After a decade of medical service in Honduras, the story of one life on the brink
It’s been more than a decade since Dr. Tommy Ball, M.D. of Front Royal Family Practice began flying to Honduras to provide free quality health care to the needy (mostly children) of that country. This year, in November, he led a team of 11 volunteers including Dr. Kirsten Wiitala, resident in training at the Family Practice, returning with a sad story about a young man named Henry.
Instead of writing about the SAGE/Shoulder to Shoulder program which, during each of three 10-day visits annually by medical people from Front Royal, Richmond and Fairfax County, I’m about to let Dr. Ball, who lives in Browntown with wife Christine Hartman, tell in his own words Henry’s story from the time he met the then 13-year-old in 2008.
That was the year Ball diagnosed the elementary school lad with aortic stenosis, a serious heart disease. Everything that could be done within mainly financial boundaries has been done so far for Henry, but it’s crunch time again – Henry needs a new heart valve and time is of the essence. If he doesn’t get one within two years, he may die before his 23rd birthday.
We asked Dr. Ball for a photograph of Henry and got one from several years back. Henry is now a handsome young man of 21 who lives in the Honduran countryside and helps his parents on their small farm. The Royal Examiner is pleased to help in passing along Henry’s story via our new online newspaper. We might add that it is rare that a doctor becomes so emotionally involved in a patient, but obviously Dr. Ball feels this is a special case needing special attention.
“Henry Ballardo Lopez looked like just another elementary school kid when we, a medical brigade group, visited his school in 2008 in the mountains of rural Honduras,” Dr. Ball told me in a recent interview.
“When I put a stethoscope on his chest, however, I realized his pronounced heart murmur was different. Some questioning revealed that Henry struggled to keep up when playing with other kids. He often had to stop and rest … due to fatigue and shortness of breath. He was 13 at the time.
“Medical care is very limited (in rural Honduras) and no-one had ever noticed his heart murmur. (At that time) with the support of our ‘Shoulder to Shoulder’ team, we were able to connect Henry with a Honduran cardiologist who performed an echocardiogram.”
The EKG confirmed Dr. Ball’s earlier diagnosis of bicuspid aortic valve with early stenosis.
Dr. Ball continued: “Medications were able to help some. Henry has been able to live a good life thus far. He has grown into a fine young man…however, he is beginning to have more symptoms. He is more fatigued and short of breath…(further examinations) have determined that it is time to replace the heart valve…(but) there is no public hospital in Honduras for Henry to get a new heart valve.
“Now, we are looking internationally. We have so far raised $6,000 to help Henry with transportation and other costs. While that probably would have been enough (if the surgery could be performed in Honduras) we realize that it is nowhere near the costs in the United States or at a private hospital.
“So now we are seeking a partner in the U.S. who may be able to provide the charity care that Henry now needs. But we need to act quickly. Our goal is a new valve by mid-2017.” (See below for contact information).
Meanwhile, Ball commented on another successful health visit to Honduras Nov. 3-12. and his team’s ability to provide medical examinations, vitamins and limited medications to the needy, a “bus man’s holiday,” he called it. Patients line up at a clinic and pay 50-cents per patient for treatment (average wage for subsistence farmers in rural Honduras is two dollars a day).
For the public to donate to the Henry fund, contact Dr. Ball at firstname.lastname@example.org
For a cardiothoracic surgery team to take on Henry’s case, contact sage-community.com
Author’s note: SAGE (Students And Global Community Engagement) has joined with “Shoulder to Shoulder”, sponsored locally by Valley Health of Winchester.
Warren County Department of Fire and Rescue Services awarded a $1.2 Million SAFER Grant
The Warren County Department of Fire and Rescue will receive $1,216,724 in Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER). This grant award is from the Federal Emergency Management Agency for 100% of salary and benefits for six new firefighters for three years. Generally, SAFER grants require a local government match or contribution during the award period which was waved this year due to the effects of the COVID Pandemic on localities.
SAFER grants help local fire departments and volunteer firefighter organizations to increase or maintain the number of frontline firefighters to comply with standards established by the National Fire Protection Association. These new positions will be utilized to staff the newly constructed Rivermont Fire Station with two 24/7 responders. The fire station replacement and construction project is slated to be completed by the end of the year.
“We are honored to have been selected to receive this highly competitive grant, and for the opportunity to bring on these additional firefighters to the department,” Fire Chief Richard E. Mabie said. “This is a great day for the residents of our community.
