Health and Wellness Initiative leases building

Published 12:00 am Sunday, February 26, 2012

The Lawrence County Health and Wellness Initiative has teamed up with City National Bank to lease a building that will serve as the organization’s headquarters, health and wellness director Dave Lucas announced at a meeting on Friday at Ohio University Southern.

“City National Bank has made a charitable donation, a charitable lease to the Lawrence County Health and Wellness Initiative,” Lucas said. “We now have our own official headquarters and office located downtown.”

Lucas said he has been working with Massie Boster, branch manager of City National Bank’s Ironton office to finalize the details of the lease.

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“We are overjoyed to have the opportunity to give back to the community in this way,” Boster said. “I think this is a great initiative, as we look around our community, we know how much this is truly needed. We are glad to be able to help.”

The price of the lease is $1 and it is a three-year agreement. The building is located on the corner of Park Avenue and Fifth Street.

“I felt in my heart that we needed a presence to be taken seriously,” Lucas said. “I’m very excited. We are located right across from the courthouse. Commissioners, agencies and government officials cannot miss us. I think right in the county heart is where we need to be for this presence.”

The initiative is also waiting on the status of its application to become a non-profit organization. The papers are signed and delivered, it is just waiting on the official word, Lucas said.

“It’s nothing to be concerned about because our mission is very clear, very transparent and very non-profitable,” Lucas said. “We don’t expect any problems with the paper work.”

Lucas assured the audience that the promises made by the initiative were going to happen but acknowledge that the process was going to be a slow one.

“A proverb that I live by, the oxen is slow but the earth is patient,” Lucas said. “For me, this means slow but prodding progress. That’s what you have to have. As we’ve said, we did not get into this healthcare demise in Lawrence County over night. It took about 10 years for us to lower to the bottom. We are going to improve the healthcare in Lawrence County in about three years. Don’t get impatient, we are like oxen plotting along but we are going to make changes.”

The initiative has a new bank account managed by Amanda Medinger, who works for Community Hospice.

“We started out with a balance of $3,500,” Medinger, treasurer said. “We have spent a total of $1,227.80, which consists of signing up for our non-profit status, paying the fees to the accountants and attorneys. We have a balance of $2,272.20.”

Lana Cherrington, director of environmental health for the Ironton City Health Department, was on hand for the meeting. Cherrington worked on the cardiovascular grant covering the health conditions of southeast Ohio.

“Our diet, our exercise, our smoking, our tobacco use, it all affects the heart,” Cherrington said. “Heart disease is probably the Number One killer in the country.”

Grants are a good starting point but they go away. It’s the grass roots movements that are going to change the community, Cherrington said.

“A philosophy of a community is not going to change unless the community buys into it,” Cherrington said. “That’s why this is such an important committee because we are buying into good health, it impacts all of us.”