" The Whole Community "
Submitted by Jean Giddens
Letter to the editor originally published in the Parsons Sun.
The company I work for assists people. We find the resources to assist people with staying in their own home and community. We work with several communities across the state of Kansas. Most of the customers we work for are elderly or non-able bodied.
There are those in our community who would rather our business be located somewhere “out of sight, out of mind”, so to speak. One of the very reasons we are able to serve the people that are a part of this community is that we need to be accessible. Being located in the downtown area allows us to provide easy walking distance for many of the people that utilize the resources available. After providing 15 years of service to the community and assisting thousands of people across the state we realize how important the whole community is.
There is a fine line between able bodied and non-able bodied. One accident, one illness or just the passing of time and all people could see a big change in the way they look at life. Take the time to recognize the “whole community” as you pass through our downtown area.
Fredonia held their Annual Customer Appreciation Picnic on the 25th of September. We had a great turn out with 41 people in attendance. Everyone had fun and enjoyed some great food provided by Miss Emma’s. I would like to thank all of the businesses and individuals that donated to the picnic. With your donations the picnic was a great success.
Those that donated were: Miss Emma’s Diner, Jay Hatfield Mobility, Frazier’s Treasures, Flowers and Nice Things, Doane’s Furniture, Plant Station, G&W in Fredonia, Porter Drug Store, The Derrick, Box Office Video, Dollar General in Fredonia and Neodesha, Helen Cunningham, Steve’s True Value, Mrs. C’s Family Restaurant, Bumpy’s Bar and Grill, Just Cuts, Robert’s Automotive, D&D Automotive, and Sign Design.
Everyone deserves a little RESPECT
On Tuesday night, Southeast Kansas Independent Living hosted its annual awards event, handing out honors to people who have helped the group through the past year, and beyond.
About a day afterward, eight southeast Kansas residents affiliated with the group were arrested in Washington, D.C., after practicing a little civil disobedience.
“They’re doing their best to raise awareness,” said Dave Sorrick, SKIL director of development. “They’re trying to champion housing for the poor and people with disabilities who are sometimes left out of the economic mix.
“It’s kind of organized chaos,” Sorrick said.
The disobedience occurred outside of the Housing and Urban Development office building, and continued on near the offices of U.S. Rep. Barney Frank, Sen. Chris Dobbs, and Sen. Richard Shelby.
“It creates a temporary shift in power, disrupting business as usual to get attention to get the policy makers to look at the cause,” said Greg Jones, SKIL advocate. “You’ve seen a lot of effectiveness with that in past years.”
As a matter of fact, it earned national ADAPT a one-on-one meeting with Bill Clinton when he was president, and a meeting with Al Gore during the 2000 election. Several years ago, the strategy earned 26 ADAPT activities entry into the west wing of the White House.
“At times, it’s something that doesn’t appear to be very effective to the general public,” Jones said. “And we only want to use it as a last resort. Sometimes it’s just the only way to bring folks to the table.”
Jones said the goal was to talk about the Community Choice act, which would give people without money a chance at long-term in-home care.
“In a lot of places, if you’re poor and you need long-term care, you don’t have that option,” Jones said. “Your only option is nursing home placement. Kansas is in the top 10 or 11 states in the nation when it comes to home- and community-based services, so as a state, we’re out there in front on the cutting edge. We’re certainly farther ahead than many states.”
As for the awards ceremony, Jones said the most important part was that it had a high turnout from local political leaders.
“The folks we work with always appreciate their presence, and their willingness to talk,” Jones said. “Disability issues are people issues, don’t you think?”
• SKIL gave out an award to Sen. Jim Barone, D-Frontenac, for his 12 years of service Tuesday night. Louis Hohl was named the Customer of the Year, while Karen Baker took home the Personal Care Attendant of the Year award. The organization also gave out awards to Catholic Charities and the First Church of the Nazarene.