September 20, 2010

Old hospital building should be used to help poverty-level residents

Letter to the editor

LAUREL COUNTY, Ky. — To the editor:

I would be a poor Kentuckian if I did not have an opinion regarding usage of the former Saint Joseph-London Hospital. So, keeping in character, I submit the following: I recommend the vacated medical center be leased by the Laurel County government for the county’s citizens deemed below the poverty level.

As a child, my family was probably in the lower-middle class. We had hand-me-down clothing, day-old bread and homegrown vegetables from mom’s two gardens. Beef and pork were purchased in bulk and kept in freezers until needed. However, the common denominator was that everyone worked. Pride and responsibility existed in the 1950s.

Many citizens in eastern Kentucky were mostly in the same shape. Some were better off than others. The difference between then and now is that people worked in the fields or wherever employment existed.

The reason for recommending a lease is that hopefully through pre-health, birth control, smoking cessation and dental education, our county could lead the states in eliminating the national welfare system. The facility could be sold for the better of the community.

I can attest to the need for yearly dental check-ups early in one’s life. My failure led to my visiting the Homestead Air Force Base Dental Clinic for an extended period. I had never visited a dentist prior to my enlistment in the U.S. Air Force in 1960.

And, equally important, I wish my mother, relatives and our school curriculum had enlightened the students of the 1950s about intercourse, the dos and don’ts of a parent, and, as important, the use of birth control devices. (Some years into my military career, I wrote the Air Force about the need of sex education in basic training. My learning created problems for my children. I wasn’t the father I should have been.)

No, I do not believe the areas I identified alone can eliminate fraud, obesity and child abuse. However, with our schools educating students based on a nationally accredited curriculum, the future leaders and citizens of this great country will understand their responsibilities of being an American.

The U.S. Constitution does not read, “The federal government will provide you food, shelter and clothing.” What the feds are responsible for is the security of this nation, regulate commerce, provide post offices and post roads.

State governments are more flexible; however, in my opinion, it is not the responsibilities of citizens of the other 49 states to pay our citizens not working.

My recommendation will take some mind-searching for the leaders of Laurel County whether to lease the hospital facility. However, I believe as Kentuckians and Americans we can become the No. 1 ranking state in the United States.

Billy Ray Wilson