Almost a month ago, Meade County first responders were set to get their second round of COVID-19 vaccinations. According to Judge/Executive Leslie Stith, Emergency Management Director Ron Dodson wanted Stith to see about using the Meade County Fairgrounds’ show barn for the Lincoln Trail Health Department to administer the injections.
Working with Greg Beavin from Farm Bureau, Stith was able to work out using the barn for a drive through vaccination station for the first responders. Everything was in place, until the Judge saw the weather report the evening before the shots were to be given which he said forecasted a cold, wet morning the next day.
He had already been in discussions with Allison Willoughby about working to make Meade County a Regional Vaccination Location and possibly using Brandenburg Telephone Company’s facilities to accomplish this. Willoughby had offered to use several bays in the building behind BBT’s main office for this purpose.
pon seeing the weather forecast the following morning, Stith contacted Willoughby to see if they could move the first responders to BBT to get them out of the weather. Willoughby was “totally on board” and had their facilities ready to go the next morning. Stith said with well under 24 hours to work with, Dodson was able to contact everyone scheduled to show up at the show barn and get them redirected to BBT. It was a change at the 9th hour with the best interests of Meade County’s front line workers in mind, and in the end it all paid off. Instead of just going to bed and letting the workers deal with the weather, the after hours work by Stith with two local businesses, Dodson and the Lincoln Trail Health Department allowed the first responders to get their second injection inside the dry, heated confines of the Brandenburg Telephone Company’s facilities.
“It was flawless,” Stith said. “I can’t commend our local businesses enough for the way they stepped up.”
Armed with this success and with the full support of Brandenburg Telephone Company and Meade County Farm Bureau in using both of their sites, Stith went to work on putting together a submission to make the county one of the state’s Regional Vaccination Locations. The fair grounds had been a good location, and Stith said the experiment moving to the telephone company due to inclement weather proved that between the two sites the county was a great location to not only administer vaccinations but more importantly, keep citizens from having to travel to other counties to be vaccinated.
A strong lobbying effort showcasing Meade County, not only as a great location with two proven sites with indoor facilities that could more than handle any weather condition or crowd size, was started. They worked all the way through the final weekend of January trying to get a regional site, but Stith was informed on Sunday, Jan. 31 that Meade County had lost its bid.
“We were all in for Meade County,” Stith stated. “Farm Bureau was to be a walk-in facility, and Brandenburg Telephone Company our drive-thru facility. What a great location, but after submitting this, it was determined that other sites were a better choice. Location, location, location.”
Stith said he couldn’t thank Ron Dodson, Allison Willoughby and the Brandenburg Telephone Company, and Greg Beavin and Meade County Farm Bureau enough. It was a beautiful display of our government and private businesses working together for the citizens of Meade County.
With Owensboro to our west, Elizabethtown to our south, Louisville to our east and Indiana to our north, Meade County’s submission lost out despite the superior facilities it had to offer and the hard work of those involved. Stith and his team made a valiant effort, but in the end it came down to “location, location, location.”