Chris Umphres was elected president of the Great Bend USD 428 Board of Education on Monday, and Lori Reneau was named vice president.
It was a relatively short meeting as board members finished the 2016-2017 fiscal year and organized for 2017-2018, but board member Kevin Mauler took the time to ask Superintendent Khris Thexton about the availability of defibrillators at sporting events.
His questions came following the death of umpire Eric Shannon, who collapsed last week during a baseball game in Hutchinson. Although they were unable to save his life, Great Bend residents at the game performed chest compressions and provided cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) assistance until emergency personnel arrived. Those involved were Great Bend Chiefs Logan Perry and Payton Mauler, both 2017 graduates of Great Bend High School, along with Doug Kaiser, a parent of one of the players.
“I was proud of (them) for stepping up,” Mauler said.
He also wanted to know if the school district has automated external defibrillators (AEDs) available during outdoor activities. AEDs are portable and made simple for the layman to use.
Thexton responded that the school district has at least one AED in every building and GBHS sports medicine teacher Ryan Zink has one that he carries to events. Zink has also worked to teach hands-only CPR to as many GBHS students and USD 428 staff as possible this past year.
Umphres, who is the sports director at the Great Bend Recreation Commission as well as the school board president, said the Great Bend Sports Complex has an AED. “You want as many out there as you can,” he said. However, having the devices also brings added responsibilities. So, before looking at buying more AEDs for other outdoor venues, officials need to do some research.
Dr. Larry Kutina, another school board member, said that makes sense. “There has to be a procedure in place,” he said.
Thexton agreed. For example, he said the AEDs owned by the district have to be maintained. “They are inspected every year.”