Representative Rev. Terry Alexander
South Carolina’s faith-based communities have jumped into public health over the past decade. Clergy and other faith-based leaders have a bird’s eye view of the health of their community, so advocating for healthier lifestyles comes naturally to them. Representative Rev. Terry Alexander of Florence County is one of those clergy members who has noticed declines in health and the lack of resources available not only to his congregation but also to his community as a whole. And he just so happens to be a member of the South Carolina House of Representatives.
“I am a constant in local hospitals and nursing homes and so many of our people are there because of their lack of knowledge of good care and/or their unwillingness to do the right thing by their bodies,” says Representative Alexander. “A friend of mine years ago told me while he was in the hospital, ‘to take care of your body, you might live a long time and you will need it.’ I took heed to that comment and try not only to live a healthy life but also try to share as much as I can to help others live the same.”
He established the Florence County Collaborative Council, in which he is chair, to strengthen the systems that provide services to the citizens of Florence County (FC3) through improved communication, adequate linkage, and collaboration. FC3 is composed of state and federal agencies, non-profit and community service organizations throughout Florence County. One of the first things they are doing is to conduct a needs assessment to help establish goals and objects and to figure out what exactly the community needs. Representative Rev. Alexander has also helped to implement various activities in Florence including a health walk kickoff to promote walking as a means to better health.
According to Representative Alexander, “Improving the health our any community is a constant. It is always evolving; people are always looking to improve their life and their way of living, new measures, and healthcare professionals are making new practices available. And as a member of our beloved community, I will, we will (FC3) continue to make available to the community options for a better lifestyle.”