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Mid-America Publishing awards $1,000 to Keokuk County Disaster Assistance Team

 In mid-November, CEO Ryan Harvey presented all of the papers owned by Mid America Publishing with a challenge. This challenge was to reach out to members of the community and get the most subscribers by New Year’s Eve. The winner of the contest would be able to donate $500 to a local charity of their choosing. In addition to that, if a paper was able to get over 50 new subscribers before ringing in 2017, that amount would then be raised to $1000.
The charity had to benefit the subscription area. With so many reputable and deserving non- profit organizations in the Keokuk County area, the team at The News-Review began thinking of who they would choose. The choice became a unanimous one when the Disaster Assistance team was mentioned.
Keokuk County Disaster Assistance Team (KCDAT) provides assistance to all nine departments in Keokuk county. Run by Wayne and Sandy Smithart, KCDAT has been been helping local fire departments and emergency personnel on their own since 2008. When needed, they arrive on scene and provide refreshments for emergency personnel. “We want to make sure that everyone is hydrated and has food while working these fires. If someone is called out to a fire in the afternoon that lasts past dinner time, we want to know that they are keeping themselves hydrated and have something to eat to help sustain energy needed to fight fires because chances are they haven’t had anything since at least noon”, says Wayne.
The current set up, funded by the Smitharts and donations they have received includes two canopies and a generator that have been donated by local departments,fans, tables and other various items that the Smitharts have bought on their own to set up at any scene. In the event of a small fire, small snacks like cookies and gatorade are offered. In larger fires, there have been times where they have ordered in food or local businesses have been gracious enough to donate to help with their efforts.
When the contest was coming close to an end. Regional Manager Amber Kephart and our team felt even more obligated to get 50 subscribers. Through the use of advertising and social media, The News-Review was able to get close to the goal. A few people knew who the donation would be going to. In turn they reached out to family and friends asking them to help in our cause in order to give to such a deserving organization. Keota Fire Chief Ryan Sieren says, “There is nobody more deserving of this award than Wayne and Sandy. I value their willingness to provide us with food and drink during rehabilitation on the fire scene. It is important to the fighters to rehab correctly to be able to continue to fight the fire.”
When Sigourney Fire Chief Bill Halleran came to subscribe and was informed who the staff had chosen, he sent out a mass message to department personnel. “Accidents and bad things happen to good people. The Fire/EMS/ Law Enforcement crews within Keokuk County are very dedicated to make someone’s bad day better. We need assistance as well and that is where the Keokuk County Disaster Assistance Team, founded by Wayne and Sandy Smithart, comes into play. They offer food and drinks to the responders and it is greatly appreciated what they do for us. I am very happy to see they were the recipients of the $1,000 award. It could not have gone to anyone better”.
This contest was not solely about winning for the staff at the News Review, but it was about community support and banding together in Keokuk County to help raise money for a wonderful charity, and we feel as though Keokuk County Disaster Assistance team is more than deserving of this donation.
On Wednesday, Jan. 18, representatives from all nine county fire departments as well as Sheriff Casey Hinnah and ambulance director Casey Thompson along with the staff from the News Review, presented Wayne and Sandy Smithart with a $1,000 check.