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There is hope for recovery
Commission OKs proclamation honoring Recovery Month
recovery month
Amy Ferguson, director of Rise Up Central Kansas, addresses the Barton County Commission Tuesday morning about Recovery Month. Also pictured are Rise Up peer navigators Charla Schneider and Sharr Hamby. - photo by DALE HOGG Great Bend Tribune

Barton County Commission meeting at a glance

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

•  Adopted a proclamation marking National Recovery Month 2023.

• Approved the purchase of a backhoe attachment for the Solid Waste Department at a cost of $6,535.16 from Bobcat of Salina.

The Barton County Landfill requested the purchase a Bob-Tach Backhoe attachment for a 2021 Bobcat T770 skid steer loader. This attachment would be beneficial in digging trenches and ditches for stormwater control, cleaning leachate ponds and sand removal for municipal solid waste section tie-ins, Solid Waste Director Jennifer Hamby said.

The landfill has had to rent this type of attachment in the past, so the one purchased will pay for itself quickly

Following the agenda meeting, the following appointments were scheduled:

•  9:30 a.m. – financial update with Matt Patzner, county administrator.

•  9:45 p.m. – funding request with Bill Lowry, interim superintendent, USD 112 Central Plains.

•  10:15 a.m. – insurance bids and program update with Marissa Woodmansee, Juvenile Services director.

•  10:45 a.m. – request for proposals for a server upgrade project with Derreck Hollingshead, Information Technology director.

•  11 a.m. – disposition of vehicle with Karen Winkelman, health director.

•  11:15 a.m. – insurance claims relative to July 16 storm damage with Patzner and Amy Miller, Emergency Risk Management director.

•  2:00 p.m. – Employee Engagement Committee with Commissioner Donna Zimmerman.

•  2:30 p.m. – regular business discussion with Patzner.

September marks National Recovery Month, and Amy Ferguson, director  of Rise Up Central Kansas, told the Barton County Commission Tuesday morning that indeed recovery from mental illness and substance abuse is possible, but it takes a community to back those efforts. With this in mind, the commission adopted a proclamation offering the county’s support. 

The proclamation calls for community members to observe this month with “compelling programs and events.” 

Among these is the Recovery Out Loud, Every Voice Matters event beginning at 6:30 p.m., Friday at Jack Kilby Square in downtown Great Bend. There will be food, activities and presentations from those recovering from mental illness and substance abuse.

The proclamation details the impact of recovery, and the importance of better management and the role of the community in the recovery process, Ferguson said. “Raise Up Central Kansas is one of the local resources for recovery and resilience-based services, having built a durable network of mental and physical health professionals, and behavioral health, social service workers, school officials, law enforcement and persons with lived experiences.”

The organization’s partners offer families “the means to build resilience, offsetting the effects of (adverse childhood experiences) and reducing the public costs of substance misuse,” she said. “It’s only by inviting the recovery community to be a part of the solution – and with the help and support of our family, friends and community – that we do recover.”

Rise Up peer navigators Charla Schneider and Sharr Hamby took turns presenting the proclamation.

“Mental health and substance use disorders affect all communities nationwide,” Schneider said.  “With commitment and support, those impacted can embark on a journey of improved health and overall wellness. By celebrating the people that make the journey of recovery possible, we embrace the belief that ‘Hope is Real.  Recovery is Real.’”

The message of Recovery Month is that people can and do recover every day, Hamby said. “Through Recovery Month initiatives, people become aware and are better able to recognize the signs of mental health and substance use disorders.” 

Activities are geared toward encouraging people in need of recovery services to seek help. Managing the effects of these conditions helps individuals achieve healthy lifestyles, both physically and emotionally.

According to the proclamation, “the commission calls for community members to observe this month with compelling programs and events.”