Community health is a top priority of the Clara Barton organization, recognizing that unhealthy communities lead to chronic diseases such as obesity, heart disease, cancer and diabetes. In efforts to continue to promote healthy lifestyles, plans to include a community walking trail at Clara Barton Medical Center‘s new Great Bend location at 10th and McKinley is getting closer to fruition thanks to generous donations from both Larry and Kathy Schugart and the Schmidt Foundation.
The addition of a community walking trail to the new Clara Barton Clinic location will provide a safe, relaxing, and well-lit space to walk, gather with friends, or to enjoy some peace and quiet.
Clara Barton completed a similar project back in 2016 at their hospital campus in Hoisington where a Pathways Grant funding was utilized to fill in the sidewalk gaps, fully encircling the hospital with a walking loop.
“The completion of the walking trail surrounding our Hoisington location provided residents opportunities to improve their physical and psychological health but more importantly it strengthened community connections,” said Jim Blackwell, CEO. “We are thrilled to bring a similar experience to our Great Bend location providing the community, local business employees, and patients a safe and enjoyable place to gather and exercise.”
This venue will be used as a gathering place to host numerous community outdoor activities such as a Walk with a Doc program, health education programs, and community fitness events. It is their hope that this outdoor facility and walking trail will be used by all, fostering community connectivity and inspiring others to get active and make healthy lifestyle changes.
“The COVID-19 pandemic brought to light the critical need for public spaces that support the health, safety, and well-being of the community,” said Karla Crissman, Clinic Administration/Wellness Coordinator. “We have witnessed the toll that lockdowns and social distancing has taken on many members of our community. Now more than ever before we have a better appreciation and understanding of the importance of making our outdoor spaces sustainable, usable and inviting.”
As much as Clara Barton prides themselves as “Healthcare Champions”, this project wouldn’t be possible without the partnerships of other key “Healthcare Champions” throughout the community.
Earlier this year Larry and Kathy Schugart recommended a grant through their donor advised fund at the Golden Belt Community Foundation to fund the walking trail around the new clinic. Both Great Bend natives, the Schugarts have long held an interest in improving the community, particularly projects or areas for use by the public. They consider the 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 Great Bend residents.
“We so are grateful and ecstatic 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, Clara Barton Foundation Director. “Thanks to these two generous donors we are able to move forward, focusing on the development of the green space surrounding this outdoor project and the elements still needed in order to complete our visions of a beautiful outdoor space the public can utilize.”
The late Bob and Pat Schmidt were firm believers that if you give back to your community, it will begin a chain reaction of good and create a place where all can grow and thrive. Continuing that legacy, the Schmidt Foundation made a generous contribution towards the walking trail project which will be used to pave the way to a healthier Great Bend community.
The Schmidt Foundation’s donation will be used to fund an outdoor classroom which will be located on the north side of the clinic, adjacent to the walking trail. The 21 x 24-foot concrete patio with pergola includes tables and bench seating for 20 people. Funding will also be used to develop and enhance the green space along the trail including grass, flowers, plants, shrubs, and trees.
“We are excited about the project Clara Barton is building and how it will be such a wonderful addition to the Great Bend area as far as making people healthy and encouraging a better community all the way around, ” said Gary Shorman, President of the Schmidt Foundation.
Funding is still needed to help pave the way to a healthier community. Sponsorship levels range from $100 and up and donors will be recognized on a donor recognition board to be placed at the walking trail entrance.
If you are interested in improving the quality of life in the Great Bend community or if you would like more information on how you can get involved, please contact Karla Crissman or Michelle Moshier at 620-653-2114.