By: Jennifer Britt
The Parsons Advocate
A group of ladies and one gentleman from the St. George Medical Clinic were in attendance, at the Tucker County Commission meeting, to show support for the proclamation that May of 2022 be the Mental Health Awareness month for Tucker County. Sandra Bohon from the Family Resource Network petitioned the Tucker County Commission for the proclamation. Director of St. George Medical Clinic Behavioral Mental Health, Amber Gump, presented the proclamation to the Commission and the audience.
The proclamation said metal illnesses affect every family in America with millions of adults and children are disabled by mental illnesses every year. People with mental illnesses recover if given the necessary services and supports in their communities and in return make contributions to families and communities.
Stigma and fear discrimination have kept many individuals who would receive help from mental health services from seeking help. Research shows that the most effective way to reduce stigma is through personal contact with someone with mental illness. Greater public awareness about mental illnesses can change negative attitudes and behaviors toward people with mental illnesses.
Good mental health is critical to the well-being of families, communities, schools, and businesses. St George Medical Clinic supplies a wide variety of mental health services to children, adults and families according to Gump. Gump said, “We have a great staff of phycologists. We do groups with substance abuse problems. We have our main clinic, our school-based clinic and on June 1we will have our clinic in Canaan. We care a lot about our patients and want to supply services for the people of this community. That’s our passion and our mission.”
During the audience comments of the Commissioner’s meeting guest speaker Okee Eye stood to address the commission requesting a disclosure of the EMS expenditure reports from 2019 to present. Eye said he has made several requests to get the information requested but has “received nothing but a run around and do not want to show us the books.” Eye would like to see the reports that show where every dime is being spent for the EMS and requested the Commission to put a hold on the money being requested by EMS during the meeting.
Commissioner Lowell Moore explained they could not hold money that already belonged to the EMS. Moore said, “We are waiting on legal advice. We must do what legal says. The $50,000 they are asking for is their money not ours. It is in a Tucker County EMS fund. It is their money.”
Commissioner Mike Rosenau backed Moore by saying he had talked to the EMS treasurer and was informed the money requested was for payroll. Rosenau said, “I can not sit here and not actually have the person that has worked not receive a pay check because I am holding their funds.”
Rosenau went on to inform Eye that if he feels like there is something illegal going on then he can report those suspicions to the Secretary of State. Once the determination is made by the Secretary of State and has reached out to the party in question, that party must respond to the Secretary of State in a prompt manner and explain why they have not complied.
Rosenau said, “The information we have received (from EMS) has been the best we have ever received in the past six months.”
Eye stated, “I do not care if they want to buy the zip drive and put it (the request expenditure report) on there and I will pay for the zip drive. But I think it is entirely hypocritical of these folks (EMS) to come in here and beat us for money and we wanted to give them money. We need the EMS. I understand that along with any other person here with common sense. But be open with us, be honest with us, and show us what it is.”
Commissioner Fred Davis agreed with Eye and said he would pay for a copy himself and get it to Eye as soon as possible. Davis said the EMS should have to just given Eye the copy of the information he was requesting because, as far as public opinion goes, it would look a lot better for EMS to do so. Davis also agreed with Rosenau and said, “The people that is doing the books now and the board they have now is doing an excellent job. But what they did in the past scares us to death, and I understand what you are saying.”
In other Commission news:
Moore was re-appointed to the Corridor H board effective July 1 through June 30, 2025. Moore has been on the board since the very beginning of the Corridor H construction. Moore thanked his fellow Commissioners for the re-appointment.
Davis was re-appointed to the Solid Waste Management Board effective July 1 through June 30, 2026. Rosenau stated that Davis has done an excellent job on the board, and it was good to still have a voice on that board.
Director of Tucker County’s Homeland Security Emergency Management (OEM) Kevin White has been appointed by Senator Randy Smith to the First Responder’s Honor Board. According to state code 29-32-2, the purpose of the board is to recommend to the Legislature firefighters, law-enforcement officers, and emergency medical services personnel in West Virginia who have distinguished themselves conspicuously by gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of their lives above and beyond the call of duty in the performance of their duties to be awarded a Medal of Valor, Medal of Honor, or a Medal of Bravery.
The next Tucker County Commission meeting will be held on Wednesday, June 8, 2022. Meetings are open to the public.
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