A select group of 84 people invited to Washington last Tuesday to meet with Hillary Rodham Clinton, former Surgeon General C. Everett Koop and others concerned about children's health included only two from Florida.
Lyman Hussey and Shelley Harrington from the AIDS Coalition Pinellas headquarters in Clearwater had front-row seats, Lyman said, only 12 feet away from the first lady.
They didn't get to meet her personally, but he was "impressed with how very alert Hillary was when responding to questions. She came across caring a great deal about health care, particularly for children." Koop, he said, "also was sharp as a tack."
Lyman, as deputy director of ACP, supervises the eight VISTA (Volunteers in Service to America) workers assigned here, including Shelley. She and her 13-year-old son, Ricky, are HIV-positive. Shelley's VISTA assignment is being an advocate for children with HIV or AIDS.
ACP's other VISTA workers coordinate volunteers, oversee a buddy program, serve as client advocates and work to educate people about AIDS in middle schools, high schools, churches and businesses.
ACP was the first AIDS agency in the country to utilize VISTA workers, which is presumably why it was invited to last week's forum.
Just as interesting as the speeches were small discussion groups, Lyman said. Meeting with others who work in the AIDS arena, "we discovered our problems are not so unique." For example, he said, they agreed that education programs are essential because "young people understand how you get AIDS _ but they make decisions to get it anyway." In other words, they engage in activities that can lead to infection.
"How do we help people know what horrible things can happen to you?" That was the challenge they discussed, Lyman said. He added that young people must be helped to develop self-esteem and negotiating skills so they can make decisions not to risk their lives.
The 30-year-old VISTA program is especially dear to the heart of ACP executive director Kathleen Farrell, because she was one of its volunteers many years ago working to combat rural poverty in Beaufort, N.C.
VISTA, President Clinton's AmeriCorps and similar programs are all administered by the Corporation for National Service. The corporation organized last week's meeting, which focused on various children's health issues including AIDS.
rings a bell
Leo J. Morell, 73, of Largo, had to go digging through old records Friday after reading in this column about the retirement of Dr. Douglas Carr, who opened his medical practice in Clearwater 44 years ago.
The name Carr "struck a bell," he said. So did the fact that Dr. Carr was born in Norton, Va., where his dad was a general practitioner.
Mr. Morell was born in Norton on Jan. 13, 1922. And, sure enough, when he dug out his birth certificate he saw that it had been signed by Dr. R. P. Carr, the physician who delivered him and was the father of Douglas.
The local Dr. Carr said his own birth certificate lists Robert P. Carr as his father and Dr. R. P. Carr as the attending physician.