Last week, Governor Laura Kelly recognized Rebecca Johnson as a Public Health Hero in Kansas at her 4 pm press conference:
Johnson is the director of the Southeast Kansas Multi-County Health Department and her office is in Fort Scott.
The following is a submission by Johnson.
I am honored to be recognized by Governor Laura Kelly, but do not consider myself a hero. I care about and have a vested interest in the health and well-being of the counties and communities I serve and am trying to fulfill the duties of the Local Health Officer/Administrator to the best of my ability.
Just like as for many others, this last year has been extremely trying and stressful for me. COVID-19 has forced me from my comfort-zone and made new-norms for my everyday life, as it has for the rest of us. I am thankful to God for all the blessings and support He has given me. I would like to thank my husband and children, family, friends, my church, my staff, my board and medical director for all of their support. Without them, I may not have made it this far, as around 1/3 of the Local Health Officers/Administrators in Kansas have left their positions for one reason or another, since COVID-19 began.
There have been many people that have supported our organization and I over the past year and who still are, from city/county personnel and community members and local organizations to regional and state representatives. Thank you to all of these folks for your un-ending support-we still have a ways to go!!
I would like to recognize my amazing staff, the heart and soul of our health departments, many of whom have worked countless hours after they’ve gone home at night and throughout the weekend on COVID-19 related issues, but have missed out on so much with their own families, to promote and protect the health of the communities they love. They have continued to be adaptable and determined as they have trudged through, where many in their shoes would have already given up. These are the extraordinary people who work for SEK Multi-County Health Department and serve Public Health in the counties of Allen, Anderson, Bourbon and Woodson.
Public Health Nurse: Megan Neville
Administrative Assistant: Ruby Gulick
Accountant: Traci Ridge
Planning & Outreach Coordinator: Susan Belt
Home Visitor: Vicki Howard
WIC Coord/Public Health Nurse: Deidre Wilson
Public Health Nurse: Samantha Mason
Administrative Assistant: Mika Mader
Public Health Nurse: Alice Maffett
Public Health Nurse: Hannah Geneva
Administrative Assistant: Kristi George
Home Visitor: Holly Fritter
Public Health Nurse: Chardel Hastings
Administrative Assistant: Joni Diver
We have also been blessed to have been able to hire some part-time staff that work primarily on COVID-19 within our four counties. These exceptional people are: Cara Walden RN, Lisa Goins RN, Sara Goins, Jennifer Hyer RN and Benjamin Fischer, plus several others that have assisted us throughout the last several months: Stacy Sauerwein RN, Robin Hughes RN, Stachia Cooper RN, and Vicki Tureskis RN and numerous volunteers.