Greene County Commissioners issued several proclamations recognizing domestic violence and fire safety awareness, as well as Greene County Chamber of Commerce, during their recent Oct. 8 public meeting.

Commissioners proclaimed October as Domestic Violence Awareness Month and encouraged all county residents to raise awareness about domestic violence and increase efforts to “transform despair into hope for families who suffer violence at home,” the proclamation states.

Commissioners said domestic violence “disrupts communities, destroys relationships and harms hundreds of thousands of Americans each year,” and crosses all social, racial, religious, ethnic and economic backgrounds.

Commissioners also said they believe the COVID-19 pandemic has increased domestic violence around the world, as families face “unprecedented stress and financial uncertainty” while isolated at home, according to the proclamation.

Domestic Violence Services of Southwestern Pennsylvania – which has a satellite office in Waynesburg – received 3,426 domestic violence-related hotline calls that left 112 “empty places at tables” across Pennsylvania because of death.

Statistics provided by the commissioners indicate in 2019 DVSSP provided domestic violence-related services to a total of 2,338 new victims, children and significant others, provided 6,084 nights of safe shelter to 390 victims of domestic violence and their children and provided a total of 8,488 counseling hours to victims’ children and significant others.

Commissioners Mike Belding and Betsy McClure thanked all local agencies and individuals working in the field of domestic violence awareness and prevention.

“Those jobs cannot be easy, and their efforts are very much appreciated,” McClure said.

Commissioners also proclaimed October as Fire Safety Awareness Month. In the proclamation, commissioners said the majority of deaths in the United States related to fire occurs at home, and encouraged residents to use the following tips:

n Smoke detectors should be checked once a month, be completely replaced every 10 years and batteries should be changed when residents reset the clocks because of time change;

n Working smoke detectors should be installed in every sleeping room, outside each separate sleeping area and on every level of the home;

n Exit drills should be conducted in the home, such as planning escape routes and setting up an outside meeting location, which commissioners said is essential to family safety and should be practiced at least once a month;

n Once residents are safely outside from a structure fire, 911 should be called.

Commissioners said they encourage every resident to practice these fire safety tips and to contact their local volunteer fire department for further instructions and safety measures, “to ensure a safe home.”

They also commended all local firefighters and those involved in fire safety.

“We certainly appreciate all that they do for our community,” Belding said.

Finally, commissioners proclaimed October as Pennsylvania Local Chamber of Commerce Month.

In the proclamation, commissioners said they believe a strong local business community is “a key driving force of our local economic success,” and a solid local business community creates jobs and opportunities for area residents and supports community growth.

They specifically recognized Greene County Chamber of Commerce, which commissioners said is a business organization dedicated to “strengthening our business community and helping our county to thrive.”

Commissioners also recognized every year members of Greene County Chamber of Commerce dedicate countless volunteer hours in service to the local businesses and community.

In proclaiming October as Pennsylvania Local Chamber of Commerce Month, commissioners said they urge all citizens to support “this hard-working organization of volunteers.”

McClure recognized Melody Longstreth, executive director of Greene County Chamber of Commerce, for her efforts in working with area businesses, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Belding agreed, adding the county Chamber of Commerce is the “lifeblood and lifeline” of community businesses.

Longstreth thanked the commissioners for their recognition and said COVID-19 took “a very serious hit” on the local business community.

“We are doing everything we possibly can to continue educating, supporting and encouraging businesses during such a difficult time for all of us,” she said.

Longstreth said the chamber is currently “seeing an uptick” in requests for ribbon-cutting ceremonies, which are held for businesses that are opening or reopening.

“That is a positive and welcoming sign,” she said.

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