For a community to be prosperous it is vital for commonwealths to be present for the community to survive. Commonwealths are present in every community; however, the communities that recognize the value of the commonwealths and build upon them create successful communities. The following towns are within Stafford County: Radium, Seward, St. John, Stafford, Macksville and Hudson. Stafford County contains the 12 commonwealths and strives to build upon them. The commonwealths of Stafford County are in bold.
Stafford County is fortunate to have the Quivira Wildlife Refuge in its county. Established in 1955, the Quivira Wildlife Refuge contains salt marshes and sand prairie serving as a home for migrating waterfowl. However, Quivira is more than birds; a variety of mammals, reptiles and amphibians reside at Quivira. Quivira with its plant life, water and marshes, invites waterfowl to stop on their migratory path. The Quivira Wildlife Refuge supports wildlife, flora and fauna and the ecology indigenous to that region and contributes to the wildlife and the natural world of Stafford County. The water marshes, ponds, streams and the Rattlesnake Creek in Stafford County contributes to the water cycle by allowing water to be renewed and life to continue.
Stafford County is a county of farmers. The farmers raise a wide variety of crops and livestock. Cantaloupe and watermelon are raised outside of St. John, Kansas and are shipped to local Wal-marts for consumers to purchase. In addition, there is a local farmer’s market held every Thursday in St. John in which producers can market their produce to the public and provide the opportunity to purchase healthy locally grown food. The ability to grow their own food sources contributes to the Foodshed of this community. Through the production of crops and livestock, the life cycle of the soil continues in an ongoing process of renewal and the mineral composition changes with the life cycle of the soil. Hudson, Kansas is home to the Hudson Cream Mill in which different types of flour is milled and shipped across the United States. Outside of Hudson is a wind turbine that provides stable renewable energy to the community.
Contained within Stafford County are three K-12 educational school districts (St. John-Hudson, Macksville and Stafford). These schools, while small in student enrollment, provide a teaching environment that allows more one on one teacher student contact enhancing the educational process. The school promotes involvement in the community. Most recently the art students created and designed bicycle racks and the welding class made the racks for placement in the community. These bicycle racks helped promote healthy lifestyles in the community as well as the recent Live Well Stafford County campaign which promotes families to make smarter health choices to reduce the health risks that are in Stafford County.
Through their schools, Stafford County also promotes leisure and recreation through offering a variety of activities such as sports, band, plays and clubs. Further, the schools have offered people the opportunity to attend school functions such as games, concerts and plays and to cheer on the St. John Tigers basketball team who has won State three years in a row!!! St. John, Macksville, and Stafford have tremendous pride and supports in their schools and have created a culture of pride for their school and town. In addition, the recreation commission in St. John offers involvement in sports for children and adults as well as walking and other leisure interests. Stafford County also contains 4-H clubs that provide another avenue for children and adults to become involved in leisure activities in the community. Parks and recreational areas are present in Stafford County for residents to picnic, play and enjoy the outdoors.
Stafford County contains five churches to meet the spiritual needs of its residents. The churches provide a place for people to gather, worship and meet. In addition, within Stafford County is a museum that preserves the history of electricity and a museum that preserves the history of Stafford County. Both of these museums offer history and opportunities for education about Stafford County.
The small town nature of these communities provides a sense of place or belonging. Residents know each other and stop to greet one another and talk during their daily activities in town. In addition, the sense that everyone knows one another provides a sense of security. People are greeted in the county whether a visitor or a resident promoting communication. In this county there is a sense of pride with the schools. Communities support and attend the schools activities.
The final commonwealth to address is my favorite, health. Stafford County Hospital has overcome many challenges over the last few years, none of which would have happened if it wasn’t for the support from the people of the county and the county leaders. The Stafford County Hospital is able to provide a wide variety of services for being a rural area hospital. These include Home Health Services, X-Ray, Cat Scans, Physical Therapy, Occupational Therapy, ER, and swing bed opportunities for the patients. The EMS services are very important to the county because they are able to transport patients to other hospitals who are in need of treatments that the rural hospitals cannot provide. The local health department, doctor office, and dentistry located in St. John are additional important factors to the success of healthcare in the county.
Stafford County embraces the aforementioned commonwealths and continues to strive to improve these commonwealths to assist the county in being prosperous.