Project Forward offers support to EORH

T-L Photo/KAREN FATULA East Ohio Regional Hospital’s planned closure has elicited a variety of emotions from area residents, ranging from sadness to anger.

MARTINS FERRY — A group formed to help revitalize the Purple City is doing all it can to halt the close of the community’s hospital.

Project Forward President the Rev. William O. Webster Jr. said the economic development organization offers its full support to East Ohio Regional Hospital during this time of upheaval. Parent company Alecto Healthcare Services of California announced last week that EORH in Martins Ferry and Ohio Valley Medical Center in Wheeling will close in two to three months.

“The closure will be an economic hurricane for our valley,” Webster said.

He added that if the facilities close, the area will not only lose an economic engine, but an important nearby health care provider for many people. As for strategies to halt the closure, Webster said his organization’s options are limited.

“There’s not a lot we can do,” he said.

Still, the group is working with other local leaders to explore options for the hospital.

“We are contacting legislators to see what options can make it viable,” Webster noted.

Webster, who is also the pastor of Grace Presbyterian Church in Martins Ferry and a volunteer chaplain at East Ohio Regional Hospital, is organizing and leading a prayer vigil at 5:30 p.m. Friday in the EORH parking lot on Fourth Street. There will be a simultaneous service at 5:30 p.m. Friday in the Ohio Valley Medical Center’s circular parking lot.

Meanwhile, a more festive activity that Project Forward is working on is WinterFest, which is scheduled Nov. 29-30 in downtown Martins Ferry.

Project Forward’s next meeting is at 6 p.m. Sept. 12 in Webster Hall, 410 Hanover St., Martins Ferry.


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