Bringing awareness to Congenital Heart Defects


By Ryan Berry

GREENVILLE — Prior to the Tuesday meeting of the Darke County Commission, Commissioners Matt Aultman, Marshall Combs and Larry Holmes signed a proclamation declaring Feb. 7-14 at Congenital heart Defect Awareness Week.

The issue was brought to the commissioners by Cameron and Kristen Ruffer and the foundation they started, Callie’s Giving Heart Foundation. The foundation was named after their 3 ½-year-old daughter who passed away a year ago from a congenital heart defect. They have dedicated themselves to keeping her memory alive by raising awareness and funding for research.

The proclamation states that more than 40,000, nearly one in 100, babies are born with a congenital heart defect, and it is the leading cause of birth defect-related deaths. There is no cure for congenital heart defects and the lifelong disease requires ongoing specialized care. The Ruffers are hoping the research they are trying to help fund will help medical research provide more identifiable means of the origins and symptoms of congenital heart defects.

As stated in the proclamation, the Ruffers believe “it is crucial that individuals planning a family, fetal clinicians, obstetric physicians, pediatricians and all those in the medical field have a greater understanding of the potential for congenital heart defects.”

The proclamation concludes, “Congenital Heart Defect Awareness Week provides the opportunity for patients and families affected by this condition to share their experiences and knowledge, so the general public may be aware of how this defect affects our lives.”

In other business, the commission:

Approved an agreement between the Ohio Department of Development and the Darke County Board of Commissioners for a $500,000 grant for the Village of Versailles raw water line. The grant is made possible through the support of King’s Command Foods who has pledged to add at least 60 new jobs with their expansion. The Village of Versailles has pledged $240,000 in local funds and $15,000 from the Darke County RLF Fund is being used as leverage for the grant. According to Commissioner Matt Aultman, the grant will allow the village to connect the new well field to King’s Command. This includes 18,000 linear feet of water line, four fire hydrants and 12 water valves to increase water line capacity.

Approved an agreement with Crawford, Murphy & Tilly, Inc. For professional engineering services for the design, bid and construction phase of the Runway 9/27 Rehabilitation – Slurry Seal at the Darke County Airport.

Approved a resolution allowing Darke County Solid Waste District to file an application with the EPA for the Ohio EPA Community and Litter Grant Fund. The county has received this grant several times and it is used to help fund the scrap tire amnesty program for Darke County residents.

To contact Daily Advocate Editor Ryan Berry, email [email protected].

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