Momentum - A special Muhlenberg County edition from Lift magazine
Get Healthy, Muhlenberg!
There’s a new sheriff in town... because former sheriff, Curtis McGehee, took on the role of Judge Executive of Muhlenberg County the first of the year. A big part of the job of Judge Executive is to attract industry to Muhlenberg County or, in other words, to bring jobs. With the recent TVA announcement to close Unit 3 at Paradise, Judge McGehee has no small job before him but he is up to the task with a little help from his friends.
Industry leaders point to the need for more workforce education and training, in addition to a necessary focus on public health concerns in Muhlenberg County, as reasons that they will not set up shop. Since no single person can solve these issues, Judge McGehee has turned to leaders in the community to tackle the problems from all angles. He is working with the local school system and community college to increase education and training. To tackle the issues of obesity and addiction Judge McGehee turned to Ed Heath, COO of Owensboro Health Muhlenberg Community Hospital.
Ed has many of the same goals as Judge McGehee for the community. In the most recent Community Health Needs Assessment (required by federal law), the local panel of experts identified five high-priority health needs for Muhlenberg County: at-risk youth, lack of awareness of community resources, mental health concerns, substance abuse and obesity. After this assessment Ed knew that steps would need to be taken to grow in these areas, thus the creation of the Muhlenberg County Health Coalition. This coalition is a collaboration between health organizations and community leaders within Muhlenberg County to address the identified concerns from the Community Health Needs Assessment.
Get ready, get set, get healthy
With the Muhlenberg County Health Coalition in place, Judge McGehee suggested an initiative called “Get Healthy Muhlenberg!” to illustrate to industry leaders that Muhlenberg County is willing to do what it takes to provide a prepared and healthy workforce. Suggested activities for this initiative are regular “Walk and Talk” events to encourage physical activity. Community members would meet Judge Executive McGehee and other community leaders to walk laps around the courthouse or utilize local walking trails. Another potential activity would be a community picnic for the whole county. Healthy snacks, kid’s activities, health screenings, cooking tips, mental health and physical fitness would all be addressed at the picnic by various community partners, including OHMCH, the UK Extension Office, Pennyroyal Mental Health Services and the Central City Wellness Center.
While specific activities are great to encourage the community as a whole, both Judge McGehee and Ed point to the individual as the key to success. “Studies have shown that a high percentage of illnesses are due to lifestyle choices,” said Ed. “At Owensboro Health Muhlenberg Community Hospital we want to give you the information and empower you to make healthier choices. Start small, think big! Small changes can yield big results.”
A need for skilled workers
Muhlenberg County needs to provide workers that can pass a drug test and that hold the necessary qualifications for the roles available, such as a high school diploma or associate’s degree. However, workers should also have soft skills. These skills include: showing up to work on time, not calling in sick on a regular basis, working hard while on the clock, staying off smartphones and social media, managing time effectively, maintaining a positive attitude, developing problem-solving and communication skills to be a team player, and the ability to learn from constructive criticism.
Judge McGehee is currently developing a program to develop soft skills as well. Graduates of this program will be recommended for positions in the county and in neighboring counties through relationships the Judge Executive is currently forming with existing surrounding industry.
At the end of the day, both Judge McGehee and Ed along with the Muhlenberg County Health Coalition will work tirelessly to encourage community members to be healthy but it comes down to each community member pitching in to help.
“I look forward to working with Dr. Heath, Owensboro Health and other community partners to campaign for a healthier lifestyle in Muhlenberg County,” said Judge McGehee. “I feel the collaboration being developed in our community can and will lead to a healthier and happier environment. It is wonderful to see the community come together for such an important task as the benefits of a healthy community are widespread. Our area could, potentially, be more attractive to investors who desire a healthy workforce.”
Things you can do now
Want to help? Here are some ways to pitch in:
GET HEALTHY! If you are struggling with obesity, reach out to your doctor for recommendations on how to lose weight in a healthy way.
STAY IN SCHOOL! Encourage your kids to finish high school or adults that didn’t finish high school to complete their GED. Encourage high school graduates to go through a certificate or degree program. You can call the MCC Muhlenberg Campus at 270-757-9881 to get started!
VOLUNTEER YOUR TIME! Teach someone a skill you have, help with resumés or help with the soft skills program. You can reach out to the Judge Executive’s office via phone or Facebook to volunteer. Judge McGehee will find a place for you!
ENCOURAGE OTHERS! If you know people who are struggling with obesity or substance abuse issues, help them get help. OHMCH has a list of community resources that will be provided to you if you call 270-338-8000.
BE A QUITTER! If you are dealing with addiction of any kind, reach out to your doctor or a mental healthcare provider like the Pennyroyal Center for assistance. Support others around you who are dealing with addiction and help them quit.
STAY POSITIVE! Maintain a good attitude about the future of our community. There are many individuals working very hard to ensure the future is bright.
This story is from the summer 2019 issue of Lift magazine. For more stories, check out some of our latest editions.