Monroe leaders proclaim now through Nov. 11 ‘Operation Green Light’ for vets

WOODSFIELD — The Monroe County Board of Commissioners joined in the launch of a national initiative by proclaiming October through Veterans Day, Nov. 11, as Operation Green Light to honor and “shine a light” on veterans’ service and sacrifices.

Anthony McSwords, director of the Monroe County Veterans Office, met with commissioners Monday morning regarding the initiative. He said the office is working to show veterans support by encouraging residents to display a green light in a window of their residence or business.

Commissioner Bill Bolon read the resolution that states that studies have indicated that between “44-72% of service members experience high levels of stress during transition from military to civilian life.”

“Active military service members transitioning from military service are at a high risk for suicide during thier first year after miiltiary service; and whereas, the National Association of Counties encourages all counties, parishes and boroughs to recognize Operation Green Light for vetwerans,” the resolution states.

The document also states the county’s appreciation of military personnel and “believes specific recognition should be granted” and the timeframe will be a time to honor the service of those transitioning from active service to civilian life.

The resolution was unanimously passed by Commissioners Diane Burkhart, Mick Schumacher and Bolon.

McSwords said one of the toughest things he did in the military was transitioning back to civilian life after years of service.

“It was difficult. They put you through bootcamp and make you a soldier but they don’t put you in bootcamp to make you a civilian,” he said, adding that he found it hard to get a job after returning as well. “It’s hard to transcribe what you did in the service to a civilian.”

McSwords thanked the commissioners for their time and support of the initiative.

Burkhart told McSwords to let them know if there is anything else they can do to assist the county’s veterans.

In other matters, bids for the Monroe County Jail sewer project were opened during the meeting. The jail bar screen project only garnered one bid — $424,895 from Ohio-West Virginia Excavating of Shadyside — which was more than 10% over the engineer’s estimate of $367,000.

Bob Allen, business manager of E.L. Robinson Engineering and consultant for the county, said they would have to reject the contractor bid and the project would have to be readvertised due to it being so much over their estimate.

“I don’t know if there’s a lot more we can do to get more bidders. We’ll just have to go back, look at their numbers, adjust our construction estimate and then rebid the project,” he said.

Allen said he would reach out to Ohio-West Virginia Excavating to speak to them about the bid.

“We’ll find out what … concerns or see if there’s something we can do or change to get a better bid,” he said.

Allen also said he would take a look at their project estimate to see if there are any updates that need to be made.

The county plans to install a bar screen to the jail’s septic system that will collect foreign materials that have been flushed down the commodes. The jail has encountered issues with its system due to the lack of a bar screen.

Commissioners also approved closing the courthouse Oct. 10 in observance of Columbus Day. Because of the closure, commissioners will next meet at 9 a.m. Oct. 11.


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