August 31, 2012

Carol Turley wanted to help people participating in Drug Court to succeed. She had an idea about how to do that, and her idea grew into a program that has vaccinated hundreds of people against influenza.

Drug Court is a diversion program for first-time drug offenders. By providing a court-supervised treatment alternative, it promotes a positive life change through substance abuse education and treatment.

Ms. Turley is an RN and a member of Greenup First United Methodist Church (Ashland District). She knew that one of the stipulations to participate in Drug Court is having a job, and she was concerned that if participants got sick they would miss work and lose their job. She also realized this applied to people being released from jail. Those without a job would be more likely to go back to prison.

She got a donation of 60 doses of flu vaccine for prisoners who were being released. After that, the program began to grow and evolve.

The Good Samaritan Foundation is a Kentucky Annual Conference agency that provides “funding for charitable, educational and scientific purposes in the healthcare and related fields in the Commonwealth of Kentucky.” To achieve this purpose, the Foundation awards grants to qualifying institutions and agencies.

Ms. Turley applied for a grant from the Good Samaritan Foundation for Greenup First UMC. The purpose of the grant was to provide preventive health care in the form of flu vaccines for people who otherwise not be immunized. In 2009, Greenup First was awarded a $3,000 grant. In 2010, the church received a $17,319 grant; in 2011, a $5,290 grant; and in 2012, an $8,880 grant.

For several years, the Greenup UMC has sponsored a health fair as part of Greenup’s Old Fashion Days. Volunteer nurses from the community and nursing students vaccinate fair-goers who are not on Medicare or Medicaid. In 2011, they vaccinated 300 people in five hours.

Ms. Turley says the free flu shots draw people in, but the church provides health screenings and information as well. Last year a podiatrist, a family practitioner and an eye doctor were on site.

The event has moved from the United Methodist Church building to the Greenup Christian Church Life Center down the street. The latter church’s building has more space for the fair.

The 2012 Old Fashion Days Health Fair will take place Saturday, October 6, from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.

*Carol Turley interviewed by Cathy Bruce