The Kansas Emergency Medical Technicians Association will this weekend honor five local men and women who never say ‘no,’ to the needs of police officers, firefighters and first responders.
Ford County Fire Chief Rob Boyd nominated all three Ford County commissioners as well as two social workers for their contributions and commitment to the highest ideals of pre-hospital care in this community.
The Dodge House Hotel and Convention Center will play host to the association’s honor banquet this Saturday, where it will present the Outstanding Elected Official award to Ford County Commissioners Ken Snook, Shawn Tasset and Chris Boys.
Deb Moffitt, of Family Care Clinic of Western Kansas, and Vicki Broz, of Compass Behavioral Health, together will take home the Outstanding Civilian award.
Boyd was earnest in his explanation as to why these individuals were at the top of his list.
“I submitted a nomination letter stating how supportive our commission was to the department to get the most up-to-date equipment and provide adequate funding for training,” he said in an email.
Chairman Snook said it was not the commission’s practice to deny requests from emergency services.
“When the fire department comes to you and says it needs something to better serve the community, that’s not the time you want to moan about money,” Snook said.
Moffit and Broz both conduct themselves professionally in the same “no-cost-is-too-high” style, Boyd said.
For eight years, the duo has waged a quiet, but unflagging campaign, pro bono, for the betterment of the collective mental health of Ford County’s emergency service personnel.
“We did this as a total response,” Moffitt said. “We’re not looking for recognition.”
It was a response to what Boyd described in his nomination letter as, “a wave of first responder suicides,” that hit Ford County in 2009.
Moffit recalled a two-week period later, in 2012, during which Ford County lost three more emergency personnel when a case worker, a nurse and a first responder all died by their own hands.
“Somebody’s got to do something to make this stop,” Moffitt said. “Somebody’s got to give these guys and gals resources and coping skills and ask them what they need.”
That’s when she joined forces with Broz, “determined to make an impact in the area,” Boyd wrote.
“They shared a common goal and shortly thereafter, a close bond formed,” his letter stated. “After teaming up, both Broz and Moffitt went on tour, visiting every shift at Ford County Fire/EMS, the Ford County Sheriff’s Office, and the Dodge City Police Department.
“The purpose of visiting these shifts was to talk to every first responder and make sure they were staying mentally healthy.
"They have given themselves entirely to preventing first-responder suicides in our area.”
Boyd said the women answer every call from responders as well as crime victims 24-hours a day.
“They remain behind the scenes but, without them, who knows where our responders would be?” Boyd wrote. “We have had zero first responder suicides since these two joined forces in our county.”
Broz said she was speechless in response to reading Boyd’s nomination letter; Moffitt, humbled.
“We’re very humbled and honored by their trust in us,” she said. “Law enforcement — it’s hard to crack those guys and gals.”
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