Archive for Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Changing Lanes: Good deeds plentiful in area

November 20, 2007

McLouth and Tonganoxie are like many small towns.

Absent is a 30-theater megaplex, or a Best Buy, or a Starbucks, which probably is a good thing considering an 470-calorie white chocolate mocha would be all too handy on a daily basis.

However, what both communities do have is something worth far more than any theater, restaurant or coffee chain.

It's the ability to lend a helping hand, and both communities have done that.

With Thanksgiving and all of the great food that accompanies it, we're reminded to give thanks for all that we have.

Around here, it also is a time to simply give.

This past Friday, faculty and staff in the McLouth School District organized a benefit taco supper for Heidi Karn-Barker, a Lawrence resident formerly of McLouth who is preparing for a lung transplant operation in St. Louis. Although she will be on a waiting list for a donor, she's required to live in the St. Louis area to be eligible for the donated lungs. And, once the surgery takes place, she's required to remain living in St. Louis for three months so that the doctors can monitor her and make sure she is ready to return home to Kansas.

Her father, George Karn, is a longtime industrial arts teacher at McLouth High School.

Fellow faculty members, as well as staff, did all the food preparation for the benefit. All the food and supplies were donated.

The total amount of money raised? More than $2,100.

That's a hefty chunk of money that was accumulated in just two hours.

Proceeds will go to help Karn-Barker with expenses, such as housing, while she's in St. Louis.

Her father said his daughter, who has cystic fibrosis, is opting for the surgery because her ability to breathe on her own has become more and more difficult in the past few months. He said she has to rely on an oxygen tank almost constantly to help with her breathing.

Fellow McLouth teachers, however, didn't stop there when it came to helping the Karn family.

More than 30 teachers, with approval from the school board, donated a day of sick leave each to George Karn. He can use that time to be with his daughter and the rest of his family. Or, in June, he can redeem any unused days for a monetary exchange.

In Tonganoxie, the Tonganoxie High School cheerleading and dance team squads recently raised nearly $2,000 during a tater-tot-a-thon, in conjunction with the Tonganoxie Sonic Restaurant, with proceeds going to breast cancer awareness.

Sonic manager Charlie Kraut reported that Sonic officials matched a certain percentage of that money, making the total amount raised for the Susan G. Komen Foundation at more than $3,200.

The Tonganoxie Masonic Lodge had its second annual Thanksgiving dinner earlier this month. It was a free dinner that was made possible through the donations of several people and businesses in Tonganoxie. People attending were asked to donate canned food items, which the Masons then gave to the Good Shepherd Thrift Store and Food Pantry.

Tonganoxie American Legion members also got into the act, as they once again held a food drive in the B&J Country Mart parking lot. The event was a "fill-the-bus" drive in which people were asked to bring canned goods in an effort to fill the bus with donated items.

Like the Masons, American Legion members gave the items to Good Shepherd.

I'm certain many more good deeds are going on in the area. If I missed yours, I apologize.

Good deeds are to Tonganoxie and McLouth what Starbucks stores are to large cities -- plentiful.

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