Board Of Works Approves WWFT, WPD To Participate In Grant App

To help with funding for the Warsaw-Wayne Fire Territory Community Assistance, Resources & Emergency Services (CARES) program and program coordinator, the Board of Public Works and Safety Friday approved for the WWFT and Warsaw Police Department to participate in a consortium’s grant application.

Fire Chief Mike Wilson told the Board, “We’re part of an organization of fellow stakeholders in the community working toward mental health. Bowen Center has found a program that’s a federal-funded grant” under the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy.

“Not only is it Warsaw-Wayne Fire Territory, but it’s also Warsaw Police Department in conjunction with the city, that is asking to participate and receive funding through this grant. We will not be the actual signers of the grant. It will be going through Bowen Center, but the city of Warsaw needs to be involved in it.”

Wilson said the grant is approximately $1 million spread over three years. A portion of that, if awarded, will go toward the funding of the WWFT CARES program and coordinator.

“So we’re coming to you to ask permission for us to have the mayor sign the application agreement and to be able to accept those funds if the grant is awarded,”?he said, noting the funds would be awarded to Bowen Center and then funneled back to the city and fire territory.

Mayor Joe Thallemer said Bowen Center is the fiscal agent which will handle the funds. The city is a member of the consortium that will execute the use of the funds.

“As Mike mentioned, our portion is our CARES program that we are initiating this year. Mental health issues that we can handle when there are 911 calls, and pretty much emerging issues the CARES program is designed to utilize and we certainly need funding for that program. We’re going to use some (American Rescue Plan Act) funds as well. This is a nice addition, support, of that program,” Thallemer said.

Wilson said it’s a big process and it’s great for the community. “We need to fund it. We need the positions that it’s going to help offset, not only through Bowen Center, but through Fellowship Missions and K21 (Health Foundation) is involved in it. It’s a great asset,” Wilson said.

The members of the Kosciusko County Consortium, which are committed to collaborate on implementing the Kosciusko County Opioid Response Project for a three-year term beginning Sept. 3 through Aug. 31, 2025, include Bowen Center, Fellowship Missions, the city of Warsaw, K21 Health Foundation and Live Well Kosciusko, according to a copy of the letter of commitment.

The Board of Works unanimously approved the request.

Wilson then requested for permission, on behalf of the WWFT, to continue to be the distribution point of the Naloxone (NARCAN) Rescue Kits for the Kosciusko County Emergency Services agencies, including police, sheriff, fire and EMS.

He said they’ll receive 300 doses.

“The importance behind this is not only taking care of the victim, it’s also protecting the officers,” Wilson said. “So they are assigned to carry one in each of their vests, and the fire departments carry one in their response vehicles.”

He said if there’s some chemical on a surface – like on a steering wheel – and an officer reaches in and grabs the steering wheel, it can be absorbed by the officer.

“So the importance of them carrying a NARCAN in their vest is that they can use it on themselves if they start to feel that issue,” Wilson said. “We went through all 300 this year in giving them out to the agencies, so we’re asking permission to be the host again and supply these to emergency responders again.”

This is funded through the Substance Abuse Mental Health Services First Responder Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act, according to information provided. There is no financial responsibility to the local government for the rescue kits.

The Board of Works approved.