Letters to the Editor

November 23, 2009

Public health heroes deserve our thanks

To the editor:

With Thanksgiving around the corner, there are some special people who deserve our thanks - our public health heroes. As a community volunteer organization, the Eastern Panhandle Medical Reserve Corps would like to acknowledge today as Public Health Thank You Day.

All too often we are unfamiliar with our public health professionals and volunteers, who devote their careers to keeping us healthy. Our public health professionals, in the three counties of the Eastern Panhandle, are dedicated to programs such as clean and safe food service establishments, clean drinking water, comprehensive children's immunization programs, and most recently, H1N1 pandemic awareness and immunization clinics.

Their work also focuses on health promotion and education activities,,including programs aimed at reducing obesity rates among all ages, reducing teen pregnancy rates and improving reproductive health for men and women.


Our Eastern Panhandle public health professionals and volunteers make our health and safety their top priority every day. They are the quick responders to health threats like the H1N1 flu, as well as natural disasters like last winter's ice storms or this past spring's floods. They are also partners with our county emergency managers, ensuring strong emergency response and adequate threat preparedness. Whether they are delivering vaccinations or medications, checking water quality to ensure our drinking water is safe, ensuring public food establishments are clean and safe, or any number of other health and preparedness activities, these heroes keep health threats and/or disasters from becoming catastrophic.

The Eastern Panhandle Medical Reserve Corps acknowledges our public health heroes' commitment and contributions to our overall community health, first by saying "Thank you!" and second, by making a small financial contribution to their programs. We encourage everyone to do the same, to show some small sign of appreciation, in whatever way you can, even a holiday card acknowledging their service.

I hope that the residents of all three counties in the Eastern Panhandle, the businesses and The Herald-Mail will join The Eastern Panhandle Medical Reserve Corps volunteers in thanking these public health heroes for the important work they do every day - 365 days a year, 24 hours a day.

To find out more on what public health is, go to

For more information on the 10 greatest public health achievements in the 20th century, go to

Thank you for acknowledging these often- overlooked heroes who live, work and volunteer among us.

Denise C. Marino Ryan
EP-MRC Unit coordinator
Shenandoah Junction, W.Va.

Meatless meetup article shines the spotlight on a healthy way of life

To the editor:

Thanks to Crystal Schelle for her wonderful article in the Nov. 19 Herald-Mail on the meatless meetup.

A vegan diet celebrates life in a number of ways. First, it's healthy for us. According to the American Dietetic Association, "appropriately planned vegetarian diets, including total vegetarian or vegan diets, are healthful, nutritionally adequate and might provide health benefits in the prevention and treatment of certain diseases." A vegan diet is healthy for the planet. In 2006, the United Nations released a report, "Livestock's Long Shadow," which concludes that raising farmed animals is "one of the top two or three most significant contributors to the most serious environmental problems, at every scale from local to global." And, of course, a vegan diet is healthy for animals who are born only to be slaughtered.

This Thanksgiving, instead of supporting the death of a living, breathing, sentient being, affirm life - yours, the planet's and animals'. Go vegan.

Ginnie R. Maurer
Falling Waters, W.Va.

The world would be a better place if more based diets on fruit and veggies

To the editor:

Thanks for reporting about the recent meeting of the Western Maryland Vegetarian Society. As a member of the small group of people who are vegetarians, I am glad to find some like-minded people that I can connect with.

Our world would be a better place if more people based their diets on fruits, vegetables and whole grains.

Charles S. Connolly
Martinsburg, W.Va.

Lee Fox was a very special man in Berkeley Springs, W.Va.

To the editor:

A very special man died Nov. 11 in Berkeley Springs, W.Va., but nothing was noted about it in your paper. Lee Fox was on the police force and active in the fire company.

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