By Brandon Martin
For the first time in its 20-year history, the Jack Dalton Community Service Award was presented to a group rather than an individual.
This year, the Henry County Board of Supervisors recognized all frontline healthcare workers with the honor.
“It takes leaders, it takes courageous people, and it takes a commitment to your job and what you do to be out there on the front lines so we really appreciate all that you do for us,” said Vice-Chairman Debra Buchanan, of the Horsepasture District.
Before presenting the award, Buchanan read a resolution thanking all “local hospital, urgent care facilities, physicians’ offices, nursing homes, and other healthcare outlets and the physicians, nurses, assistants, and other healthcare workers” for “their heroic and selfless service during the COVID–19 pandemic.”
Representatives from Sovah Health-Martinsville were present at the ceremony to accept the award.
Tory Shepherd, chief operating officer at Sovah Health-Martinsville, said she was grateful for the support of the board and the community.
“It has been a challenging year for all of us, no doubt, but I often feel and say that in healthcare there are some of the most brilliant minds with the biggest hearts,” she said. “These folks show unyielding compassion and dedication to their work every day. They literally give blood, sweat and tears to everything that they do.”
Others present from Sovah Health-Martinsville were Tonya Covington, who works in the Emergency Department; Mary Campbell, from the Environmental Services Division; Beverly Lawton, from the Respiratory Therapy; and Kelly Fitzgerald, market director. Sara Padgett, who works in the COVID Unit, was also recognized but could not be present for the event.
Lawton said she was honored to accept the award on behalf of everyone involved in the fight against the pandemic.
“I feel proud to accept this on behalf of our frontline workers,” she said. “We put 110 percent into this every day, and I think COVID has caused people to rise above what they would normally do. It makes me feel good that we are able to take this with us. We might be the one’s accepting it but it’s not just us. It’s everyone that has to help keep us going.”
“It’s been a true community effort,” Fitzgerald added. “Everyone on the frontlines from people in the field to the 9-1-1 dispatchers, so the EMS is prepared when they arrive. There are so many people that have helped. It makes me kind of emotional just to talk about it.”
Shepherd said emergency medical services and 9-1-1 dispatchers are integral parts of the team.
“EMS and dispatch are an extension of the hospital,” she said. “They are the frontline that brings it into the next frontline. They are certainly part of our family.”
The Jack Dalton Community Service Award annually goes to the Henry County resident who best demonstrates the exemplary community service that marked Dalton’s years of public service. Jack Dalton served as a member of the Henry County Board of Supervisors for more than 24 years and was serving as the board chairman at the time of his death on May 24, 2000.
Nominations were solicited from community residents through local media, the Henry County website, and social media. Nominations are based on the candidate’s efforts and active involvement in promoting the quality of life in Henry County. The Jack Dalton Award is recognized as the highest honor and most prestigious award presented by the board.
Lois Dalton, the widow of Jack Dalton, could not be present for the ceremony due to concerns about the pandemic but she expressed her congratulations to the frontline healthcare workers in her absence.
In other matters presented, the board:
*Heard an update on economic development from Mark Heath, chief executive officer of the Martinsville-Henry County Economic Development Corporation.
*Heard an update on delinquent tax collection efforts from County Treasurer Scott Grindstaff.
*Approved an appropriation of $500,000 in carryover funds for capital projects in Henry County Public Schools.
*Approved an appropriation of $80,000 from carryover funds for asbestos abatement at the former John Redd Elementary School.
*Awarded a contract in the amount of $178,160 to Spatial Data Consultants, Inc. for updates to the aerial photography and the Geographical Information System (GIS).
*Appropriated $11,863 received as a grant from the Library of Virginia. The funds will be used for preserving records in the Circuit Court.
*Appropriated $7,787 from the Department of Justice’s Bulletproof Vest Program. Funds in the current operating budget will be used for the required 50 percent local match.
*Appropriated $13,797 received from the Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant (JAG). The grant funds will be used for overtime hours to provide high impact law enforcement activities in areas experiencing increases in crime.
*Approved a resolution of support for an Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) grant to fund the Historic Fieldale Recreation Center’s restoration. The projected costs of improvements to the Recreation Center are $1,500,000. This total includes $500,000 from the ARC grant funds, $850,000 from federal and state grant funds, and $150,000 from private funds. A 30 percent match is required and will be covered by private funds.
*Approved a resolution of support for a National Park Service Save America’s Treasures (SAT) grant to fund the Historic Fieldale Recreation Center’s restoration. The projected costs of improvements to the Recreation Center are $1,500,000. This total includes $350,000 from the SAT grant funds, $1,000,000 from federal and state grant funds, and $150,000 from private funds. A 50 percent match is required and will be covered by state grants.
*Conducted a public hearing and approved a rezoning request for property located at 20 Water Plant Rd, in the Ridgeway District. The applicant intends to use the existing building for research, development, and assembly operations in the renewable energy industry.
*Conducted a public hearing and approved a rezoning request for property located on the east side of Gallagher Rd in the Iriswood District. The applicant intends to construct a new warehouse on the property to be used for food distribution.
*Conducted a public hearing and approved a rezoning request for property located at 3660 Old Leaksville Road. The applicant intends to construct a new convenience store on the property.