“In awarding such a large SAFER grant, FEMA recognized the critical need for additional safety personnel in Front Royal/Warren County to adequately meet the increasing service demands from our growing community,” Mabie continued. “With grants such as this, we will be able to continue to exercise fiscal responsibility while delivering improved services.”
“Incredible news,” stated the Board of Supervisor Chairman Walt Mabe. During my tenure on the Board of Supervisors, residents have sent a clear message that they expect excellent public safety services using creative funding mechanisms. This is an example of the fire department once again rising to that mandate and improving service for our residents. The ability to replace all Self-Contained Breathing Apparatus throughout our stations with a recently awarded $725,000 grant was a success in itself. Now the ability to increase staffing without affecting the pockets of our citizens is simply amazing.” These two grants saved the County a total of $1,950,000.
The Department of Fire and Rescue Services expresses our appreciation to the Fire Chief, Captain Gerry Maiatico, and General Services Director Brandy Rosser for their hard work in this process. Additionally, special thanks go to our elected officials for their continued support to these Grant Requests. The Department of Fire and Rescue Services Grant Committee will meet with the Warren County Board of Supervisors at its October 6, 2020, meeting to formally accept the grant.
VDOT: Warren County Traffic alert for September 21-25, 2020
The following is a list of highway work that may affect traffic in Warren County during the coming weeks. Scheduled work is subject to change due to inclement weather and material supplies. Motorists are advised to watch for slow-moving tractors during mowing operations. When traveling through a work zone, be alert to periodic changes in traffic patterns and lane closures.
*NEW* or *UPDATE* indicates a new entry or a revised entry since last week’s report.
No lane closures reported.
No lane closures reported.
No lane closures reported.
Various roads – Flagger traffic control for utility tree trimming, Monday to Friday during daylight hours.
Vegetation management may take place district wide on various routes. Motorists are reminded to use extreme caution when traveling through work zones.
Traffic alerts and traveler information can be obtained by dialing 511. Traffic alerts and traveler information also are available at www.511Virginia.org.
The VDOT Customer Service Center can assist with reporting road hazards, asking transportation questions, or getting information related to Virginia’s roads. Call 800-FOR- ROAD (800-367-7623) or use its mobile-friendly website at my.vdot.virginia.gov. Agents are available 24 hours-a-day, seven days a week.
EDA requesting Development Proposals for Royal Lane property
Request for Proposals Sought for Royal Lane—A 36 Apartment Unit Development The WCEDA is pleased to announce the release for sale or request for proposals for the development of a thirty-six-unit apartment complex to be developed and built on Royal Lane within the Town of Front Royal. EDA Administration and the Asset Management Committee are presenting two acquisition and development options to qualified individuals or firms seeking to develop and build the first new apartment complex in Front Royal in over twenty years.
The primary mission and goal of the WCEDA is to provide a thriving climate for economic development opportunities within the entire community. Providing a mechanism for offering a market-based apartment complex, designed for the workforce community, is a necessitating factor for the overall economic health and maintaining sustainable and smart growth for the region. Communities thrive with the appropriate mix and balance of industry, service, education, sound government, and safe, affordable housing. Newly constructed apartments will provide additional housing options and fill a void in the current market structure.
Asset Committee Chairman Greg Harold recently presented and consulted with Mayor Eugene Tewalt and Vice Mayor William Sealock on the EDA’s continued ambitions in developing this project for its highest and best use. Town Council’s recent action in reducing System Development Charges and the granting of a Special Use Permit for this location will provide long term benefits to the community. The reduced fee structure along with Council’s recognition that the in-town housing stock for new apartment complexes and land parcels for multifamily developments are nearly non-existent will provide a new opportunity with the EDA’s partnership and leadership.
Committee Chairman Harold would like to convey to the community that while “workforce housing” is a popular buzz word amongst development and municipal circles, previous EDA leadership unintentionally mischaracterized such labels due to their inexperience and lack of true understanding of such housing structures. Workforce Housing initiatives are routinely sponsored and administered through local or regional Housing Development Authorities, secular and non-secular non-profits, or housing trusts that have clearly defined parameters that have been codified in town code or zoning ordinances; neither of which is present in Front Royal’s guiding documents.
What was once previously represented as housing designed for teachers, firefighters, nurses, and government administration staff, will not be the only community stewards eligible for residency.
