County observes “Appreciation Week” for frontline workers in the opioid epidemic –
By Patricia Beech –
Adams County’s emergency response teams on Wednesday, April 11 were treated to an appreciation luncheon hosted by the local Alcohol, Drug Addiction, and Mental Health Services Board (ADAMHS).
The event was held in the Fellowship Hall of the Peebles Church of Christ.
According to Susan Shultz, Executive Director of ADAMHS for Adams, Scioto, and Lawrence County, all 51 ADAMHS Boards across the state were asked to host a similar event for their local emergency responders as part of a state-wide “Week of Appreciation” from April 9 -15.
The week-long event was the result of a collaboration between the Governor’s office, the Attorney General’s office, and the Ohio Association of County Behavioral Health Authorities (OACBHA).
Shultz said the goal of the week-long series of activities is two-fold: to highlight the work going on in communities throughout Ohio to address the opiate epidemic, and to specifically show appreciation to frontline workers.
“We at ADAMHS understand that first responders are dealing with some major issues and problems because of the opiate epidemic in our communities,” said Shultz. “That’s why we came up with a slogan that reflects their contribution and our gratitude – Bringing Help, Bringing Hope, Thank You.”
Adams County Commissioner Diane Ward was on hand for the event to present a proclamation from the Board of Commissioners. She encouraged everyone to thank a first responder for their service.
“It was a privilege to participate in honoring the first responders of Adams County,” said Ward. “I am so grateful for their dedication and service to the community.”
Ward also reminded those gathered that many first responders are volunteers.
“I commend both the professionals and the volunteers for their commitment to helping others in their time of need by working day after day saving lives, providing treatment, assisting families, and supporting recovery,” she said. “They truly live up to the the ADAMHS Board’s slogan of Bringing Help, Bringing Hope”.
Proclamations were also presented from Attorney General Mike DeWine and Governor John Kasich thanking local EMT’s for “bringing help and hope to the community by working day in and day out to save lives.”
Coordinated through county ADAMHS Boards across Ohio, acts of appreciation across the state ranged from individual acknowledgments to public events and other demonstrations of gratitude to those who are working on the front line of the opiate epidemic.
“We want to specifically give thanks to the men and women who are saving lives and leading others into recovery,” said Shultz. “It’s so important that we highlight the good work that is being done by individuals on the front lines of this fight.”
Under Ohio law, ADAMHS Boards coordinate the public mental health and addiction treatment and recovery system in Ohio. The Board is a quasi-independent part of county government, governed by a volunteer Board of Directors.
“We pull in a lot of federal and state funds, both grants and money that are mandated to us,” said Shultz. “But, we can’t provide direct services so we contract providers who provide mental health services such as Shawnee Family Health Center, the Counseling Center, and FRS – we contract with them in Adams County.”
Marcy Kristian, the ADAMHS Finance Manager, said Church of Christ members prepared food for the event, and McCoy Lumber and the Greene Beanery coffee shop provided beverages.
“The church and community members really stepped up by preparing the food and decorating the hall,” she said. “It was important to them to show their appreciation to their community members who work on the frontline as emergency responders.”