Strength in Numbers: Collaboration on the Plains

by Michael Thornburg
The Jetmore Republican

“He doesn’t talk to you like it’s rocket science,” was a comment made in regard to J. Basil Dannebohm following the Collaboration event held Thursday at the King Center in Jetmore. “It’s just a straight forward, common sense approach to community development…with a little wine mixed in afterward.”

The “Collaboration on the Plains” event, hosted by Hodgeman County Economic Development (HCED), brought in better than 50 economic development representatives, city leaders, and concerned citizens interested in educating themselves for a dynamic presentation in regard to development of rural communities. HCED Director welcomed all those in attendance before turning the presentation over to Dannebohm and his panel.

The Collaboration panel consisted of moderator, Michael Thornburg, editor of the Jetmore Republican and Jetmore City Councilman; Amber Campbell Hibbs, Ph.D., adjunct assistant professor of Anthropology at Kansas State University; Patsy Terrell, author and media marketing; Roger Hrabe, Rooks County Economic Development Director; Simone Cahoj, Wichita County Economic Development Director; and Von Rothenberger, author and owner of Covert Creek Press.

Throughout his motivational presentation, Basil incorporated questions toward the panel in regard to community needs, collaboration tools like social media and area residents, economic development, and tourism opportunities.

“No matter how small the idea or the size of the group or individual pushing said idea…it takes a special kind of vision and effort to build something from something…we don’t use the word nothing around here or other negative connotations of that sort,” commented Dannebohm.

Key examples of something from something came in the nearly $200,000.00 public restroom designed and built in Logan, KS or “Smallville” Day in Hutchinson.

“People had a vision, saw a need, and created an opportunity…because opportunities don’t always just land in your lap…to build upon something that was of benefit to their community and all those passing through. Something from Something starts as an idea, then a vision, then a collaborative effort, and voilà…in the case of these two examples and so many before them as well as to come…we have something.”

The “Collaboration” was followed up with a wine tasting and finger foods, prepared by the Rod Bradshaw family, at an area business.

“Rural Reciprocity is what I like to call it,” Dannebohm finished in regard to serving your community and in turn serving yourself.

“You have to incorporate yourself into the solution in order to see results…most often, the world does not come to you…you have to present yourself or your idea to the world.”