Local Volunteers and Organizations Received Awards for Efforts in Tobacco Education and Prevention
The Tobacco Education and Prevention Coalition for Porter County held a virtual volunteer appreciation event dedicated to thanking their volunteers for all that they have done to end smoking and vaping in Porter County.
“We always look forward to this annual event to show our appreciation and thank our volunteers for all they do throughout the year,” said Carrie Higgins, Program Director for the Tobacco Education and Prevention Coalition. Todd Willis, Porter Starke’s Director of Prevention and Education and Executive Committee Member of the Tobacco Coalition, recognized the hard-working volunteers at the virtual event. The Tobacco Education and Prevention Coalition has many achievements to be proud of. “In affiliation with the Valparaiso University College of Nursing and Health Professions, we work in Porter County as a part of the Indiana Prevention and Cessation Division at the Indiana Department of Health to prevent tobacco use, and to help people quit smoking,” Higgins said. “We recognize individuals and organizations who have worked on advocacy issues and educated schools, property owners, patients, citizens and workers about cessation and prevention of smoking and secondhand smoke, in addition to the recent epidemic of electronic cigarettes.”
Many of the volunteers are involved in healthcare and behavioral health as the issue is constantly presenting itself in their fields. Megan Fisher, Director of Recovery Engagement for Porter-Starke Services, Inc. and Chair of the coalition’s Policy Committee, along with Porter-Starke Services, was awarded the North Star Partner Award in recognition of individual and organizational efforts to promote a smoke free lifestyle for their employees, clients and community.
Honorees, Shannon Hough, nurse and Health and Wellness Coordinator with Community Health Systems and the Portage YMCA, along with Katherine Byerly, Outreach and Enrollment Manager for HealthLinc were awarded the Rising Star Award which recognizes new members who consistently and proactively engage in coalition efforts. Donald Spears, outgoing Chair of the coalition, received the Star Leadership Award for outstanding service and leadership to the coalition. “Don’s guidance throughout the COVID-19 pandemic was vital to keep the work of
the coalition moving,” according to Higgins. resources of the coalition, while James Albers received the Gold Star Award for providing extraordinary service and dedication to TEPCPC efforts.
“While we have many amazing volunteers and partner organization members on the TEPCPC, these six members went above and beyond this past year. Without each and every coalition member, we would not be able to provide resources to Porter County. We are so thankful to each and every one of them.” Said Higgins.