The books of Corinthians were written by Apostle Paul. They are letters to the young church at Corinth. Specifically, the first epistle was written while Paul was at Ephesus. Throughout this letter, he encourages the church to live up to its calling from God.
Paul was committed to the health of the Corinthians. This is especially indicated in I Corinthians 6:19. It states, “The body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, which you have received from God, and you are not your own.” He intended for the Corinthians to realize that the body is an instrument for God that is sacred and must be preserved.
Within the Dalton community, we have an entity whose goal is to provide core public health services to residents in our community. This entity is none other than the Whitfield County Health Department. Hamilton Medical Center, private physicians and other medical agencies maintain this same goal. But, the Whitfield County Health Department’s goal encompasses a holistic approach. It targets citizens from babies, to adolescents, to adults and the elderly. All age groups receive quality health care.
My first ever encounter at the health department was as a small lad. Before the calendar school year, my mother would take my brother, my sister and myself to the health department to get our immunization shots. Each year, I would be met by Nurse Mattie McDade (now retired). I would cringe as she approached me with the needle for the injection.
She was an impressive figure as she approached with the dreaded needle. She would always say, “Be a big boy, and don’t cry.” I never cried because she made it so painless. But, I knew that 12 months later I would be back for the annual pre-school immunization.
Now, as an adult, I partake of the yearly drive-by immunizations. The process is so efficient that one does not even have to leave their car for the injection. This is just one of the many health department efforts to promote public health — to maintain the temple that God gave us.
The health department is comprised of many sub-groups for service (i.e. the dental clinic, MedBank, women’s services, children’s services, school nursing program, the Living Bridge and vital records). All of these departments address different areas of health and seek to preserve the temple.
The health department is housed in a state-of-the-art facility at 800 Professional Blvd. When you enter the building the professional staff acknowledges your presence and directs you to the requested area for medical attention.
As in biblical days, when the Corinthian church faced many challenges, the temple — the body — faces many challenges. The health department faces the ever-present challenge of providing services to the citizens of Whitfield County. Budget cuts have impacted the department. This has caused furloughs and the shifting of persons within departments to maintain the temple in Whitfield County.
In spite of these challenges, the health department provided services to more than 94,000 people last year. This is quite an enormous task when coupled with these budget cuts and restraints. But health department officials are committed to being a viable entity in sustaining life in our community.
On many days the downstairs area of the health department is filled with infants and small children brought there by their parents seeking medical attention. The air is filled with their playful spirits and sometimes tearful demeanor, when immediate sickness overwhelms them. Some of these parents have nowhere else to go. They desire treatment for their children.
God intended for us to be wise shepherds of our temple, to nurture it, to care for it, to protect it from diseases, to clean it, to feed it, overall to preserve it. Our local health department, under the well-managed leadership of Dr. Harold Pitts, daily works to do all of the above for our citizens. Without it some of our citizens would have bodies wherein disease would seek to overpower them. Without it bodies would deteriorate. A medical crisis would surface.
Therefore, when and if one comes into contact with any employees of the health department, please express to them our appreciation for their hard work. Their task is daunting. But they do it and maintain program integrity while doing it.
The Whitfield County Health Department preserves the temple of our community. It allows for our health to be preserved with dignity. The department staff’s sincere service to our creator (God) is shared with us. The body is a temple. Thanks to the Whitfield County Health Department for promoting that cause and living up to its calling from God.
The Rev. Rod B. Weaver is pastor of Wesley Chapel United Methodist Church.
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