By Josh Troy
Community Transportation Day, Health Fair, and MAGnet Day were consolidated into one event at Pleasant Valley Baptist Church on Thursday. Representatives from the Aaron E. Henry Community Health Center organized the event, with Calvin Glover, the Mobility Manager for the Delta Area Rural Transit System (DARTS), serving as the event coordinator. DARTS operates under the direction of the Aaron E. Henry Community Health Center.
Glover explained that Community Transportation Day is celebrated every June 15, and it honors the drivers within the community. He stated, “We’re DARTS under Aaron Henry. We decided to incorporate the health fair and career fair as well.” The event offered various screenings such as blood pressure, glucose and diabetes, cholesterol, and mental health checks. Additionally, political candidates from different offices were present.
During the event, Darius Davis, an exercise therapist from the Aaron E. Henry Community Health Center, led an exercise program. Several organizations participated in the event, including Mississippi Valley State University, Delta Health Alliance, Coahoma Opportunities Inc. Head Start, the charter bus company Walker Tours, Molina Healthcare, and Urgent & Primary Care Clinic of Clarksdale. Glover described the event as a “nice little cluster of everybody.”
Tana Vassel, the Director of Planning and Program Development at the Aaron E. Henry Community Health Center, discussed the integration of Community Transportation Day & Health Fair and MAGnet Day. Vassel explained that June 15 is designated as Community Transportation Day in Mississippi, mandated by Mississippi Public Transportation for areas with public transportation services. Since DARTS addresses both transportation and health issues, the Community Transportation Day & Health Fair and MAGnet Day events were combined.
DARTS is part of the Mississippi Access Group Network-Health Center Controlled Network, also known as the MAGnet Network. Vassel noted that DARTS is one of the five healthcare centers within the state, with Aaron Henry being one of them. She said, “We decided to do a MAGnet Day as well. It’s a healthcare network. So it’s Community Transportation Day and MAGnet Day. We’ve got a lot of things going on.”
Tiffani Grant, the director of the MAGnet Network, attended the event from Jackson. City Chaplain John Givins, who is also the pastor of Pleasant Valley Baptist Church, expressed his gratitude for hosting the event. He said, “The health fair was a blessing to the City of Clarksdale, as it brought together people of different nationalities for the same reason: to ensure the good health of our citizens. A big shoutout to Aaron Henry. I believe it is a light and a beacon in the City of Clarksdale, and our main goal is to make Clarksdale a better city.”
Givins emphasized that celebrating Community Transportation Day & Health Fair and MAGnet Day is just one step towards improving the community. He stated, “It’s step by step and person by person, and we’re going to make a difference in this city.”