Man on a Mission

For local resident Michael Barclay, his mission is personal. Barclay spoke of his vision at Wednesday’s Crawfordsville Rotary Club meeting. Simply, he wants the public to understand all aspects of mental illness. 

Barclay is a caseworker for Greencastle based ResCare. He helps his clients deal with a variety of mental illnesses. He understands many of the issues and stigmas of someone having mental illness and how the public percieves mental illness patients, because he too has a mental illness he lives with every day. He is diagnosed of having a bipolar disorder.

“I want to be as transparent as I can be,” Barclay said. “I suffer from being bipolar. But, I am succeeding at what I do as a bipolar patient. I want to give hope to those who have a mental disorder and. I want to help others gain the hope I have.”

Barclay said those who suffer from mental disorders are often misunderstood and that society percieves the patients in a way that keeps some, who are suffering from a mental disease, from seeking help. He said since so many people believe patients with a mental disorder all act irresponsibly or in a crazed manner, they will not seek help to keep their condition a secret. Barclay said Hollywood characterizations of mental patients does not represent the majority. He said many who suffer from mental illness do not seek professional help because they do not want to be “labeled as crazy.”

“There is a stigman, or negative perception, of people experiencing mental illness,” Barclay said. “There is a huge misconception about the symptons and consequences of many mental disorders.”

Barclay said that until recently, professional caretakers and the general public, are learning the consequences of surving a trauma. Anyone who has experienced a major trauma in their life can have intense physical and pshychological stress reactions. The mental condition can mirror some one who is suffering from post-traumatic stress disorders. The trauma can be multiple events or one single event such as witnessing a loved one die in a tragic accident.

Those suffering from trauma are often inattentive, disorganized, depressed or have other mental disorders. Barclay said he sees frequent trauma disorders in children who live in homes where poor parenting skills are present, or when substance abuse is present in the home.

North Montgomery Community School Superintendent Dr. Coleen Moran agreed with Barclay concerning trauma disorders being on the increase in the class room. She said there is an acknowledgement of the problem and local school officials have added the condition to school policies.

“I can tell you we see exactly what you are describing,” Moran said. “I can also tell you that all three county school superintendents are working together to incorporate trauma stress awareness into our counseling procedures.”

Barclays said the public needs to learn to not point fingers at the mental illness patient. He said instead of saying “What is wrong with you?” the question should be “What has happened to you?” as a way to recognize there very well could be circumstances in a person’s life that is causing trauma stress disorders.

As Barclay works to spread his message to the community, he is planning on holding regular meetings for anyone interested in learning more about mental disorders and how to help those who have them. He said the meetings will be good for law enforcement, educators, religious leaders and anyone else who deals with the public. The purpose of the meeting will be to help the community learn how to reach out to and help those suffering from mental disorders.

Barclay expects to announce the starting date for the meetings he is planning. 

Local team to walk for MS

A change in perspective has made this year’s MS-Walk in Indianapolis different for Linda Damrow. The Crawfordsville resident was diagnosed with the disease in 2008 , and her team of walkers have participated in the MS Walk  for just a few years. The walk helps raise funds for a cure for the disease. 

Damrow, who is 57 years old, said when she first walked in the MS-Walk, it was because she was hoping to find a cause and a cure for the disease. She had hope that she could be cured. But a scene she saw two years ago at the event changed her perspective.

“I put off for many years participating in the MS Walk because, truthfully, I was scared. I was terrified to actually go there and see just how bad MS can be,” Damrow admitted. 

While trying to find a place to park two years ago, Damrow said she was looking at the passer-byers and kept finding herself trying to pick out the MS patients. 

“One very large team walked past my truck,” Damrow recalled. “The MS’er was easy to spot because she was in a wheelchair. She was also only about 11 or 12 years old. Reality slapped me in the face. I knew that I had nothing to complain about.”

Damrow said she is blessed today since there have been advances in the treatment of MS. However, the image of the little girl has made her re-evaluate where she is in life compared to a young child with a full life ahead.

“I wasn’t caught in the grasp of MS until my late forties, but this young girl already was inflicted,” Damrow said. “She would be missing out on so many important common place life events, like high school proms and eventually having children, because of MS.”

Nine years have passed since Damrow was diagnosed. She remembers at the time her doctor predicted a cure would be found within 10 years. Today, she realizes the probability of being cured of the disease is slipping away. Although, she has seen improvements in the treatment of the disease. She is now on medicines that have slowed the symptoms, but still has painful flair ups. 

Although the National Multiple Sclerosis Society has helped discovering MS treatments and finding the genes related to MS, the cause of MS has yet to be identified.

Damrow’s 15-person team is named Savage Mom after the way she cares for those she loves and is willing to do anything for them. This year’s team is comprised of relatives from Tennessee, Indiana and some co-workers from her place of employment, Cato Fashions.

Damrow and her team will be participating in Saturday’s MS-Walk Indianapolis. The event starts and ends at the White River State Park’s Celebration Plaza. 

