Vision proves vital

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, May 24, 2005

As part of rural northeastern North Carolina, Bertie is identified as a low-wealth, economically challenged county.

However, riches can be found in places other than a financial spreadsheet.

Thanks to the vision of their county leaders, Bertie citizens aren’t left to fend for themselves. Rather, support from different fronts is there for the taking.

Last week, Bertie officials and citizens alike beamed with pride during the formal opening of the county’s new Health Department.

A far cry from its outdated and cramped quarters on Barringer Street, this new facility boasts of 8,450 square feet of space – each and every inch dedicated to improving public health in the county.

The new Bertie Health Department is the latest addition to the county’s desire to provide the best in healthcare for its citizens.

Adjacent to the new office are Bertie County Rural Health, Bertie Memorial Hospital and Cashie Medical Center – each of which were just recently added to address the healthcare needs of the county.

It doesn’t seem all that long ago where county citizens, as well as its leaders, were at odds over how to provide the best in healthcare. The county still single-handily operated its Health Department, complete with its accompanying financial nightmares, and the old Bertie Memorial Hospital had fallen on hard times, financially and physically.

Challenged to make the right decisions, the Bertie Board of Commissioners answered the call – first with the new hospital and, more recently, opting to join Albemarle Regional Health Services, an organization now covering seven, northeastern North Carolina counties.

The end result proved as a win-win situation for everyone involved. Healthcare services took an upward turn in the county, as did the facilities.

Bertie’s Board of Commissioners – Rick Harrell (chairman), Norman Cherry Sr. (Vice-Chairman), Jasper Bazemore, L.C. Hoggard III and Wallace Perry along with County Manager Zee Lamb are to be commended for their vision.

All too often, elected leaders are accused of decisions that reflect personal gains. That has not been the case in Bertie County. Its leadership, as apparent with the opening of the new Health Department as well as promises of a new county Department of Social Services office and a recreation complex on the drawing board, has the best interest of all county citizens at heart.