Flyover Salute by “Doc”

Team McConnell performed a series of community flyovers for Operation America Strong on May 6, 2020.

The flight of two KC-135 Stratotankers and a KC-46 Pegasus from McConnell, followed closely by Wichita’s own B-29 Superfortress “Doc,” flew over local communities and hospitals to salute first responders, military members and essential personnel who are working on the frontlines to combat the coronavirus.

The flightpath brought the aircraft over Wichita, Derby, Newton, Andover, Garden Plain, Haysville and El Dorado, including 11 local hospitals.

First responders, healthcare workers and community members gathered on the lawn of Susan B. Allen Memorial Hospital, USD490 Performing Arts Center parking lot and a variety of locations along Central Avenue to watch the flyover and join Team McConnell in saluting our local heroes.

“We actually picked up on this information on social media,” said Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Director, Frank Williams.

“We noticed that McConnell Air Force Base had decided to do a flyover, so we rallied our troops,” said Williams.

“Our Public Information Officer Stewart Funk made contact and reached out to the other first responders and the hospital,” Williams said. “We came up here to congratulate everybody on a job well done and the hard work they’ve been doing and watch the flyover from the front lawn at the hospital.”

Williams also expressed his appreciation for everyone in Butler County, “We are really blessed because we have so much teamwork and collaboration between the hospital, law enforcement, fire department and EMS we are one big team battling one big event.”

“Team McConnell takes great pride in being part of this community,” said Col. Richard Tanner, 22nd Air Refueling Wing commander. “We are thrilled to have the opportunity to show our appreciation and solidarity to the thousands of heroes who are working tirelessly to battle COVID-19.”

The flyover salute is a total force effort between the 22nd ARW, the Air Force Reserve 931st Air Refueling Wing and the Kansas Air National Guard 184th Wing, all located on McConnell Air Force Base.

The flight also symbolizes over 70 years of aviation in the air capital of the world, featuring the Air Force’s newest tanker and the World War II heavy bomber.

“We are humbled and honored to join our nation’s warfighters at McConnell Air Force Base and be a part of Operation American Strong to salute those who have been battling the virus on the front lines, as well as to recognize those essential workers who have been keeping the grocery store shelves stocked, making deliveries and keeping our communities going during the pandemic,” said Josh Wells, Doc’s Friends, Inc., executive director and general manager.

The Air Force has extensively planned and implemented measures to ensure the force and individual units remain ready to carry out their respective missions. Air Force flyovers are conducted at no additional cost to the taxpayer and serve as training for pilots.

Mobile COVID-19 Testing Site 

At a time when COVID-19 testing is critical to the pandemic response, the State of Kansas is implementing drive-through testing sites to be available in communities across Kansas, to test first responders, healthcare providers whether or not they are exhibiting symptoms as well as anyone who may be exhibiting symptoms of the virus. 

Walmart has partnered with the State of Kansas in this initiative to set up several mobile COVID-19 testing sites. One of the five sites will be located in Butler County.  

The local site will be conducted at the El Dorado State Park, 1714 NE Shady Creek Access Rd, El Dorado, KS 67042.  Testing will be available, through appointment, on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays each week from 10am – 3pm, weather permitting. 

The official testing schedule launches Monday, May 4, 2020.  

Information on how to schedule an appointment:

Who: 

  • All first responders and healthcare providers and anyone who is exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19. 
  • For more information on testing eligibility, please see CDC guidelines: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/downloads/priority-testing-patients.pdf. 
  • Those who wish to be tested will be screened to ensure they meet CDC eligibility for testing. If individuals have difficulty scheduling an appointment, they can call 800-635-8611, or they can schedule an appointment on-site. The testing site is supported by Walmart, eTrueNorth and state and local officials. 

What: 

  • A mobile drive-through COVID-19 testing site open to all healthcare providers and first responders and anyone who is exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19, at no cost to the individual. 
  • All appointments will be drive-through observed with self-collection. 
  • To be tested, individuals must be in a car and have a scheduled appointment through eTrueNorth at www.DoINeedaCOVID19test.com
  • On-site scheduling will also be available. 

Where:

El Dorado State Park, 1714 NE Shady Creek Access Rd, El Dorado, KS 67042 

When: 

  • The official testing schedule launches Monday, May 4, 2020. 
  • Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays each week from 10am – 3pm, weather permitting. 
  • Please arrive no more than 10 minutes before your appointment time. 

