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2011 Lifetime Acheivement

Lois Huebert Stands Next To An Iron Lung That She Used To Perform Therapy On Polio Patients. Located at The Kansas Learning Center for Health, 505 Main Street Halstead Kansas

Lois Huebert - A Lifetime Achievement -  Caring for others.

Lois Huebert was born and raised in Halstead Kansas, graduated from Halstead High School in 1939 and took off into the world, determined to live a life of caring for others.

Lois left Halstead for college in Emporia where she gained her teaching credentials. She then taught school in Toronto, Kan., Junction City, Kan. and Long Beach, Calif. The U.S. involvement in World War II was becoming a focus and the need for medical students drew Lois into the study of physical therapy. Lois applied to several schools and was accepted by Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn. The polio epidemic was taking its toll on the U.S. and while at Mayo Clinic she worked as a staff therapist, treating polio patients in Minnesota. Her skills landed her a position as an instructor teaching P.T. students the field of therapeutic exercise.

She was then offered a position at Miami Children's Hospital in Florida, a specialty hospital exclusively for children, founded in 1950. She worked with many children infected with polio. After three full winters in Minnesota, Lois was ready for a warmer climate. While at Miami Children's, Lois became an educator to many staff on therapeutic exercise for the treatment of polio. In fact, she was offered a Medical Specialist of Polio position. When she was interviewed by the management of Miami Children's the lack of having no Medical Degree was discovered and Lois was found to be unqualified. Management replied to her: "We don't hire anyone without a degree!" Seems Children's Hospital had hired someone without a degree for three years!

Lois would make another change to her life, moving to New York City and graduating from New York University with a Bachelor of Science degree. Living in lower Manhattan brought her into another chapter of her life. While attending NYU she treated many children afflicted with cerebral palsy. She knew the vaccine for polio was being implemented and the medical field would be relieved of the difficulties of treatment of polio. Her new study of cerebral palsy, a condition of disorders that can involve functions of movement, learning, hearing, seeing and thinking, would be her career field the rest of her life. Upon graduation from NYU, her next destination was to Fort Smith, Ark., to a school for handicapped kids. She had planned on only a one year stay in Fort Smith, but, it turned into a five year position. Lois mentioned that she really liked Arkansas and the people there, they were so easy to work with.

Lois would encounter another life changing event when her father suffered a stroke. He was taken to the Institute of Logopedics in Wichita, Kan., for rehabilitation. Apparently, when Lois made her visits and helped with treatments at her father's bedside, her skills were noticed by staff and doctors. So impressed was the management that a campaign was launched to recruit Lois. "I kept getting phone calls from therapists there. Over and over the calls and letters kept coming, asking me to move to Wichita and become part of the Institute of Logopedics. I finally gave in and twenty five years later I found myself retiring from there in 1985," she quipped.

"I had intended to move back to Arkansas and live out my retirement, but my sister Polly and her husband Larry Murray, decided to retire in Halstead, so I did, too. I was never sorry that I moved back to Halstead, I have really enjoyed it here. I renewed friendships and made lots of new friendships. I did a lot of volunteer work in my retirement. My main goal was to set up transport for people needing cataract surgery in Wichita. This procedure was helping a lot of seniors citizens and I wanted to help those who were unable to transport themselves. It took a lot of us to accomplish this service and I made a lot of friends being involved. One thing lead to another and I found myself using my therapy skills and experience to help people who were homebound. Now, many of the people I have helped have passed on. It is sad but part of life." Lois said.

The years of grace Lois has provided to so many has now come full circle. "I have people now helping me, taking me to doctor appointments and taking care of me. So many of my friends…. well…they just keep me going. Otherwise I would not be able to stay in my home… I really appreciate all they do." I have attended the Presbyterian Church, and being in a small town they know you at a personal level, checking up on me, transporting me and doing great things for me," she added.

The Halstead Historical Society

The demise of the rail road depot was scheduled to take place. Citizens found out about the razing of the historical building almost too late. Fixtures were being removed from the building and some were never recovered. Lois was part of a group with no official name that went to City Hall and requested an injunction be placed on any activity at the defunct railroad depot. Mayor Larry Murray was able to stop the razing of the building. The need to organize a group as a formal entity to represent the citizens of Halstead in this manner was critical. The group formed, established a non-profit status and was up and running in a very short time; hence, the creation of the Halstead Historical Society. Lois was a Charter Member. " I was very active in the early days of the society. There was a lot of ground work that had to be done to set up what you see there today. It took a lot of determination at the start, but, today the depot is a treasure of history," she stated. And, Lois remembers the many bake sales,. "One time we had an event downtown, we had 250 bags of cookies and we sold them all. We had mounds of cookies from the ladies involved in the Halstead Historical Society. I love baking and so did all the other ladies!" said Lois.

Lois was also a member of the Helianthis Club, a group of citizens that worked together on group projects to benefit those in Halstead. This club has been disbanded.

Lois's birthday is August 11 She turns 90 years old. Be sure to give her a happy birthday greeting when you see her.


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