SALYERSVILLE – Kentucky Department of Public Health Commissioner Dr. Steven J. Stack visited the Magoffin County Health Department on Monday, May 9, as he made his way through Eastern Kentucky, meeting with each health department about updates in the field.
Dr. Stack, a board-certified emergency physician, has been a leader in the medical profession for more than 20 years and became a household name not even a month after Governor Andy Beshear appointed him as commissioner when the COVID-19 pandemic hit Kentucky.
Magoffin County Public Health Director and Salyersville Mayor James “Pete” Shepherd said Stack had planned to meet with every health department of the state when he took office in February 2020, but when COVID hit, he had to postpone his plans and do the one thing he never really wanted to do – be a public figure in the media. Each afternoon for months Dr. Stack represented public health for the state of Kentucky at daily press conferences held to discuss the ongoing pandemic, advising the public the best ways of combating the pandemic from home, work, and school, focusing on the “new normal” we’re all familiar with now.
On Monday Dr. Stack was able to continue his plans of meeting with each health department, visiting Magoffin, Floyd and Pike, then Johnson, Martin and Lawrence counties the next day as an Eastern Kentucky tour.
Shepherd said Dr. Stack was very personable and is a good public health commissioner, spending an hour and a half discussing health department programs and legislation recently passed that affects health departments and their budgets with the Magoffin County Health Department staff, County Judge/Executive Matt Wireman, Magoffin County Schools Superintendent Chris Meadows, and Salyersville Tourism Director Jimmy Salyer.
Before leaving Salyersville, Dr. Stack was given a gift basket full of local items, including books by local authors (Thomas J. Whitaker and Betty Williams, Betty Lykins, and Diana Howard), Bekah Frazier Rudd with the Seasonal Shoppe donated some items – including a Thomas J. Whitaker print and a t-shirt, Jeff Arnett donated fudge, and Donna Stephens – The Cheesecake Lady – donated some brownies.
“We really appreciate all who donated,” Shepherd said. “He was pleasantly surprised.”
Dr. Stack, who was originally from Cleveland, OH, now resides in Lexington, Kentucky.