What to bring/things to note: 

  • The testing site will require an appointment through eTrueNorth’s online site (www.DoINeedaCOVID19test.com). You will receive an appointment confirmation that you will need to have on hand when you arrive on-site. 
  • In addition, please make sure to bring your insurance card and valid photo ID for proof of identity. 
  • Those being tested will need to stay in their cars for verification of eligibility criteria, ID check and self-administered test. For the safety of all those on-site, the test site is not available to walk-ups; those being tested must be in a car. 
  • Individuals being tested will perform a self-administered nasal swab in their car with a healthcare provider observing them. Directions will be provided in the confirmation email after scheduling the appointment and on-site. 
  • It’s important to take care of yourself and monitor your symptoms closely. If your symptoms do not improve or you develop new or worsening symptoms, seek medical attention right away. Do not wait to receive your results. 

Results: 

  • Individuals will be able to access their results on http://www.DoINeedaCOVID19test.com. They will receive a text and/or email notification when their COVID-19 test results are available. 
  • Average turnaround time is approximately 24 to 48 hours from the day of collection. 
  • While individuals who are tested are awaiting results, please follow CDC guidelines and take steps to help prevent the disease from spreading to people in your home and community. 

If you have any questions regarding your scheduled appointment, please call 800-635-8611. 

 

 

Surprise Birthday Parade

Friends and family gathered for a surprise birthday parade in honor of Virginia Ball‘s 95th birthday.

Due to the stay home mandate, Ball has been home and relatively isolated from family and friends for six weeks. That changed on Sunday, April 26, 2020. 

Ball’s daughter, Georgann Anderson, told her they were going to the nursery to buy some flowers for Virginia‘s garden, as a birthday gift.

Virginia was dressed, with her face mask on, and sitting on her front porch preparing for her outing when police sirens went off and a couple of El Dorado Police Department cars rounded the corner leading a birthday procession.

Virginia was surprised and overcome with emotion as well wishers drove by, honking. 

They delivered flowers and balloons and large birthday yard signs.

Anderson had the idea and contacted her own daughter, Denise Barth Henggeler, who lives out of state.  Together, with the help of local friends, they organized the “Top Secret Birthday Parade“ online.  

Friends from across the country who were unable to participate in the parade showered Virginia with birthday cards while others sent video messages. 

Holding a large sign, Ball laughed when she said she has to tell the truth about her age, “I’m 95, I can’t lie.” 

Ball said her secret to longevity is to, “Stay busy. Don’t sit around and do nothing.”

The surprise birthday parade brightened her day and brought a smile to her face. She said the past couple of weeks had been hard on her. 

“It’s been terrible, I’ve been depressed, and I don’t get that way.” 

Easter Online

Maundy Thursday is the day celebrated by Christians to commemorate the Washing of the Feet and the Last Supper of Jesus Christ.  

On Maundy Thursday this year, I visited with Jordan Friesen, the Senior Pastor at El Dorado First Baptist Church to learn how they are adjusting Easter Week services in light of the mandated stay home order.

While Easter celebration will look different for everyone, there is an exceptionally poignant reality to Friesen‘s Easter celebration this year. 

In addition to celebrating his first Easter at El Dorado First Baptist Church, Friesen is celebrating his first Easter as a Pastor. 

Friesen’s wife, Mary, has family in Wichita but due to the stay home order, and increased spread of COVID-19 in Sedgwick County, they will not be gathering in person. 

“We are not able to see one another face-to-face,” Friesen began, “thankfully, with God’s good, sovereign timing and His good, sovereign plan, I have a background in video.” 

With a degree in communications media, Friesen and made small films prior to attending seminary.

“It’s been neat to be able to utilize those skills to help communicate with our congregation even though we’re not seeing each other face-to-face, at least we are able to see each other face-to-face at a computer screen.” Friesen said. 

Friesen, along with Associate Pastor Matt Click, has been putting those skills to good use by creating daily encouragement videos that are shared via the church’s Facebook page. 

In addition to the lighthearted, yet intentional daily videos designed to give a reprieve from the bombardment of news media, they are creating daily 5-10 minute videos during Holy Week to help the congregation prepare their hearts for the celebration of Easter.

