By Leah Sander
WARSAW — The salary for the coordinator of Warsaw-Wayne Fire Territory’s mental health services initiative may be funded through a grant in partnership with the Bowen Center.
Warsaw-Wayne Fire Territory Chief Mike Wilson on Friday, Jan. 7, asked for permission from the Warsaw Board of Public Works and Safety on behalf of the fire territory and city police to join in applying for the grant.
The $1 million federal grant is from the Rural Communities Opioid Response Program that is part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Health Resources and Services Administration.
If received, $61,250 of it would be used to help pay the salary over three years for the coordinator for fire territory’s C.A.R.E.S. (Community Assistance, Resources and Emergency Services) program, which is being established by the fire territory to provide mental health needs in the community.
“Bowen Center is the fiscal agent (for the grant), so they will handle the funds, but we are members of this consortium that will basically execute the use of these funds,” said Warsaw Mayor Joe Thallemer.
He added that American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds will also be used for the C.A.R.E.S. program, but the additional grant money – if received – would be welcomed.
“We’ve all talked. I talked to the chief (Wilson) this morning and the (Warsaw) chief of police (Scott Whitaker) and EMT Coordinator Chris Fancil who have all been active in this organization and they’re excited about this, so I’m certainly supportive of this,” said Thallemer.
Wilson also cited other local entities involved in the grant.
“We need the funding, we need the positions that it’s going to help offset not only though the Bowen Center but through Fellowship Missions and K21’s (K21 Health Foundation) involved in it. It’s a great asset,” he said.
Another entity involved is Live Well Kosciusko.
The board approved Wilson’s request.
The board also approved a request from Wilson to allow WWFT to be the supportive agency for a grant that provides naloxone, more commonly known as Narcan, to emergency responders.
Narcan is used to help reverse opioid overdoses.
“We’re actually the distribution center for it for all the law enforcement … all the fire departments in the county,” he said. “We’ll actually receive 300 doses.”
Wilson added having Narcan handy for first responders is not only necessary to help with overdoses of people they come into contact with but also for administering to emergency responders themselves in case they accidentally come into contact with drugs through contaminated surfaces.
“We went through all 300 this year,” he said of the last round of doses received.
In other business, the board:
- Approved a request from Whitaker to accept a reimbursement grant to help cover the cost of bulletproof vests for the police department.
- Approved an agreement allowing Thomas Earhart to continue to serve as administrative law judge for Warsaw’s code enforcement hearings.
- Approved contracts for two instructors to teach watercolor painting and macrame classes for the Warsaw Parks and Recreation Department’s Art in the Park classes.
- Approved contracts for catering and a DJ for the parks’ department’s father-daughter dance.
The board’s next meeting is 10:30 a.m. Friday, Jan. 21, at Warsaw City Hall.