GALION — Galion’s new health commissioner Jason McBride has been at his desk for a month but combined with his experience and a the team at the health department working with him, he’s already engaged in making Galion home. His responsibilities include public health education and liaison with the Ohio Department of Health.
“It’s definitely a team effort,” McBride said. And he is already learning the community.
“Today, for example,” he said, “we had a health and wellness fair at the Y, and I was one of the staff that was there.”
“I like the approach where I have a consistent presence, and it’s not a one and done encounter,” he said.
“There were a lot of vendors there and he got to meet a lot of the community leadership,” added Environmental Health Director Andrea Barnes.
McBride was raised near Seattle, WA but most recently he and his family moved to Ohio from Dallas, TX were he worked as a public health educator. It wasn’t a drastic move, though, because his wife Melody is from Columbus. They met at Brigham Young University Idaho and he received his masters in Public Health at The Ohio State University.
He has since also obtained a masters of science degree in Victim Services Management.
The couple has five children: Andrew, 13; David, 11; Austin, 7; Evelyn “Evie,” 5; and Sammy, 20 months.
McBride and his wife were renting a home and their landlord wanted to sell the home, so initially they thought they would stay in Texas.
“But I think it’s one of the hottest housing markets in the country,” McBride said. “Everything we tried to do to stay there [from buying a home to building] fell through.”
So they decided to look for somewhere with a better cost of living. Ohio was more affordable and they would be closer to Melody’s family.
His first interview was a phone interview with Shellie Burgin with the Board of Health. And then he spoke with the board of health and staff at the health department as well.
One of the concerns raised in his interview was whether the move from a big city like Dallas would lead to disappointment in Galion’s more rural area.
“What I said to that, and I’ll say now, is that I’ve wanted to be in a more rural setting for years; and some of my best childhood memories are going to my grandparents’ farm and riding horses and playing with my cousins on the farm. That was one of my favorite things to do was visit both sets of my grandparents who lived in rural areas,” McBride said.
“I really wanted to work for a health department, so this position worked for both personal and professional reasons,” said McBride. “We found this job and it worked out really well.”
And their children didn’t object at all.
“Our oldest is a big fan of OSU, so I think he liked being closer to that and also being closer to family. I was surprised. We liked it in Texas, but they were really happy to come to Ohio as well.”