HONESDALE, PA — The Wayne County Commissioners had a trio of recognitions to make at last Thursday’s public meeting. The proceedings were moved from their regular meeting room to the …
HONESDALE, PA — The Wayne County Commissioners had a trio of recognitions to make at last Thursday’s public meeting. The proceedings were moved from their regular meeting room to the spacier courtroom to accommodate the various groups that were awaiting their acknowledgment. Not only was the May 6 meeting the first during Mental Health Awareness Month, and not only was it Corrections Employee Week, but the Thursday meeting itself also happened to fall on National Nurses Day.
To talk about mental health awareness, the commissioners greeted JoAnna Van Time of the National Alliance on Mental Illness NEPA, John Nebzydoski from the county’s behavioral health unit and Dave Hartung from the Wayne County System of Care.
“We offer help, we offer hope, we embrace living with mental illness who are often isolated, we offer understanding and support to those affected by these conditions, we educate families and those living with mental illness, and we advocate to ensure better lives for those individuals,” Van Time said.
Commissioner Joe Adams said that it was fitting that the next group to be recognized was the corrections officers from the Wayne County Correctional Facility, as they “deal an awful lot with mental illness.”
“Many people think of [the correctional facility] as jail; this is much, much more than jail,” county chairman Brian Smith said. “Some of [the facility’s incarcerated population] are good people who simply just made a bad decision too many times and end up in there; some of them got innocently addicted to some drugs and ended up doing something that normally they would not have done... for you to have the respect that you have for the people going through our correctional facility... is really commendable.”
Moving to yet another group of workers who often see the effects of mental illness from a different angle, the commissioners welcomed nurses Anna King, Anne Swartz and Nancy Zafiris for National Nurses Day. Smith, whose wife and daughter both work in the nursing field, swallowed tears while thanking them for the work that they do.
“Knowing what nurses go through, the sacrifice and the heartbreak—because I can tell you, my wife at the nursing home would get attached to people and care so much for them, then they pass away. And it’s heartbreaking and she would come home wrecked, so many days,” Smith said. “But you go back to work every day and you do it all over again.”
After all had been recognized, the commissioners announced the recipients of the county’s COVID-19 Hospitality Industry Relief Program (CHIRP). Wayne received $565,000 to distribute to local hospitality businesses that had lost income, were subject to closure during the pandemic and whose losses were not fully covered by CARES assistance. Sorting through more than a million dollars in requests, the county and WEDCO awarded 28 local businesses with a share of the funding. Chief clerk Andrew Seder encouraged local food-related businesses that are still struggling from losses or expenses incurred during the pandemic to apply for additional relief through the Small Business Association’s (SBA) Restaurant Revitalization Fund, currently accepting applications. Restaurant and other food vendors can apply online at www.restaurants.sba.gov.