Joyce Ann Hibler
What began for Joyce Hibler as a trial position at the request of her own daughter has become a study of the impact one person can make. Since joining the Seward County Health Department in 1989 as that county's Healthy Start Home Visitor, the compassion and commitment, the dedication and love of Ms. Hibler has been making a significant difference in the lives of thousands of newborns and their families. When it comes to babies, Ms. Hibler, identified by many as "the milk lady," always comes to the aid of families in need. It is a common in winter to see her visiting motels and other sites to assure the well-being of her babies. Frequently, after a home visit, Ms. Hibler gathers staff together to brainstorm about ways to help the family. In addition to providing information on nutrition, breastfeeding, and Health Department programs and services, Ms. Hibler has proven to be an invaluable resource to many parents who are cut-off or live a great distance from extended family. For parents, she is someone to talk to and to ask questions and to share their concerns. Always willing to go that extra mile, Ms. Hibler has made the holidays a joyous occasion for families who otherwise would not have the means to provide gifts and a special meal for their children. Her Kansas community along with her peers recognize and appreciate Ms. Hibler's work. She has been the feature of numerous newspaper articles, has been honored by area civic organizations, and has been asked by other health departments to train and assist their new Healthy Start visitors. The Seward County program has grown due to her efforts. Required to see at least 200 babies a year, Ms. Hibler extends herself to try to visit each new baby in the county. She has built a strong network of support for new parents and their babies.