Your browser version is outdated. We recommend that you update your browser to the latest version.

The Hesston Record
347 B Old Hwy 81
Hesston, KS 67062
(620) 327-4831

Some EMS Responders Arrived In Personal Vehicles

Posted 3/2/2016

By Record Staff

On Thursday afternoon, as calls went out across emergency response radios, Hesston EMS were some of the first responders to the scene of Thursday’s shooting.

All told, according to Director Russ Buller, 29 Hesston volunteers and staff members responded to the Excel shooting. 

Hesston EMS volunteer Beth Schurz arrived on scene to give the aid she could.

“To me there really wasn’t a choice. I needed to be there to use my training as an EMT to help those in need. This call really wasn’t about me it was about helping those in need,” she said. 

Volunteer Dylan Anderson arrived on scene with another EMS volunteer in his personal vehicle, dropping everything in his everyday life to arrive at Excel

“I chose to respond because when I applied for this job it meant that I was to serve and protect the city of Hesston along side my co-workers. On Thursday that’s what I made sure I did,” he said.

EMS personnel and volunteers had been preparing for Thursday’s events, but hoping to never put into practice their training.

“We train on mass casualty incidents. We train on critical trauma. We train on the incident command system. We train with our neighboring departments and develop those relationships so that when we call for help they respond in force,” said Buller.

Fire Marshal Misti Uhlman arrived on scene and immediately went to work.

“It’s what we are trained to do. Muscle memory kicks in and you do what needs to be done,” she said.

When responding to the scene, not only were there victims, but hundreds of people on scene. 

“My greatest challenge was understanding that I couldn’t help everyone. As soon as I got out of the ambulance I was being told by bystanders of multiple people who were shot and needing assistance.  I couldn’t help everyone at once so I have to pick one. That is the greatest challenge picking one person to help when there are so many that needed it,” said Scharz. 

Read the rest of this entry »

City’s Training Led To Fast, Organized Response

Posted 3/2/2016

Record Staff

Within minutes of a gunman being reported at Excel Industries, the City of Hesston had crews of fire, police and emergency responders rolling to the scene.

At City Hall, Administrator Gary Emry and his staff were preparing for the onslaught of agencies flooding into Hesston – namely the FBI, KBI, ATF.

“We were told that more than 400 of them would ascend on the community,” said Emry. Americinn reported 30 FBI agents staying there.

With the Incident Command Center stationed in the EMS training room of City Hall and law enforcement taking over council chambers, city personnel were setting up electronic infrastructure.

“Over the last six months, we have been training under Incident Command System principles. My staff leadership has endured hours of on-line training, classroom training and table-top exercises,” Emry said.

“Although I had no idea we would be victimized by an event like this, the timing of our training couldn’t have been better planned. Having fundamental knowledge of the ICS operation and function was extremely beneficial to the employees that were assigned critical responsibilities,” said Emry.

To read more see this weeks print edition

Read the rest of this entry »

Candlelight Vigil Was First Community-Wide Meeting After Violence

Posted 3/2/2016

Record Staff

We visit and drive past Heritage Park all the time and it was difficult to believe last Friday the park was the backdrop for a candlelight vigil mourning dead employees at Excel Industries and praying for those wounded.

On a beautiful, crisp Hesston evening hundreds of candles were raised as people tried to grasp what had happened in the most peaceful town in America. There was no public address system, people simply stood on a park bench and spoke or prayed.

Shane McChesney was the first speaker and his instructions were simple. “Cry, hug, talk it out,” he said.

McChesney, the organizer of the event, said Friday morning, the reality of what had happened was setting in.

“My girlfriend, Lady Davis, were watching the news and she comes up with the idea. I said that sounded like a great idea and we should try that,” said McChesney.

Through social medial McChesney reached out to friends and friends-of-friends to organize the event.

“Me, my girlfriend, Lynn Porter, Danny West and Amanda all went to Walmart, Dollar Tree, and gathered up all this stuff and started making ribbons and cutting cups. We told everyone to bring candles,” he said.

Read the rest of this entry »

Roseburg, Oregon Knows What We Are Going Through

Posted 3/2/2016

Record staff

The city of Roseburg, Oregon has been down the path Hesston is going through. Last October a gunman there killed nine people at a community college campus in a mass shooting that deeply impacted the town, says Roseburg Mayor Larry Rich.

Roseburg is five months into the healing process and Rich says healing will come slowly but steadily for Hesston.

Roseburg is larger than Hesston at about 21,000 people but like Hesston it is rural and Rich says it is a quiet place. They were also shocked when their town was the scene of a mass shooting.

“We felt like it would never happen here,” he said.

The shooter that attacked Excel Industries lived in nearby Newton and commuted into Hesston for his job. Rich said the Oregon shooter was also someone from outside Roseburg.

Rich is an assistant principal in the school system in Roseburg and he said many of the students in the town go on to the community college. He said for a while he wondered if the killer was one of his former students but found it wasn’t when the gunman was identified.

“It gave us a sigh of relief that it wasn’t one of our students,” he said.

Hesston had several community gatherings over the weekend to mourn the three people killed in Thursday’s attack.

“You will see people coming together; there will be a period of that. Then the next thing is fundraising. Some people have their own way of doing fundraising. What we found worked best was coordinating events through the newspaper and the city.

Read the rest of this entry »