Cullman City Council hears from veterans about PTSD treatment 

2021 budget still in the works; Council passes temporary spending measure to continue operations

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Vietnam veterans Ken Brown and Robert Turner listen as Operation Iraqi Freedom veteran Sean Schofield describes his experience with the anti-PTSD Stellate Ganglion Block shot. (W.C. Mann for The Cullman Tribune)

CULLMAN, Ala. – The Cullman City Council on Monday evening welcomed three area veterans and representatives of Cullman Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) Post 2214, who thanked the council for its financial support of the post’s Stellate Ganglion Block (SGB) project, which has shown great success in treating veterans with PTSD, but is not covered under most insurance plans or VA benefits. The City previously contributed $6,000 to the project.

Col. Ken Brown, an Air Force Vietnam veteran, told the council the Cullman VFW has sent 39 vets to Annapolis, Maryland to receive the shot, so far.

Noting that an average of 22 veterans take their own lives each day in the United States, Brown added, “We’re determined here in our community and among our veterans, and among our civilians, not to let that happen here if we can help it.”

Robert Turner, a Marine Corps Vietnam vet who received the shot earlier this year through the VFW, described a few of his combat experiences, then talked about getting the shot after years of combating PTSD, saying, “It has been a long time since I’ve been that calm. To this day, it’s still that way . . . I tell you, it’s the best thing that ever happened to me and my wife.”

Marine Corps Operation Iraqi Freedom vet Sean Schofield briefly described his experience in Iraq and his struggles since coming home, then told the council, “When I got that shot, I felt as good as the day I got off the plane to go fight.”

All three vets thanked the council for their support of the program and encouraged the city to continue.

After the meeting, Brown told The Tribune, “We have a lot of veterans here in Cullman County, 7,000 veterans, and even the veterans’ organizations don’t know who they all are, because of the privacy act. So if we have veterans out there that are having a problem with PTSD and it’s affecting their families, jobs and so on, they need to get in touch with us at the VFW or Saving Forgotten Warriors, and let us know about their situation, and we’ll try to get them in line to do this.

“It’s kind of a dual track deal: we need to have the veterans identify themselves to us so we can help them, and we have a line of veterans lined up to go to Annapolis to get the shot, and we’re going to continue to try to raise the funds to get them up there as best we can and as soon as we can.”

Interested veterans can reach Cullman VFW Post 2214 at 256-739-6611 or Saving Forgotten Warriors at 256-747-5006. Visit www.facebook.com/Savingforgottenwarriors/ or www.facebook.com/cullmanVFWPost

Budget not ready; temporary spending measure passed

The council passed a temporary spending measure to continue daily operations, due to the lack of a finished budget for fiscal year 2021 which begins Thursday, Oct. 1. In order to “provide for certain necessary operating expenditures to fund the daily operations of the City,” the council authorized “necessary operating expenditures that do not exceed the amounts budgeted in the prior budget year” until the new budget is completed and approved. Under the ordinance, spending on any capital item would require separate permission from the council. 

A source at city hall told The Tribune that the municipal election in August led to a delay in the start of the budget process, as the city government waited on the outcome to allow for possible new council members to be part of making the 2021 budget.

Dyslexia Month recognized

The council approved a resolution in support of Dyslexia Awareness Month.

IN SUPPORT OF DYSLEXIA AWARENESS MONTH 

WHEREAS, October is Dyslexia Awareness Month; 

WHEREAS, Dyslexia is highly prevalent, affecting 1 out of 5 individuals in some form, and crossing racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic lines; 

WHEREAS, Dyslexia is a language based learning disability and is defined as a learning challenge that is neurological in origin and characterized by difficulties with accurate and/or fluent word recognition, poor spelling, and decoding abilities; 

WHEREAS, diagnosis of dyslexia is critical and must lead to evidence based and specialized instruction that is multisensory in nature. 

NOW THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that due to the significant educational implications that may result for students with dyslexia, the City of Cullman supports the Cullman City Board of Education in acknowledging and addressing dyslexia and in providing services needed to ensure the success of affected students; 

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the City of Cullman supports the Cullman City Board of Education in implementing the Alabama State Board of Education’s amendment to the Alabama Administrative Code 290-3-1-.01(20) requiring ongoing dyslexia specific professional development for teachers and other educational personnel and the provision of appropriate educational services for students with dyslexia.

Other council business

The council voted to name a southwest Cullman street Ege Farm Drive Southwest after the Ege family, who once operated a farm in the area of the road, off of Cherokee Avenue between Main Avenue Southest and Mize Road.

The council also approved three upcoming special event requests:

  • from Stephanie Coffey to have a wedding and reception at Festhalle on Friday, Oct. 9
  • from Alexandria Flanigan from Filter of Hope for a 5K run fundraiser in Depot Park Saturday, Nov. 7, 2020 starting at 8 a.m.
  • from Roy Penney of Cullman First Baptist Church for a prayer vigil at the Cullman Police Department Sunday, Oct. 11, 2020 from 2-3 p.m.

 

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W.C. Mann

craig@cullmantribune.com