Our wider community has reached the “one year out” point after the tragic shootings in Harvey County last Feb. 25.
The Hesston Community Foundation, an affiliate of Central Kansas Community Foundation, has administered a charitable fund that has provided grants to organizations and programs to support the victims and the wider community during the recovery process. It has been a privilege to participate in the distribution of funds that were pivotal in the journey of recovery for those most impacted.
Personally, I have witnessed that for most in our area, life has returned to normal.
One would expect to be reassured by the descriptor “normal.” I am not. Nor is my perspective on life in our area the same.
Normal in Kansas, perhaps nationwide, is troubling.
Many individuals of all ages and stations in life continue to battle addiction challenges that lead to self-destructive or criminal behavior. Too many families struggle with domestic violence, creating instability in marriages and relationships while exposing children to chaotic circumstances that negatively impact them for decades.
Mental health services require courage to access, and not all populations have the skills or finances needed to enter treatment. Our new-founded cultural commitment to cyber relationships prevents us from engaging our co-workers, neighbors and loved ones in authentic relationships.
The numbness following a workplace shooting in central Kansas may have diminished, but we are still in a battle. Are we engaging in the appropriate conversations about our plan of attack?
Kansas is facing a disproportionate public health crisis that needs to be addressed at all levels, and the clock is advancing rapidly.
As a recipient of a GROW II grant, our community has been impacted by the Kansas Health Foundation’s commitment to improve the health and culture Kansas. Other Kansans must also come together and get personally involved in positive change.
We request that you continue to pray for and remember those whose lives were forever changed Feb. 25, 2016. My wish in honoring the memory of those who lost their lives is that we unite and make positive change toward a better “normal” in Kansas.
Susan Lamb is director of Hesston Community Foundation.