TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) – The sons and daughters of Kansas natives held their 103rd annual meeting on Saturday night in Topeka.
For the first time in its history, the organization honored an entire industry at its annual banquet.
“For 100 years we have met to honor a Kansan of the Year, and tonight we are doing something a little different rather than honoring one individual or group of individuals, we are honoring the entire healthcare system for its response to COVID-19” said Clint Patty, co-president of Native Sons and Daughters of Kansas.
After a two-year hiatus due to the pandemic, the organization saw fit to honor healthcare workers upon its return.
“We haven’t met in two years due to the pandemic and after everything we’ve all been through as Kansans, there was a thought on the board that we should take a moment and mark this moment to honor those healthcare workers who have given us so much,” Patty said.
In past years, the award has gone to a single person for his or her contributions to the state.
“We had everyone from Gordon Parks to Dwight Eisenhower to Bob Dole to Bill Self to Bill Snyder just honored hundreds of Kansans who brought much respect and honor to the state and made great contributions to both this state than to the nation,” Patty said.
Patty said the contributions and sacrifices of healthcare professionals are hard to put into words.
“It’s hard for us to even fully appreciate it. Whenever there’s a major disaster or something happens in this country, we have an opportunity to volunteer, we have an opportunity to get involved in the cleanup efforts. We didn’t have the opportunity to do it with COVID-19, it was too dangerous. And so these healthcare professionals have literally taken all of that onto their shoulders and have borne the full brunt of it and that means the world.