Prior to receiving a recent phone call, I was completely unaware of the important role that the Local Health Officer plays in the rural communities throughout Maine. Every year, I see the position listed under Town Officers in the Annual Report but never gave it much thought.
Lovell resident Lucinda (Lucy) Rogers called me recently to let me know about an incident that may have been prevented if she had been made aware of it. I asked Lucy to provide me with a summary of the incident as well as the role of the Local Health Officer.
"Hello, I'm Lucy Rogers, your Local Health Officer. On Saturday, September 15th, I received a call from the local Animal Control Officer who made me aware of a home in Lovell that really surprised me and appalled me. A neighbor of ours was living in squalid conditions. He is no longer there, thankfully, and he is being cared for by his family in Massachusetts. His two cats are being cared for at the animal shelter in Fryeburg.
From speaking with a few people in town, it became clear to me that many folks are unaware of this service. Here is some information about Local Health Officers. Every town has one. If you know of a situation that is unhealthy or unsafe, please call the town office (207-925-6272) or me.
Click here for more detailed information: maine.gov/dhhs/mecdc/public-health-systems/lho
Thanks, Lucy Rogers"
In our small towns, we tend to respect our neighbor's privacy and rightly so but we should also make an effort to be aware of someone who might need help; especially if they are elderly and live alone.
Please note that the Maine site lists three Lovell names as Local Health Officers but that currently, only Lucy Rogers is serving as one.