All working individuals and families that find themselves beyond subsidized housing thresholds may find an opportunity in the development of this nature. By virtue of it being a private-public partnership and not seeking state or federal housing dollars, it will be a workforce housing project in the truest sense; regardless of professional affiliation. Other distinguishing attributes of this newly re-tooled project is the EDA’s ambition and commitment of being a facilitator in this transaction and operating with a high level of transparency in devising an RFP process where the investment community can competitively participate and present options and successful models with measurable results.
The WCEDA looks forward to engaging with all interested investors and developers in helping realize this project for the Town of Front Royal and the community at large. Request for development packages can be obtained at the 400 Kendrick Lane office or through Doug Parsons at Dparsons@wceda.com. Mr. Parsons can also be reached at 540-635-2182 Ext.2 for additional information.
Existing site engineering plans can be purchased through the WCEDA. Please contact Doug Parsons for further information.
Town Talk: A conversation with Vicki Davies, St. Luke Community Clinic
In this Town Talk, our publisher Mike McCool speaks with Vicki Davies, Executive Director, St. Luke Community Clinic in Front Royal. The clinic services the residents of Front Royal/Warren County.
As a Warren County/Front Royal Resident and do not have health insurance:
- if you are a single person making $38,280 or less per year,
- if you are a family of 2 and your total household income is $51,720 or less per year,
- if you are a family of 3 and your total household income is $65,160 or less per year,
- if you are a family of 4 and your total household income is $78,600 or less per year,
For more information on new patient screening requirements call: (540) 636-4325. St. Luke Community Clinic, 316 North Royal Avenue, Front Royal, Virginia.
Please support the online auction the Clinic is holding, starting September 12, 2020, at 7 am and will end on September 26, 2020, at 6 pm.
Visit the event page of the Clinic here for auction information –https://saintlukeclinic.org/events/
Special thanks to the sponsors of the auction: Southern States, Winchester Ciderworks, Advanced Auto, Photography from Barbara Moore, Blue Wing Frog, Custom Golf Club from Bobby Chestnut, Field and Main, Ferguson Enterprises, Frontier Culture Museum, Glen Manor, Dr. Stoners and Griffin Tavern.
St. Luke Community Clinic
316 North Royal Avenue
Front Royal, VA 22630
Town Talk is a series on the Royal Examiner where we will introduce you to local entrepreneurs, businesses, non-profit leaders, and political figures who influence Warren County. Topics will be varied but hopefully interesting. If you have an idea, topic, or want to hear from someone in our community, let us know. Send your request to news@RoyalExaminer.com
Warren County Public Schools seeking car drivers and school bus aides
Are you looking for a part time job? Do you like working with children? Do you want to be off when your kids are off? This may be the job for you! Warren County Public Schools is looking for car drivers and school bus aides. No experience necessary – we will train you.
Car drivers transport students between assigned stops and schools according to specified routes and time schedules, maintain order during trip, and adhere to safety rules when loading and unloading.
School bus aides oversee students over scheduled routes to and from schools and ensure the safety of students during transport, loading, and unloading from buses.
Apply online HERE, or apply in person at Warren County Public Schools (210 Commerce Avenue | Front Royal, VA 22630).
People Inc. receives additional funding for rent and mortgage relief program
WOODSTOCK, VA – People Incorporated has received additional funding for the rent and mortgage relief program serving residents of Clarke County, Frederick County, Page County, Shenandoah County, Warren County and the City of Winchester who have been financially impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Additional funding will allow People Inc. to continue to serve residents who are in danger of eviction from their homes,” said Kyle Sensabaugh, director of housing services. “We want anyone in need of assistance to contact us – we’re here to help you remain in your home during this uncertain time.”
The agency received over $200,000 in additional funding from the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development to continue to serve residents across the region.
As of Wednesday, People Inc. has served 86 households in the region with over $183,000 in assistance to help them avoid eviction or foreclosure on their homes.
The agency received its initial funding to implement the program in 17 Virginia cities and counties in June. Over $422,000 has been paid to landlords and lenders across the total service area to help residents since that time.
The program will pay the current month’s rent or mortgage payments and any past due payments since April 2020 for residents impacted by the pandemic. Residents who have already received assistance and are in further need may also reapply. Landlords who accept payments through the relief program must agree not to evict the tenant for non-payment.
Residents interested in applying for assistance should call the agency hotline at 833-437-0114.