In an effort to clarify the facts regarding the “Let’s Walk Vermilion County” brochure, I would like to address comments printed in the Sept. 11 letter from Ruby Bushue of Rankin.
I’m sorry that Ms. Bushue was disappointed in what she believed to be exclusion by Vermilion Advantage and wanted to make sure the residents of all of the Vermilion County cities, towns and villages understand that efforts were made to include everyone who wanted to participate in the project.
This was a project to promote healthy lifestyles by regular exercise and to promote each community that chose to participate.
The funding for the Let’s Walk Vermilion County community project was provided in part by the We Choose Health grant awarded to Presence United Samaritans Medical Center by the Illinois Department of Public Health and implemented by a collaborative partnership with the Vermilion County Health Department, UIC College of Nursing and Vermilion Advantage as indicated on the back page of the brochure.
Local tax dollars were not used for this project.
The mission and vision for this project was to promote safe and healthy communities for families in Vermilion County. The Vermilion County Health Department was leading this collaborative piece of a much larger project through the We Choose Health grant.
Multiple attempts were made to contact and include city, town and village leaders in Vermilion County to collaborate on this project, including the brochure and a kickoff event in each participating community.
Community leaders were contacted by letters, email and/or phone calls and they decided whether they wanted to participate in the project.
The communities listed on the brochure are those that made a commitment to designate a local contact person for the project, identify and approve walking routes within the community, identify a location for placement of brochures and serve as a sponsor for a public access route.
The Fun History Facts that provides interesting facts about communities was a supplement to the booklet that outlines the walking routes of participating communities.
While the funding for this particular project has come to a close, we have every hope that the desire to create local opportunities for improved healthy habits continues!
Shirley Hicks, public health administrator, Vermilion County Health Department, and Kathryn Richard, director, HALO Project, Presence United Samaritans Medical Center Foundation.