St. Clair County Commission take steps to help veterans get to doctor appointments


Gary Hanner, St. Clair Times associate editor, ghanner@thestclairtimes.com
Oct 9, 2016

ST. CLAIR COUNTY — The St. Clair County Commission is helping out those veterans who are in need of transportation to and from doctor visits.

At its last meeting, the commission agreed to hire Wayne Johnson for up to 10 hours per week to take veterans to doctor appointments on an as-needed basis.

Johnson is the veterans outreach agent assistant for the St. Clair County Extension Office.

County attorney James Hill III said St. Clair officials had discussed off and on the past few months how they could serve the veterans, specifically with regard to their transportation needs.
“We have veterans in our communities across St. Clair County who struggle to get from where they are to doctor appointments,” Hill said. “We were donated a bus, that at one time was our bus, and the donator of the bus specifically asked that we use it to help transport veterans with health-related medical needs.”

Hill said to do that, county officials had to create a specific position and adopt a contract that would implement that request.

The county commission unanimously approved the contract.

“Mr. Johnson is here with us today,” said commission Chairman Paul Manning. “He does an outstanding job. The veterans are a group of folks we certainly want to serve. We are looking forward to improving that service. We appreciate Mr. Johnson and his willingness to serve in this capacity.”

Commissioner Tommy Bowers said this was a great thing.

Johnson said he had a procedure that he had written up and wanted to present to the commission.

“I really do think we need procedures on how we go about doing this,” Johnson said. “My current position is only 28 hours per week, and I do not want this to interfere with my current job. The hours I am not at work, I will use to provide transportation to get veterans to their appointments.

“This procedure lets you know what I can and can’t do. I do realize there is a need among our veterans in St. Clair County. I think this transportation program will work and benefit our veterans.”

Commissioner Jeff Brown thanked Johnson for all he does.

“He goes above and beyond the call of duty,” Brown said.

In another matter, the county’s IT Department requested permission to purchase a fire wall for $3,200 for protection of the server and software. Deputy Administrator Laura Lawley said the firewall was needed to protect the county and the county’s data from a cyber-attack. The commission unanimously approved the fire wall.

The next commission meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, Oct. 11, with a work session prior to the meeting starting at 9 a.m. in Ashville.