July is a month that we think of our nation’s independence. We cannot do that without thinking of how through the years the sacrifices young Americans in military have given. But have you given pause to consider not only war hazards but the tobacco addiction and disease addiction history that was created by the tobacco industry and politicians and has diminished our militaries readiness.

In 1917, before World War 1, cigarettes (a four pack) became a standard in K-ration boxes which meant soldiers received 12 cigarettes per day. If a soldier wanted more, they were a nickel a pack or 50 cents a carton. As a result, tobacco consumption skyrocketed during the war.  At that time, tobacco was considered so important for soldiers’ morale and fighting boredom, General Pershing said “You ask me what we need to win this war. I answer tobacco as much as bullets. Tobacco is as indispensable as the daily ration; we must have thousands of tons without delay”.

Even when the military decided to stop supplying cigarettes to servicemen and women, big tobacco began sending free cigarettes to the military. When the military declined their offer, politicians from states where tobacco was produced intervened.

Years ago, I was working with our local V.A. Hospital to become a Tobacco-Free Hospital. That’s not possible because by U.S. law, every V.A. must provide a heated and airconditioned facility for veterans in which to smoke. I visited this site. It was a very large greenhouse-like building at the back of the V.A. Hospital.  Some vets would walk back there with their oxygen tanks, park them outside, and go inside to smoke. I talked to some who had gone through heart surgeries, those who had COPD, and several who had amputations.  I spoke to one of the maintenance workers and he told me that they had to change the air filters every month.

If we are addicted, we are never free. May freedom ring.

2024-07-09T16:13:09-04:00July 9th, 2024|Bruce Barcelo|

The Breathing Association cuts the ribbon on a new location, June 25th, 2024

On Tuesday, The Breathing Association hosted a ribbon cutting celebration at our new building located at 741 East Broad Street. The momentous occasion marked not only our relocation, but our nearly 120 years of service to the community. The event was made possible by generous sponsorships from Behal Law Group and AndHealth.

The celebration began with opening remarks from President & CEO, Lori Sontag as well as Chairman of the Board, Edward Frantz. Ohio State Representative Dontavius Jarrells joined them to share his sentiments on the profound services that The Breathing Association provides to the community.  Ohio State Senator Hearcal Craig was unable to attend but sent kind remarks to be shared on his behalf, “…Today, as we cut this ribbon, we are not just opening a new building; we are opening the doors to new opportunities, new hope, and a brighter, healthier future for Columbus…”. A blessing of the occasion was given by Pastor Amy Miracle, of the Broad Street Presbyterian Church, and a reflective moment on the rich history was shared by long time former Board Member, Robert Behal. The celebration continued with a presentation of the Carrie Nelson Black Stewardship Award to Jim Havens of Havens Limited, for his outstanding support making ou relocation to the new facility possible.

The ribbon was cut, and guests were given a full tour of the new facility, seeing our full vision of the next 120 years of service to Central Ohioans. The event was attended by partners, sponsors, board members, community neighbors, a Columbus City Council Member, and friends of The Breathing Association. The celebration was also the official kickoff of the 2024 Breathe Strong, Live Long Capital Campaign that will raise $1.5 Million for the renovations and repairs to the building.

Strategically located on East Broad Street, the new facility provides ample space to accommodate our rapid growth and better serve the community’s needs. With an emphasis on accessibility, the relocation ensures that patients can easily access the Pulmonary Rehabilitation Center for essential post-hospitalization care. By expanding medical facilities, including exam rooms and mobile diagnostic capabilities, The Breathing Association aims to enhance patient care and reduce hospital readmissions, ultimately lowering healthcare costs. To showcase our legacy in the community, we now have The Carrie Nelson Black Library, with historical books, keepsakes and photographs to share with guests.

Additionally, the new location will enable the organization to expand its outreach efforts, particularly in tobacco cessation and education through the Tobacco Treatment Center of Ohio. Moreover, increased capacity for the Ohio Department of Development Household Energy Assistance Program will facilitate smoother operations and better support for families facing utility burdens.

Volunteers are the heart of every nonprofit organization, and the relocation and renovations would not have gone as smoothly as they have without a dedicated team of volunteers lending time and talents. Leadership, staff and family have given countless hours of their time to make the new location a new home for The Breathing Association.

Since its founding in 1906 by Carrie Nelson Black during the Tuberculosis epidemic, The Breathing Association has been a cornerstone of charitable healthcare in Central Ohio. With a legacy of providing free healthcare services and extensive programs in lung health, nicotine cessation, and community assistance, the organization remains committed to improving lives for the next 120 years and beyond.

“We are delighted to celebrate this milestone in our organization’s history and look forward to continuing our mission of promoting lung health and wellness in Central Ohio,” said Lori Sontag, President & CEO of The Breathing Association.

2024-07-09T15:34:22-04:00July 9th, 2024|Uncategorized|
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