Healthy Communities and Health Department Saluted for Their Efforts

The Fantastic Four of Health Care in Clinton County are pictured. From left is Healthy Communities Director of Operations Kathy Martin; Clinton County Health Department Director Rodney Wann; Healthy Communities Executive Director Lorra Archibald and Health Department Director of Nursing Dana Longenecker.
Part of the crowd that attended the Annual Event sponsored by Healthy Communities and the Clinton County Health Department Thursday night at the Silver Coin Wedding and Event Center. Approximately 150 people attended the event.

Healthy Communities of Clinton County Coalition had a new partner this time around when it came to hosting the 2021 Annual Event. And thanks to a lot of volunteers, it was a roaring success.

That partner turned out to be the Clinton County Health Department, who has been knee deep for the past 20 months trying to handle the COVID crisis in Clinton County.

“I think it was great,” said Healthy Communities of Clinton County Executive Director Lorra Archibald of the approximately 150 individuals which attended the event at the Silver Coin Wedding and Event Center on State Road 39. “We had a wonderful turnout and it was a great opportunity to be able to thank all the people that helped us through the whole COVID crisis whether that was staff, volunteers or public servants. We really appreciate the help that everybody’s given to us.”

Nobody was more appreciative than Clinton County Health Department Director Rodney Wann.

“I really am truly being very honest when I say when the Health Department merged and partnered up with Healthy Communities, it’s like we found our bestie in the galaxy as far as agencies go,” said Wann. “They complimented us so well. And in this case, it was not in a better timely manner that we formed the partnership because right before that COVID was right on our heels.”

In addition to them being named as the Frankfort Times Citizens of the Year earlier in the year, the Health Department was also named as the Organization of the Year honor during Thursday’s festivities. Other honors went to Curt Stephenson for Volunteer of the Year, and Anita Stewart was named the winner of the Carol J. Price Award.

Anne Hazlett, who serves as the Senior Director for Government Relations and Public Affairs at Purdue University, was the guest speaker for the event. In her role, she is the lead advocate for Purdue to state and local officials and is responsible for partnering with stakeholders on efforts to spur economic development, prosperity and quality of life in rural communities.

Wann said COVID was helpful in showing what the Health Department can do. He said they began planning for an event such as COVID in 2006 and added that the H1N1 scare was the perfect dress rehearsal. The first case of COVID was confirmed on March 26, 2020, and the Department has done over 13,500 immunizations in Clinton County.

“The truth is its a pandemic that affects the entire community,” said Archibald. “But in this case of our county, it was our community that was part of the solution. They don’t get that everywhere else. We’re blessed to have the volunteers and the people and the leadership in our county and being able to recognize that.”

What happens when COVID is conquered?

“I think we continue to tackle the things that we know are issues in our community — mental health, substance use disorder — all the things that are still plaguing our community that have been made worse by COVID,” said Archibald. “Once we get over this, we definitely have to get to back to work on those things.”

Wann concurred.

“I still think the future of Clinton County in the COVID situation is going to be very bright,” said Wann. “We still need to continue to do the due diligence to test people, exclude them when necessary if they’re ill and get as many vaccinated as we can. As Lorra said, we will return to normal sooner or later and we will return to our visions that we have for this community which is making community health more accessible to everybody.”