WILLIAMSON – U.S. Representative Evan Jenkins (R-W.Va.) announced Thursday that the Williamson Health and Wellness Center has received a $105,000 grant from the Appalachian Regional Commission.
Some of the funds will be used for a number of projects, including grant writing assistance and developing a feasibility study and a strategic plan. It will also fund preliminary architectural design work to turn a vacant former “pill mill” in downtown Williamson into a one-stop center to help individuals in recovery find and secure employment. The new facility would provide workforce training and substance abuse treatment service to people in recovery from both West Virginia and Kentucky.
Several people attended a roundtable discussion on Thursday afternoon at the Wellness Center including Dr. Dino Beckett, Leasha Johnson, Director of the Mingo County Redevelopment Authority (MCRA) and members of the Wellness Center staff.
Jenkins thanked the group for the work they have done and their leadership roles.
“Williamson Health and Wellness Center has been a star performer and a success in so many ways,” Jenkins said. “We are committed to go to bat for you each and every day.”
Jenkins is about to finish up his first 2-year term as a congressman for southern W.Va.
“We are trying to use the power of the purse to help where it is needed and find expenditures that hurt our economy, our workers and our jobs,” Jenkins added. “There is a lot of positive things in what you do. You are making a difference.”
“I am here to continue that dialog and to see what we can do to help,” Jenkins added.
“I like to come and see where the money is spent,” Jenkins said. He said he likes to share in Washington, D.C. the success stories when money is made available for projects in the region.
“We are ready to help,” Jenkins said. “Make sure we are in the loop so we can support you. We are there as your partner. We want to help with the process.”
He said being a congressman is about making a difference and not just going to Washington to cast votes.
Jenkins heard from Dr. Beckett about some of the grants he and his organization have received and what they have done with those funds.
He also heard from Johnson, who updated Jenkins about the agricultural projects the MCRA has underway.
“You are helping Williamson get back on its feet and you are getting Mingo County moving again,” Jenkins stated.
The group briefly talked about tourism and the trails system near the end of the discussion. Beckett also stressed the need for the continued right to bring good broadband to rural areas and how it is needed to attract businesses.
As a member of the House Appropriations Committee, Rep. Jenkins helped secure $50 million for the ARC to invest in Appalachia, as well as $15 million for the Economic Development Administration to help coal communities hurt by the downturn in coal.
“Community health centers fill a critical gap in health care in southern West Virginia, and the Williamson Health and Wellness Center has a proven track record in helping residents live healthier lives. This grant will support the center’s mission and allow them to help residents prepare to find and hold employment. I firmly believe that a good job solves a lot of problems, and I congratulate Williamson Health & Wellness Center on receiving this grant and their commitment to our community,” Rep. Jenkins said.
(Kyle Lovern is the Managing Editor for the Civitas Media Mountain District including the Williamson Daily News and Logan Banner. He can be contacted at [email protected] or at 304-235-4242, ext. 2277 or on Twitter @KyleLovern.)