With hand sanitizer a scarce commodity as the threat of coronavirus spreads, St. John residents Steve and Linda Hiebert became hometown heroes when they recently delivered two cases of hand sanitizer to Stafford County Hospital, donated by Boot Hill Distillery in Dodge City, for sharing with the City of Stafford and Leisure Homestead Association with facilities in both 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 non-profits,” Griffith said. “We are nowhere near finished kicking COVID-19 to the curb.”

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

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

Because of the demand by the general public and the expense involved in producing the hand sanitizer, Griffith said that Boot Hill Distillery now also has a retail sales program, with pickup at the distillery, located at 501 West Spruce Street in Dodge City.

“We are truly humbled by the outpouring of support from not only our community in Southwest Kansas, but also from across the state, and beyond. We will keep providing this as long as we can and as long as the need is there,” Griffith said.

Caley said that Stafford Cunty 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 Cindy Park, Pam Turner and Karen Soden for providing homemade masks for 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.”

Supplies of hand sanitizer from the Boot Hill Distillery were also shared with Pratt Regional Medical Center and other area medical and nursing facilities.