Many people in the Junction City community went out of their way to be of help to their neighbors during the COVID-19 pandemic — from those out of work to essential workers and everyone in between.

This includes deputies of the Geary County Sheriff’s Office, many of whom helped out with something called the Helping Hands program. The program was put in place to help vulnerable populations during the pandemic, including senior citizens.

Sheriff Dan Jackson said people made use of the program to deliver medications to people who needed.

The program was entirely about helping the community, Jackson said.

“At the end of the day, we’re here to protect and serve,” he said.

Deputy John Helms said there were several elderly people who he and others delivered to during the pandemic.

He said he enjoyed the community service aspect of it.

“It’s a good program,” Helms said. “It gives us an opportunity to help for sure, get some exposure to the community we may not otherwise have .”

During the program, participating deputies found themselves making deliveries to families who had been diagnosed with COVID-19.

“Really, they were kind of between a rock and a hard spot as far as getting whatever they needed,” Jackson said, because the whole family unit had been diagnosed.

Deputies who took part made food and medicine runs for these individuals while they were forced to recover in isolation in their homes.

The program started after the sheriff’s office discovered a sheriff’s office in Western Kansas who had started a similar program. They adopted the idea for themselves, knowing there would eventually be a need in this community, especially among the elderly.

This service, Jackson said, can take on many aspects.

“There was a public need,” he said. “There was a need in our community and we were able to fill it.”

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