Group working to honor Excel employees, first responders with challenge coin

HESSTON, Kan. One of the worst days for a Kansas community brought out the best in many people.

As the city of Hesston continues to move on from February's deadly shooting at Excel Industries, one group is working to honor those who were there to help with a new symbol.

The group called the Friends of Harvey County ERT is giving thanks with a special challenge coin that will go to first responders, volunteers and Excel employees.

On one side of the coin is five arrows, each representing different departments and people who came to help in response to the February shooting. There's also a Latin phrase meaning "Together we are strong."

On the back side of the coin is a phoenix. The Friends of Harvey County ERT says the phoenix was picked because it rises above the ashes, just like Excel Industries and the Hesston community continue to rise above February's tragedy.

The Friends of Harvey County ERT is looking to raise about $6,500 to give a coin to all 1,100 Excel employees and 500 first responders. The group also wants to raise enough money to give the 500 first responders a remembrance pin.

If you'd like to help the group's effort, your tax deductible contribution to the Friends of Harvey County ERT, Inc, a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization will go toward the purchase of the pin, coins and other needed material for printing.

Friends of Harvey County ERT, Inc, says it will use any leftover money beyond the $6,500 to help provide Active Shooter/Threat Assessment training.