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Couple sneaks across county line for hand sanitizer

Fran Brownell
Special to St. John News
Stafford residents Steve and Linda Hiebert delivered two cases of hand sanitizer to Stafford County Hospital, donated by Boot Hill Distillery in Dodge City, for sharing with facilities in Stafford and St. John.

ST. JOHN — With hand sanitizer a scarce commodity as the threat of coronavirus spreads, St. John residents Steve and Linda Hiebert became hometown heroes when they delivered two cases of hand sanitizer to Stafford County Hospital.

The cases were donated by Boot Hill Distillery in Dodge City for sharing with the City of Stafford and Leisure Homestead Association that has facilities in Stafford and St. John.

“A BIG thank you to Steve and Linda,” SCH Assistant Administrator Jo Caley said, referring not only to the delivery, also to the fact that Steve, a retired plumber, had alerted them to the opportunity to replenish their supply.

“My husband saw it on the 6 p.m. news and the next morning he was at the hospital to make sure they knew about it, too,” said Linda, who is piano accompanist for Stafford Middle School Vocal Music and Band.

“We wore our masks and I never got out of the car,” Linda said about the trip to Dodge City. “We felt a little ornery crossing the county line after sheltering in place at home for so long.”

Lee Griffith, director of sales, for Boot Hill Distillery said Boot Hill began the switchover from spirits to sanitizer in mid-March, as a public service.

“To date, we have given out over 60,000 bottles and 500 gallons of hand sanitizer to the Kansas medical community, first responders, elder-care facilities and nonprofits,” Griffith said. “We are nowhere near finished kicking COVID-19 to the curb.”

The sanitizer is being packaged by Boot Hill Distillery in 3-ounce bottles with 260 bottles to a case, also available in 42-count cases.

“We’re using 3-ounce bottles because that’s all that are available,” Griffith said.

Caley said that Stafford County Hospital has received several acts of kindness during COVID-19 pandemic, expressing appreciation to Beren’s, Engelbrecht’s and City of Stafford office staff for snacks and homemade goodies and to residents for providing homemade masks to hospital employees.

“Numerous people have offered kind words and appreciation to the employees through this time of challenges,” Caley said. “We are proud to provide health care in such generous community.”

The day Linda and Steve delivered the hand sanitizer to Stafford County Hospital, she wore a T-shirt emblazoned with a fitting motto for the time, "Do the Nice Thing.”