, who is still early his treatment. Richter undergoes treatment every day for a week in Wichita and then has two weeks off. Sometimes, he ends up going back for a transfusion.
"There wouldn’t be Kans for Kids if God didn’t have his hand in it," said Debbie. Twenty-three kids have survived out of 25. "When someone calls us, they get on prayer chain at church before we get to meet them.
"It makes a difference," she said.