With 22 years of experience in death care, Doug Wortham thinks he is the best choice for Sharp County coroner.
"I believe that the first job of the coroner is to protect and investigate to the fullest the death of the person," he said. "It is my job to assist law enforcement in the investigation. I feel that I am qualified to be your next coroner from the experience I have as an embalmer, EMT, firefighter and police officer."
Wortham started work for Heath Funeral Home in 1989 in the capacity of embalmer, funeral director and his current position as manager. He also works as an EMT for Spring River Paramedic Ambulance Service in Cherokee Village. He also finished a 48-hour Paramedic Refresher Course at LSA Adder, Tallil Iraq. In addition, he has served 10 years as Deputy Coroner in Fulton County, and has 10 years in law enforcement including his former position as Assistant Director of Cherokee Village Police Department. He is a former Highland Fire Chief and has spent 30 years serving his country in the Army and Army National Guard. He is a board member for the American Veterans Memorial. He has been a member with perfect attendance for 18 years with the Kiwanis Club in Cherokee Village, where he served as Lt. Governor for division 17 and current Club President.
"If elected I will strive to keep the office of coroner and the funeral home separate. I personally believe that when the coroner is called, you should be there to investigate the death. It should not be a means to profit your funeral home," Wortham said. "My training in the medical field and embalming schools has taught me about the human anatomy and diseases that affect the human body. I am required to perform continued education in both fields."
Wortham has spent 12 years working with the National Disaster Mortuary Response Team. The team worked in Louisiana in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina helping to identify storm victims.
"With the Disaster Mortuary Response Team we work in a mobile morgue. The mobile units are equipped for medical examiners, forensic pathologists, forensic anthropologists, FBI fingerprint specialists, X-Ray technicians and DNA specialists. After Hurricane Katrina, we helped to identify 972 individuals who had perished in the storm."
A graduate of the Dallas Institute of Funeral Service, Wortham is certified through the Arkansas State Crime Lab. He has been trained in crime scene photography, blood spatter identification, fingerprint analysis, accident reconstruction, witness interrogation and DNA recovery, all from the University of Arkansas Criminal Justice Institute. In addition, he is a certified scuba diver trained in search and rescue. He has been trained in arson investigation through Black River Community College, and worked 10 years with the Arkansas Regional Organ Recovery Agency with the University of Arkansas for Medical Science.
Wortham is a Nationally Board Certified embalmer and is a member of the National and Arkansas Funeral Director Association and Arkansas Coroner Association. He is also a member of the Disabled American Veterans. Wortham and his wife Tammy reside in Cherokee Village and have two children, Danielle and Seth, and five grandchildren. They are members of the First Baptist Church in Cherokee Village.