The Holy Week vidéos will culminate in Live Stream services and will be performed on both Good Friday and Easter. Those services can be accessed by visiting the church website: https://www.edfbc.com

First Responder Appreciation Dinner

County and City law enforcement agencies, Kansas Wildlife & Parks, County Fire Districts, Emergency Management, Rescue & Medical  Services, 911 Centers and School Resource Officers, along with family, friends and community supporters, were on hand for the 3rd Annual First Responder Appreciation Dinner held in El Dorado on Saturday, February 29, 2020.

Dane Scherling, Managing Partner of Carlson and Kirby-Morris Funeral Homes, welcomed guests and served as the evening’s emcee.  Carlson and Kirby-Morris sponsored the annual Appreciation Dinner and Jean Plummer served as the event organizer. 

Kansas State Fire Marshal Doug Jorgensen, was the guest speaker.  Jorgensen spoke about understanding the sacrifices and commitment required, as he has been in the first responder community for 40 years.   

In the audience, El Dorado Police Chief Curt Zieman, was acknowledged for his 40 years of service. 

Jorgensen shared information about the programs and resources his office provides. 

The Office of the State Fire Marshal (OSFM) is dedicated to protecting the lives and property of the citizens of Kansas from the hazards of fire, explosion, and natural and man-made disasters.

He said the OSFM is funded through money generated from a small fee on every insurance policy sold in the state each year. 

Jorgensen touched on recruitment and retention issues within the first responder community as well as mental health issues of first responders and the strategies being employed to address those needs.

According to Jorgensen, 86% of firefighters in the state are volunteers.   Many of the dinner attendees are volunteers within the Butler County First Responder Community. 

Fire Marshal Doug Jorgensen, left, is pictured with the Carlson Colonial and Kirby-Morris Funeral Homes staff and organizer Jean Plummer, right.

Jorgensen expresses his thanks to the community and to Carson and Kirby-Morris for sponsoring the event. He said few communities across the state recognize their first responders this way.

Reception for Dr. Roger Marshall

Dr. Roger Marshall has deep ties to Butler County.  A candidate for US Senate, Marshall will be the guest at a public reception for him January 18th from 12:30 to 3 p.m. at the 526 N. Star Venue in El Dorado. 

He is the grandson of Butler County farmers, son of El Dorado former Chief of Police, Victor Marshall, and has continued friendships with many El Dorado High School classmates and residents. 

Marshall graduated from EHS in 1978, attended Butler Community College, graduated from Kansas State University with a Bachelor’s degree in biochemistry, and a Doctor of Medicine, with a residency in Obstetrics and Gynecology at Bayfront Medical Center in St. Petersburg, Florida.  He has served in his ob/gyn practice in Great Bend since completing his residency.

He served 7 years in the U. S. Army Reserves.  

Also a farmer and rancher, an emphasis of his life has been to support and encourage those in the agricultural field.  He was recently a leader in getting the United States, Mexico and Canada trade agreement passed. (USMCA)

Standing up for life,  jobs, families, values and  faith, have been goals of his life and career.

Currently a U.S. House of Representatives member from the big First Kansas District, his desire is to continue to serve all of Kansas and the USA.  He currently serves on the national committees for agriculture, science space and technology.

He and his wife Laina have four children and two grandsons. 

In addition to being an advocate for agricultural interests, he is a strong advocate for the pro-life movement. 

Learn more about Marshall’s life and public service at the public reception, hosted by Ben and Jean Plummer, Dan and Joyce Demo, Chris and Allison Locke, Steve and Molly Vestring and Kerri and Marv Loucks.

Nations Wreaths Across America Day

National Wreaths Across America Day is Saturday, December 14, 2019, this year.

Wreaths Across America coordinates wreath­-laying ceremonies at more than 1,600 locations across the United States, at sea and abroad. The ceremonies In El Dorado will begin at 12:00p.m.

Debbie Kellogg, left, Wreaths Across America founder, Morrill Worcester, center, and DeLane Kellogg, right. 

The Kellogg’s pick up the wreaths from the Walmart Distribution Center in Ottawa. They will be delivering wreaths, along with their daughter, to the three El Dorado cemeteries, Sunset Lawns Cemetery, Walnut Valley Cemetery and Belle Vista Cemetery  on Saturday.  

Members and volunteers from the Captain Edgar Dale American Legion Post 82 and Auxiliary Unit 81 in El Dorado will be on hand to help lay wreaths. 

According to Debbie Kellogg, there are currently 108 wreaths to be laid, this year.