The team is raising funds for the National MS Society research. Anyone wanting to make a donation can drop a check off at Cato Fashion. Or contact Damrow by calling 765-376-3163. Checks need to be made payable to the National MS Society.

Clinic to honor dentist, meal volunteers

Dr. Bryan Welch empathizes with the patients who hop into his dental chair at the Montgomery County Free Clinic.

“These people are working hard, and yet they still have a lot of needs,” he said.

Welch and his wife, Kristina, are among clinic volunteers receiving the 2017 Golden Apple award, which recognize volunteers for exceptional dedication.

A dinner and ceremony is scheduled for 6 to 9 p.m. Saturday in Detchon Center at Wabash College.

Awards will also be presented to four Franciscan Health Crawfordsville employees who help with Meals on Wheels, another clinic service.

The Golden Apple carries on the Christian Nursing Service’s tradition of providing medical and dental care for uninsured county residents with household incomes at or below 200 percent of the federal poverty level.

Kristina Welch began seeing patients at the clinic while working as a dental hygienist for Dr. Janet Rucker. Rucker is the clinic’s dentist.

Bryan Welch, who practices in Attica, soon tagged along.

“I really loved the sound of what the clinic was doing and the population it was serving,” he said.

The Welches drive down a few times a month on days when their Attica office is closed.

“It’s nice to have both of them here at the same time because she can clean teeth and he can check and make sure everything is okay,” said Michele Thompson, the clinic’s nurse manager.

Awards will also be presented to four Franciscan Health Crawfordsville employees who prepare the foods for Meals on Wheels, another clinic service.

Janie Rader, Rita Curry, Toni O’Toole and Beth Simpson all work in the cafeteria, where the prepare and package food for local senior citizens. 

The women often deliver the meals themselves when volunteers aren’t available.

“They consider Meals on Wheels a mission and go over and above to meet the needs of our clients,” coordinator Isobel Arvin said.

Saturday’s event begins with a social hour at 6 p.m., followed by a stir-fry buffet dinner prepared by Bon Appetit.

Judge Harry Siamas, clinic president, is the emcee.

Waynetown man accused of child exploitation

A Waynetown man is accused of child exploitation after confessing to leaving a recording device in a bathroom used by his girlfriend’s daughter, according to police.

Arthur N. Fisher, 33, Waynetown, was booked in to the Montgomery County Jail Thursday evening. He was later released after posting a $10,000 bond.

Earlier Thursday, Fisher’s girlfriend came to Waynetown Town Hall to show a deputy marshal what she’d just discovered on a recording device, town marshal Kyle Proctor said.

The video had “inappropriate materials on it exploiting children,” he said. 

The woman reportedly identified Fisher as the person responsible for the recordings.

Deputy marshal Willie Gleason executed a search warrant on a cell phone and the victim’s residence. Both officers then interviewed Fisher, who allegedly admitted to capturing the video.

The recordings took place over the course of about a month, Proctor said.

Proctor said police have not found any videos of other children.

“At this point, we don’t believe he sold or showed it to anyone else,” he said.

The case has been forwarded to the Montgomery County Prosecutor’s Office.

Survivors, caregivers to lace up for Relay

As she makes last minute preparations for this weekend’s Relay for Life of Montgomery County, Hannah Cook thinks of all her family and friends who have gone through the battle.

Her father battled melanoma about six years ago. She’s also lost her grandfather, an aunt and an uncle to cancer and has close friends fighting the disease.

“So it’s very near and dear to my heart, and...you don’t realize what people go through until it hits close to home to you,” said Cook, community manager for Relay for Life.

Survivors, caregivers and supporters will gather on the Lane Place grounds Saturday to raise money for the American Cancer Society. Eleven teams are participating this year.

After two years at the Boys and Girls Club of Montgomery County, participants wanted more visibility and move the event closer to downtown.

This year’s theme is “TV shows.” Teams will decorate their campsites with a nod to “Gilligan’s Island” and other favorites from the tube.

Opening ceremonies kick off at 4 p.m. with Girl Scouts Troop #425 leading the Pledge of Allegiance.

That’s followed by the survivors lap with current and former cancer patients and their caregivers. Survivors will also gather for a dinner.

In the “Miss Relay” contest, men will model women’s clothing and collect money from the audience – with whoever raising the most receiving the crown. 

The activity promotes the society’s “Look Good Feel Better” campaign, where licensed cosmetologists give cancer patients a makeover, allowing them to spend time with others who are in treatment.

Other entertainment includes Zumba and performances from Dance By Deborah, Northridge Middle School choir and Joe Sanford.

The evening wraps up with the 9 p.m. luminiaria ceremony, remembering those who have died and honoring survivors.

Closing ceremonies are at 10 p.m.

Cook said organizers are on track to surpass last year’s fundraising total of $72,000. The money supports research, patient care services and education and prevention care initiatives.