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Sunday
September 27th, 2020

lions club donation swmcLions Club Past District Governor Tom Baumann, left, and current District Governor Diana Baumann, right, pose for a picture with Southwest Medical Center Materials Management Director Renee Thompson, Chief Financial Officer Amber Williams and Marketing and Development Director Janeth Vazquez and Liberal Noon Lions Club Immediate Past President Kay Burtzloff with the 1,000 gowns Lions Club donated to the hospital recently. L&T photo/Robert PierceROBERT PIERCE • Leader & Times

 

The need for personal protective equipment in health care facilities has risen as the COVID-19 pandemic wears on, and recently, Liberal’s Southwest Medical Center got a little help with that matter.

“This morning, we’re bringing down 1,000 gowns to the medical center,” Diana Baumann said Friday, as she, husband, Tom Baumann, and Liberal resident Kay Burtzloff delivered the equipment to Southwest Medical Center. 

Diana is the current district governor of Kansas Lions Club 17 K, and Tom is the current past district governor. Burtzloff serves at this time as the immediate past president of the Liberal Noon Lions Club.

Diana said with COVID-19 still a concern, facilities such as SWMC are in need of items such as gowns, and she said the effort to get the items to Liberal started as far back as April.

Money for the gowns came from a grant from the Chicago-based National Community Investment Fund, where the effort began, and Diana said thus far, more than $5 million has been donated by Lions Clubs for COVID relief.

“This is actually a grant from Lions Club, and it’s more of a district thing to help on a larger scale,” she said. “That’s what we try to do with the bigger grants – when you have a need of more than 100 people, you look at a grant, and that’s what we did.”

She added, though, with many of NCIF’s people working from home, making getting the gowns very difficult, but eventually, Lions Club members were able to get the items. Diana said the Liberal hospital was just one of a few facilities Lions targeted with the efforts in Southwest Kansas.

“Everything was pretty tough down here,” she said. “Garden City said they wanted gloves, and we’ve got gloves on the way for them. They’ve got large gloves, but no small or little gloves. Dodge City, they had gowns because they have a bigger company that supplies them with the gowns, but their fire department was looking for masks and respirator filters on both sides, so we purchased 10 masks for them.”

The Baumanns’ district includes a good part of Kansas, extending from Salina west, and Diana said there are 72 clubs in the district willing do whatever communities need.

“That’s why we’re Lions,” she said. “This is why we do what we do. We try to be there in the midst of all this. If there’s a tornado, we’ll be out there helping. With the pandemic, it just means we continue to do what we do. If there is a need, we need to get busy, and we need to see what we can do to help out. That’s what we’ve done.”

Diana said helping with a pandemic is somewhat contrasting to other projects Lions take on.

“This is different because if you have a tornado or a fire, you can go right downtown, and you can buy things to supply the people who need it,” she said. “This was different because it’s very difficult to get personal protective equipment. It was just harder to get the supplies for the people who needed them.”

One of the benefits to SWMC having the equipment donated is the growing cost of such items.

“These used to be 11 cents apiece,” she said. “They’re $11 now, so the funds they had set aside for this are not there. It was just another way we can help out.”

Diana said Tom began the gowns project while he was still district governor, and she took over the project July 1 when she became head of the district.

“We’re working as a team on this,” he said.

Diana said getting equipment for health care facilities was a fantastic first project for her as governor of the district.

“It’s hard to put into words when you’re able to help people who really need it,” she said. “We’re used to doing those kind of things. For me to say how is this, it’s just what we do, but for the first project as a district governor, it’s amazing to be able to help people who are having a hard time finding just gowns for this kind of thing.”

Diana said the Lions Club district also has some other projects coming up in the near future.

“We are going to do things a little bit different this year,” she said. “We’re going to do districtwide service projects, and our first one’s going to start in September. We are going to acknowledge front line responders. All the towns that have a Lions Club, they’re either going to organize meals or goodies. They’re going to leave that up to the clubs. They can probably come up with better ideas than I do. We’ll be working on diabetes. We do screening for children for sight. We’ve saved a lot of young people’s sight because we find things early. My personal project is going to be pediatric cancer, we’re going to help with families with children who have cancer.”

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