Public Safety to get wellness program

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Grant money would also be used for gym equipment

By Lou Elliott Jones, Editor

Requests for approval to apply and accept federal and state grants are pretty common at Levy County Commission meetings, but one at the Dec. 3 meeting sparked some questions from one commissioner because it calls for the purchase of gym equipment. 

Public Safety Department Director David Knowles asked the commission to approve an application for a Department of Homeland Security grant for $238,009 that would require a match of $12,526 from the county.

But Commissioner Chad Johnson of Chiefland wanted to know whether some of the money was going to buy gym equipment for public safety workers.

Knowles said the grant covered the purchase of fitness equipment and a trainer and he defended the purchase. 

They have to go from sleeping to heart pumping,” Knowles said of the paramedics, emergency medical technicians and firefighters. He said they now must pass a physical that includes fitness elements. 

“We had one employee last year retired from having heart attack on duty,” Knowles said. “We are instituting a functional fitness program.”

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