While some businesses no longer observe Martin Luther King Jr. day as a non-working holiday, North Central Kansas Technical College decided to take a different approach to honoring the late MLK Jr. Faculty and staff reported to work on time and were assigned acts of service within our communities. Beloit employees were sent out to help various organizations and projects such as the Boost Blessing House, St. Johns Catholic Church, the local Economy Shop, the Historical Society, Isle of Lights, Port Library, and Chautauqua Park clean up. Hays employees were tasked with a project to bring comfort to quarantined nursing home residents, thank you baskets for first responders, and gift bags for the Childhood Cancer Project.

Although we were honored to be involved with each of these groups and projects, our favorite contribution was the 2 groups that were invited to Paradise, KS. Recently, many home owners and farmers fought for their livelihood against some of the wildest fires seen in Kansas for years. One farmer, Tanner Lyle, utilized our skid steer and a few of our welders to tear out and replace some lost fencing just south of Waldo. Another family, Gene and Lynn Angel, who not only lost fencing, but also lost all of their cattle, welcomed us with open arms. The Angels were out of town for medical procedures during the fires. Luckily a neighbor saved their horses, but 83 cattle were lost to the fire, as well as their original homestead built in 1903. Gene Angel was honored to share his family’s heritage with anyone who would listen and spoke with nothing besides optimism, regardless of their latest hardships.

NCK Tech College takes great pride in its communities. Hays and Beloit help make our institution great and increase the experiences we offer to our students. We constantly strive to give back to those communities and hope to continue to build stronger connections with every person, business, and entity that helps make our Trailblazers the best that they can be.