Letter to the Editor

Clarifying the issue

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Dear editor:

I appreciate the opportunity recently given to me to grant an interview to your newspaper, to again recount my experiences volunteering for Red Cross, in New York, after Sept. 11, 2001. I must however, clarify an error, in the article. I do not work at Heartland Hospital. There may be a David Jackson who does work there, but he is not me. I am a Registered Nurse, who has worked in the mental health field, in Nevada, for nearly 30 years, and I worked at Heartland Hospital only from 1982 to 1985. I have not worked for that facility since, and have no affiliation with it. I retired from the Nevada Habilitation Center in 2004 and am currently working at the Nevada Regional Medical Center.

It is due to the Nevada Habilitation Center and the Missouri Department of Mental Health that I was able to be trained as a Disaster Mental Health Professional and allowed to respond to three national disasters and several local ones. The Department of Mental Health, under the guidance of then Director, Dr. Roy Wilson, wrote an agreement with National Red Cross, to provide qualified mental health professionals with three weeks of paid leave per year, to respond to disasters. Red Cross, in return, would provide the necessary training. Missouri is the only state that has, to my knowledge, written this type of agreement. Not only has Mo. D.M.H. provided mental health volunteers to several national disasters, such as 911, but also has benefited in having these same professionals trained to serve at home.

I am proud to have been able to volunteer to help, after the tremendous disaster of 911, but am just as proud to be trained and able to help after a storm or fire or other local disaster. Volunteering is a very rewarding way to help others, and I highly recommend it to anyone who is willing and able.

W. David Jackson, R.N.