EATON — On Monday, July 25, the Preble County Board of Commissioners invited Breyden Boston, Preston Orr, Jennifer Orr, Mackenzie Wert and Larry Lewis to their chambers, and issued a proclamation recognizing their heroic actions which saved the life of Mike Worley on Friday, July 8.
The morning of July 8, Mike Worley lost control of his vehicle in front of the Orr family’s residence, and became trapped inside the vehicle as it began to catch fire. Jennifer Orr, her two sons, Breyden Boston and Preston Orr, Orr family friend Mackenzie Wert, and passerby Larry Lewis, selflessly freed Worley from his burning vehicle, and tended to his wounds until EMS could arrive.
“On behalf of myself and the Preble County Board of Commissioners, we want to again tell you guys thank you,” began Commissioner Adam Craft before reading the proclamation.
Commissioners also presented the heroes with a commemorative coin, plaques, and gift cards for their services. Commissioner David Haber jested the money would replace the shoes Lewis lost in the accident, which melted at the scene of the accident due to the heat of the fire.
In other business, commissioners also met with Preble County Sheriff Mike Simpson, who gave updates on the integrity of the Sheriff’s office phone systems, and patrol vehicle replacements.
Simpson informed commissioners the non-911 phone systems have become outdated, and he expressed his concerns that if the systems go neglected, it may cause serious problems for the department in the near future.
Commissioner Craft inquired about replacing components of the current system, rather than spending close to $30,000 to replace it entirely. However, the phone systems in question are proprietary, meaning it is impossible to borrow parts from other systems to act as replacements, according to officials. The current system the Sheriff’s Office operates with is no longer in production, making it even more difficult to replace components as opposed to replacing the entire system.
Commissioners reviewed potential replacement systems and came to a decision, granting Simpson permission to replace the system.
Simpson also informed commissioners the Sheriff’s Office is in need of extra office space for the road patrol division. Options being considered are expanding the southeast corner of the Sheriff’s Office at 1139 Preble Drive, Eaton, but also the possibility of purchasing office space at Junction Village at the old Register-Herald location.
No decision was made during the meeting, but inquiries are being made about expenses and quotes.
Simpson also updated on commissioners on current fuel costs for the department, with regard to escalating fuel costs, as well as scheduled replacement patrol vehicles for the department. Simpson expects the department to replace three vehicles in the near future to fulfill the department’s needs, as some of the patrol vehicles have reached exceedingly high mileage and have frequently failing parts.
In addition to meeting with the Sheriff, commissioners met with Director of Job and Family Services (JFS) Rebecah Sorrell, for their monthly meeting.
Sorrell updated commissioners on current budget strains and under-staffing issues within JFS. Commissioners plan to meet some of the expenses regarding Children’s Services and other essential functions of JFS with levies, but only once other levies have been frozen or put into, “sunset,” states, so as not to transfer financial strain to taxpayers.
Sorrell expressed her need and desire for an administrative position to be created at JFS, as well as an assistant administrator, each of which would require larger salaries. The estimated expenses to meet the needs of JFS would be nearly $400,000 dollars in supplements yearly, according to Commissioner Haber.
Sorrell remarked that the state has provided more money than in previous years for family services, but requested the commissioners attempt to find ways to generate more.
Sorrell also suggested increasing staff morale by bringing in therapists to work with them, as secondary trauma has dampened the spirits at JFS, according to Sorrell.
In other business:
•Commissioners received and approved a contract addendum regarding child placement with Agape Youth Inc.
•Commissioners received and approved an addendum with Rumpke Waste regarding more frequent recycling pick-ups in College Corner, as was addressed in a prior meeting with Beth Wright.
•Commissioners went into executive session to discuss personnel actions.
Reach Nathan Hoskins at 937-683-4057 and follow on Twitter @NathanHoskins13