With the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic last March, many communities and institutions were confronted with questions and concerns about how to navigate the future amid a pandemic. Crawford County and Pittsburg State University were no different.
Fortunately, Dr. Linda Bean and Dr. Tim Stebbins stepped up and helped the county and the university navigate operations through the pandemic. This year, Dr. Bean and Dr. Stebbins received the 17th Annual Rex Crowley Outstanding Partner in Progress Award.
“At the center of our response (to the pandemic) has been a pair of health care professionals who provide expertise, support, and guidance as we’ve navigated this… complex time,” said Steve Scott, PSU President, in a virtual ceremony. “Their partnership with the community and university, close and constant communication, and endless commitment to the health and safety of our county have been essential to our work and to our well-being. To them we say ‘Thank you. We could not have made it without you.”
Dr. Stebbins directs the Emergency Department at Ascension Via Christi Hospital and has served as Crawford County’s health officer. Dr. Bean provides clinical oversight for more than 65 health care professionals at the Community Health Center of Southeast Kansas, has served as the county’s deputy health officer and the county’s medical advisor.
The Rex Crowley Award is sponsored by the PSU Foundation, Inc. as a part of the Community Campaign that recognizes partnerships between the Pittsburg community, local businesses and Pitt State. The award is named after local banker Rex Crowley, and “recognizes a member of the Pittsburg community who has been an outstanding partner with the university,” according to the Community Campaign.
“When we consider people for the award, we look at folks that have had a tremendous impact on the community and we know that Dr. Stebbins and Dr. Bean have helped navigate the pandemic, not just for the university but for the community,” said Becky McDaniel, Pittsburg State University Executive Director of Development. “The campaign itself is about the partnership between the community… and the university, and so that’s really why the award is chosen during that time.”
According to a news release from the university, in these roles Dr. Stebbins and Dr. Bean have reported COVID-19 caseloads, quarantine numbers, concerns, and recommendations during Crawford County Commission meetings. They have also met with school districts, PSU personnel, city representatives, business owners, and others to help create mitigation plans.
In a release from the university, Bean and Stebbins have said that the success of Crawford County has been a collaborative effort.
“Our success, Crawford County’s success, is a direct testament that all of these groups and organizations came together to overcome these challenges,” Bean said. “The collaboration we experienced with entities in our community was a breath of fresh air. It was very invigorating for us in our roles.”
Stebbins credited EMS, hospitals, clinics, urgent care, the health department, and the county commission for their role.
Both Stebbins and Bean have been instrumental in Pitt State’s operations.
“Every step forward that we took in this past year, they helped guide us,” McDaniel said. “With Dr. Stebbins and Dr. Bean we see how they’ve had that affect in a positive way in not only for the community but in… things like helping the university navigate how to bring students back and knowing how that will impact the community, knowing how everything from commerce to activity and anything like that that could be affected by the university and the community. Dr. Stebbins and Dr. Bean have a hand in helping us move forward, helping us do it in a safe way and helping us get to where we’re at.”