Browning & Thurman

Josh Browning and Cheryl Thurman.

A collaboration involving four county health departments, including Texas, and a regional health group announced the hiring of two persons to work on treatment and recovery programs.

Josh Browning comes to the group as a bail bondsman and more recent work at the Douglas County Sheriff’s Department.

“It was as a bail bondsman that I learned about the effects that addiction has on people, families and the community,” Browning said. “I was astonished that the needs of those with substance use disorders were not being met. While working at the Douglas County sheriff’s office I began to think I could make a difference. I helped co-found Set-Free Ministries in Ava and now with my new position with the health department I will be able to assist individuals in navigating through the barriers they face to get them to the resources they need in order to better themselves and move forward in life.”

Cheryl Thurman has a background in working with recovery programs and is also a registered nurse.

“I am the Celebrate Recovery ministry leader at Faith Fellowship (in Houston) and am active in Post Encounter services weekly,” Thurman said. “Both of these programs have been connections for me to assist people in recovery from Substance Use Disorders (SUD).”

Over the past year the Douglas, Ozark, Texas, and Wright County Health Departments in collaboration with Missouri Ozarks Community Health worked to identify barriers, gaps and resources in communities on treatment and recovery programs. Once identified, the county health departments wrote for a grant through the Missouri Foundation for Health with an emphasis on substance use and opioid misuse. It was awarded a three-year grant totaling $340,000 to focus on breaking down barriers and filling gaps identified from the previous year.

A major strategy to the success of the program revolves around the positions filled by Browning and Thurman that provide services in Douglas, Ozark, Wright and Texas counties.  They will be liaisons between community organizations and individuals in treatment and/or recovery assisting them in overcoming barriers.

To learn more, call project coordinator Sonya Hodges at 417-683-4174.

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