As we approach the Christmas season and the new year, I am filled with a sense of hope. Really! It may be hard to believe because we are still in this pandemic, the need to protect those most vulnerable in our community from a myriad of hardships is increasing, and it seems like a lot of service organizations (including ours) are struggling to staff adequately. But I’ve been thinking of what makes Malheur county and our neighboring communities a great place to live and work. Why are so many striving and giving back at the same time so many are struggling with illness, poverty, and despair? Two answers keep showing themselves: we are connected and we are recovering. We are all striving and struggling, alongside each other.
Many of us have family here. We have moved here to be with family or brought family to us, some generations ago and some recently. We have created family from friends at church, work, school, and around town. We are rooted to people, the legacy we want for our families, and making life better for our children. Our lives are less resilient to hardship when we are less connected. At the same time, life brings suffering and we all have times when we get stronger and times when hardships set us back. There is a lot of burden, but I do see examples every day of how we can turn problems into paths forward, more connected to each other. We should be proud of how strong we are despite hardship and how much we have survived in the gift of life when we were struggling. There is always something to be grateful for and just by reaching out, we can give strength to someone else. I’ve found that the best way to increase hope in hard times is to try to help someone else. My wish for you this next year is far more hope, connection, and gratitude for this community of people who are alternately struggling and striving to make life better.
Here are some recent updates from our office. Please share widely! We would love to have more people follow us at our website malheurhealth.org. If you’d like to add someone or be removed from these sporadic MCHD updates from me, just reply and let me know. Thank you!
· Job Opportunities
o The Malheur County Health Department has several positions open currently. Apply here.
§ Tobacco Prevention and Education Program/Health Equity – see job description here. This position requires a person who is self-motivated, goal-oriented and detail focused. Permanent position with full benefits.
§ Public Health Emergency Preparedness/Community Engagement – see job description here. This position requires a person who is self-motivated, goal-oriented and detail focused. Permanent position with full benefits.
§ Peer Recovery Mentor (three positions open) – see job description here. This position requires a person who is passionate about helping people, maintains healthy boundaries, and has at least two years in recovery or prior lived experience close to someone who uses drugs.
· Upcoming COVID-19 Vaccine Events
o Post with more information and flyers here
o Rides to vaccine events can be accessed by calling 541-889-3119
o Events also posted on MCHD Events Calendar
§ Friday, Dec. 17, at Vale City Hall, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
§ Saturday, Dec. 18, at Tex-Mex Express in Nyssa, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
§ Tuesday, Dec. 21, Nyssa Middle School Cafeteria, 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. (flu vaccine also available)
§ Wednesday, Dec. 29, Malheur County Health Department, 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. (flu vaccine also available)
§ Wednesdays in 2022, MCHD will continue walk in vaccine clinics from 1-5 p.m. Call our office at 541-889-7279 for appointments at other times.
§ Mark your calendars: March 18-21 will be a big community-led vaccine clinic from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday through Monday for all doses. Do you want to be involved? Please reach out to me and you will be included as a volunteer or organization in our planning efforts.
· COVID-19 cases are falling. Great news! Find local data here. However, we will likely have another surge in the new year without increased immunity through vaccine boosters and more people being vaccinated for the first time, even if they had previous COVID-19 infection, which does not provide long term protection for most. Please reach out to those close to you and make sure they are protected and don’t risk getting someone more vulnerable sick. First and second doses are available for anyone age 5 and older. Boosters are recommended for anyone age 16 and older.
Warmly and with thanks, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!
Sarah Poe, Director
Malheur County Health Department
1108 SW 4th Street
Ontario, Oregon 97914
Office: 541-889-7279 x127