Gina Dalton

Sometimes, it “takes a village,” and other times, it takes only one person to take the initiative. That is what happened in one week. 

Gina Dalton, a realtor with Kansas Best Realty, recently spoke before the Dickinson County Commission, saying she would like to do something positive related to COVID-19. Her suggestion was to supply vitamins to people in Dickinson County to help boost their immune system. 

This idea took on legs and before 24 hours were up, Dalton has raised $11,000 to put together a program by the following week, a total of $17,000 had been raised. 

The first thing Dalton did after speaking with the county commission was to approach the Community Foundation of Dickinson County for any help with funding. 

“Gina came up with this idea at a most opportune time,” stated Executive Director for the Community Foundation Elizabeth Weese, “Kansas Leadership Center had approached alumni, of which I’m one, about a new incentive they were sponsoring, #KSBEATSTHEVIRUS.” 

The Kansas Beats the Virus program intended to have 1000 virtual meetings in December to see what ideas Kansans could come up with to help beat Covid-19 in Kansas.  The offering also had a monetary incentive behind it as well. 

Dickinson County Leadership board decided to host 20 meetings, giving Dickinson County Leadership $20,000. The Dickinson County Leadership board of directors decided to pass on the facilitator money to county nonprofits and 4-H groups if they (the nonprofits and 4-H groups) could arrange for a least eight people to attend a meeting. Then the organizations had the option to write a mini-grant for up to $3,000. Dalton took advantage of this program. 

Following Dalton’s first approach to the county commission, nine people signed in and registered for a virtual meeting that evening. The idea became a project and it soon was named, “Operation Ike” with IKE standing for Information, Knowledge, Engagement.  

By the end of the meeting, the nine attendees had decided to offer vitamins to teachers in Dickinson County first. 

“We want the kids in school and if we can help the teachers boost their immune system, we should start with them,” Dalton said. 

The decision was made to offer a three-month supply of the immune system boosting vitamins to teachers in Dickinson County first, then open it to the public for a long as supplies last. By participating in this program sponsored by Kansas Leadership Center, Dalton secured a $3,000 mini-grant; then the Leadership Dickinson County team donated the facilitator monies to the project at that point and $4,000 was raised.   

The next morning, Weese approached the Community Foundation of Dickinson County board of directors and seeing this was a fantastic project to get behind, they granted $6,000. This all came together within 24 hours! 

John Kollhoff of Kollhoff Pharmacy ordered the vitamins at cost, Last Chance Graphics ordered the supply bags, with the Project IKE logo and info that Lance Hoffman designed, to put the vitamins in.  “People came together for the good of our community,” said Dalton.  

Mary Eisenhower, President Eisenhower’s granddaughter, heard about the project, and she too donated to the cause. “

What a wonderful idea; IKE would be proud,” she said. 

Again, Dalton went back to the county commission, telling them what had transpired in a week and asked for additional monies for support. The commission granted $6,000. That brought the total to $17,000. 

Dec. 27 is the date to assemble the vitamin kits for delivery, which will then be distributed to Dickinson County school districts.  

“As of right now, we can supply 1500 people with a three-month supply of immune-boosting vitamins, and we’ll keep this project going as long we have the monies to do so,” said Dalton.

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