The Tobacco Education and Prevention Coalition for Porter County (TEPC) recently held a volunteer appreciation event to thank their volunteers and community partners for all that they have done to provide smoke free air and to end smoking and vaping in Porter County.

Valparaiso Police Department’s Captain Joe Hall, Chair of the executive committee of the coalition, recognized the dedicated volunteers by presenting them with awards.
Many of the volunteers are involved in healthcare and behavioral health as the issue is constantly presenting itself in their fields. Donna Golob, Executive Director of A Positive Approach to Teen Health (PATH), along with PATH, 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, Nicole Otis, Outreach Program Director for Community Advocates of Northern Indiana, along with Jennifer Eades, Community Relations Specialist for NorthShore Health Centers, were awarded the Rising Star Award which recognizes new members who consistently and proactively engage in coalition efforts.

Denise Carpenter, Outreach and Communications Manager at NorthShore Health Centers received the Star Leadership Award for outstanding service and leadership to the coalition.

Other honorees included Valparaiso Police Department Captain Joe Hall, who received the Tobacco Education and Prevention’s Media Superstar Award for providing support and promoting the efforts and resources of the coalition, while Dr. Theresa Kessler and Professor Karen Hernes, with the Valparaiso University College of Nursing and Health Professions, 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 seven members went above and beyond this past year. Without each and every coalition member, we would not be able to provide resources and education to improve the health of Porter County citizens. We are so thankful to each and every one of them.” Said Carrie Higgins, Program Director for the Tobacco Education and Prevention Coalition.