Several years ago, Memorial Health System (MHS), Chief Executive Officer, Harold Courtois, signed a pledge to “affirm our commitment to taking on new opportunities that provide greater access to healthy lifestyles for our patients and employees,” he said. “We believe it is our responsibility and our duty as a health care organization to improve the lives of the population we serve, and encourage strong community norms for healthier living. We are willing to learn more about making healthy environment and healthy policy changes to help all employees, patients, and community members live longer and have better quality lives.”
In the fall of 2020, Memorial Health Foundation received a Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas, Pathways to a Healthy Kansas Implementation Grant in the amount of $40,070.15, and a $5,000 Community Spaces Grant from the Union Pacific Foundation, to help construct a walking trail on the south side of the Memorial Hospital campus. In April of 2021 the trail was open to the public, and since that time the Foundation has worked to add features like trashcans, pet waste stations, solar lights, and entry sidewalks on the East and West sides of the lot. Several dead trees and brush have been cleared to remove any potential safety hazards for those who visit to walk the trail.
The Community Foundation of Dickinson County approved a $10,000.00 grant to the Memorial Health Foundation in November 2022 towards the playground project. This amount along with other money raised from donations and fundraisers brings the total close to $13,000.00 for the project. Other monies raised include: $1,000.00 from the MHS Volunteer Corps, $100.00 from M & M Tire and Auto, and $100.00 from Solomon State Bank. NFL player, Cody Whitehair, donated an autographed football to the Foundation which they held a raffle for, and that fundraiser brought in a total of $1,005.00. MHS employees also gave $995.00 to the walking trail through their Friday Jeans Days. “We are excited to be able to purchase a few pieces of playground equipment to put on the East side of the lot. This will be an even friendlier place with these added features for kids to play on,” said Jonee Crump, Foundation Manager. The Foundation wants Memorial View Park and Walking Trail to benefit many people. Whether it is families visiting loved ones in the hospital or living at Village Manor, employees that work in the area taking a much needed break, or those who live in the neighborhood who seek physical activity outdoors.
Memorial Health Foundation has continues to raise funds through donations, grants, and memorials to fund additional enhancements for the area. There is much that lies ahead for the future development of this area. New trees, a memorial garden, more sidewalks as the land continues to develop, shaded picnic tables, and even electricity. MHS would like to be able to hold outdoor events in the future for employees and the community.
The Quality of Life Coalition (QLC) deserves recognition for their part in bringing the walking trail to fruition. It is just one of many projects that QLC (in Abilene) has been a part of in Dickinson County. They have been instrumental with the work they do; partnering with organizations and helping to get BCBS grants approved. Many businesses and organizations in the community have and will continue to benefit from their work.
If you would like to be a part of creating this small park, and having your name added to the list of donors who may take credit for helping, please make a donation to the Memorial Health Foundation and designate your gift to the Memorial View Park and Walking Trail.