Donors help pave the way for a healthier community

Community health is a top priority for the Clara Barton organization, recognizing that unhealthy communities lead to chronic diseases such as obesity, heart disease, cancer and diabetes. As part of efforts to continue to promote healthy lifestyles, plans to include a community walking trail at Clara Barton Medical Center’s new Great Bend location in 10th and McKinley are coming close to completion, thanks to generous donations by Larry and Kathy Schugart and the Schmidt Foundation.

The addition of a community walking path at the new Clara Barton Clinic location will provide a safe, relaxing and well-lit space to walk, meet with friends or enjoy the peace and quiet.

Clara Barton completed a similar project in 2016 at the Hoisington Hospital campus, where Pathways grant funding was used to fill sidewalk voids, completely encircling the hospital with a walking loop.

“Completing the walking trail surrounding our location in Hoisington has provided residents with opportunities to improve their physical and psychological health, but more importantly, it has strengthened community bonds,” said Jim Blackwell, CEO. “We are excited to bring a similar experience to our Great Bend location, providing the community, local business employees and patients with a safe and enjoyable place to meet and exercise.”

This location will be used as a gathering place to host many community outdoor activities such as a Walk with a Doc program, health education programs and community fitness events. It is hoped that this outdoor facility and walking trail will be used by all, fostering community connectivity and inspiring others to get active and change their healthy lifestyles.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the critical need for public spaces that support the health, safety and well-being of the community,” said Karla Crissman, clinic and clinic administration coordinator. well-being. “We have witnessed the toll that lockdowns and social distancing have inflicted on many members of our community. Today more than ever, we have a better appreciation and understanding of the importance of making our outdoor spaces sustainable, usable and welcoming.

Although Clara Barton’s staff pride themselves on being “Champions of Healthcare,” this project would not be possible without the partnerships of others.

Earlier this year, Larry and Kathy Schugart recommended a grant through their donor-advised fund to the Golden Belt Community Foundation to fund the walking trail around the new clinic. Both natives of Great Bend, the Schugarts have a long history of community improvement, especially projects or areas of public use. They consider enrichment and quality of life to be important aspects of building a community and wanted the opportunity to be a part of something that will benefit all residents of Great Bend.

“So we are grateful and delighted to have secured funding for the 1,056 foot walking trail and now the outdoor classroom – two key components of this project,” said Michelle Moshier, Director of the Clara Barton Foundation. . “Thanks to these two generous donors, we can move forward, focusing on the development of the green space surrounding this outdoor project and the elements still needed to complete our visions of a beautiful outdoor space that the public can use.

The late Bob and Pat Schmidt firmly believed that if you give back to your community, it will trigger a chain reaction of good and create a place where all can grow and prosper. Continuing this legacy, the Schmidt Foundation generously contributed to the hiking trail project.

The Schmidt Foundation donation will be used to fund an outdoor classroom on the north side of the clinic, adjacent to the walking path. The 21 x 24 foot concrete patio with pergola includes tables and benches for 20 people. Funding will also be used to develop and improve green space along the trail, including grass, flowers, plants, shrubs and trees.

“We are excited about the project that Clara Barton is building and that it will be such a wonderful addition to the Great Bend area in terms of people’s health and fostering a better community. all around, ”said Gary Shorman, chairman of Schmidt. Foundation.

Funds are still needed to help pave the way for a healthier community. Sponsorship levels range from $ 100 and up and donors will be recognized on a donor recognition board that will be placed at the entrance to the walking trail.

If you are interested in improving the quality of life in the Great Bend community or would like more information on how you can get involved, contact Karla Crissman or Michelle Moshier by phone, 620-653-2114.

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