Mayor Embarks on 273 mile walk to Washington DC

Source: The Story of America

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Eastern North Carolina Reporter Jonathan Rowe on Mayor Adam O'Neal's decision to walk 273 miles to Washington DC in the name of accessible emergency healthcare for his town and his region.

BELHAVEN — Belhaven Mayor Adam O’Neal announced he will walk to Washington, D.C., continuing his fight to save Pungo District Hospital.

O’Neal announced his plan to fight back against the closing of the hospital at Monday’s Beaufort County Commissioners meeting. Vidant Health closed the hospital on July 1 despite federal mediation between Vidant, the NC NAACP and the town. The mediation by the U.S. Department of Justice was in the effort to transfer the hospital from Vidant to the town.

At the meeting, O’Neal and Poole and Associates representative Dr. Norris Gunby, who is also an associate professor at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, went before the commissioners and presented what they say is a feasible plan to reopen and operate the hospital. Poole and Associates is a consulting team aiding the NC NAACP and the Town of Belhaven in coming up with a plan to run the hospital. In response, the commissioners allocated $25,000 to aid in the fight, O’Neal said. [READ MORE]

From SaveOurHospital.org Official Press Release 

Republican Mayor to Begin 273-Mile Walk to DC to Ask Obama, Congress to Help Save Rural Hospital

NAACP’s Rev. Dr. William Barber to say prayer, join community in walking first leg, 
GOP Mayor Emerges as National Voice for Medicaid Expansion 

(Washington, DC) On Monday the Republican Mayor of Belhaven, NC will begin a 14-day, 273-mile walk to the White House where he will ask for President Obama’s help with a healthcare crisis that has already caused loss of life, and threatened the well being of thousands in his rural community.

When Vidant Health, Inc. purchased, and announced the closure of Pungo District Hospital, Mayor Adam O’Neal emerged as a fiery advocate for the hospital, and the 23K people who depend on it. Thousands in his region must now travel as many as 84 miles to receive critical care. O’Neal and others believe the hospital was closed on July 1, 2014 in violation of the 1964 Civil Rights Act.

The mayor will carry with him the story Portia Gibbs, 48, the first person to die for lack of emergency care since the hospital’s closing. Her husband and her children will be there on Monday at 9 a.m. to see the mayor off.

Moral Monday leader Rev. Dr. William Barber will say a prayer to bless the mayor’s journey, and join him for the ceremonial first leg on Monday in Belhaven (also on Tuesday in Plymouth, NC, Barber’s home town).  [READ MORE]

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