We, the people

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I spent last Friday in Wichita at a meeting designed to help rural communities “think out of the box” to recruit family practice physicians.

It was a good meeting, for two reasons.

First, we made several contacts among family practice staff and residents which will be invaluable in the future. We have always found that those personal contacts and relationships result in professionals who are a good fit for our communities. Often it is a “friend of a friend of a friend” who hears about an opportunity, and sends their friends our way.

Secondly, I was reminded again what a remarkable, visionary place Republic County has always been. Most of the recommendations organizers had for rural communities are ideas people in Republic County put in place decades ago.

The biggest and most important? Engage everyday, ordinary community members–from moms to senior citizens to business people and farmers to teachers and factory workers to day care providers and church members and teenagers–in building a health care community and partnership designed to fit the needs of the people who live there.

My interest in the local health care community began decades ago when I listened to Merle Miller tell stories about how Dr. Beiderwell joined forces with people around the county to build support for a county-owned hospital.

I watched people like my friends Edwin Splichal and Jeannine Kopsa and Vearl Holloway and Gayle Kalivoda and John Dart and dozens more form the NCK Health Care Foundation to build a physicians clinic adjacent to the hospital and lay groundwork for a fund to help with expenses to recruit physicians.

I sat at hospital board meetings and watched Don Larson and Ben Holloway and Charlotte Childs and Robert Raney and Ed Valek and Dr. H.D. Doubek wrestle with a myriad of financial decisions on the local, state and federal levels. There’s a lot of folks in our country who think “good” health care is a matter of “volume” and “numbers”–not the faces of our friends and neighbors in crisis.

On Thursday the NCK Health Care Foundation will stage it’s annual Radiothon hosted by Deb Sasser at KR-92, 92.1 FM radio station in Belleville. When you tune in, you’ll hear from a multitude of your friends and neighbors who work to improve local health care, and who’ve been blessed by great care in a difficult time.

Mostly, you’ll hear again the legion of people, from moms to senior citizens to business people and farmers to teachers and factory workers to day care providers and church members and teenagers– who donate their time and their dollars to make sure Republic County continues to be a remarkable, visionary place for future generations.

Is it easy? No, but it never has been.

Each generation of ordinary citizens has risen up to grapple with the challenges of their place and time.

But what remarkable, visionary things we accomplish when we, the people, work together and plan together and sacrifice together for the common good.

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