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Do you know people or groups who have worked to protect, promote, and enhance the health of southern Idaho citizens? Nominate them to be our next Health Hero!

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Congratulations to our 2022 Health Heroes!

Hispanic Coalition (Organization)

The COVID-19 pandemic revealed a serious information gap in our Hispanic and LatinX communities. As a disproportionate number of residents in those communities fell sick with the virus, a group of volunteers began meeting informally to brainstorm ideas, share resources, report obstacles, and come up with solutions. The group not only organized Spanish language resources, but went a step further and organized virtual town halls, in-person clinics, and working together to find and staff outreach at local events. This volunteer organization has no regular duties or responsibilities, no funding, no accolades. This is simply a group of volunteers doing their best to fill a gap they recognized in the community. SCPHD thanks the Hispanic Coalition for recognizing and responding to a need so effectively and selflessly.

Valley Apothecary (Organization)

As COVID-19 vaccine became available, Valley Apothecary went above and beyond to make those vaccines available to the community. This organization was one of the first to sign up to help administer the doses. They arranged for volunteers to help expand their ability to provide the shots. Valley Apothecary even set other business needs aside, when necessary, to fit in more appointments. In the first few months of 2021, this organization managed to vaccinate about 3,500 people. More appointment times were opened up when the vaccine became available to the general public in April of 2021. We thank Valley Apothecary for going the extra mile to make important vaccines more readily available to their community.

Alejandra Hernandez (Adult Professional)

Seeing a critical need in the community, Alejandra offers her time and talents to provide Spanish translation to organizations around the region. She has translated hundreds of flyers, documents, press releases, webpages and other informational materials about public health risks to help empower her community to make decisions that will protect their health. She has gone the extra step of working with SCPHD to create Spanish health information pages on Facebook and Instagram to help combat health misinformation. Often she completes her translations within 24 hours of the request, including during evenings hours. We thank Alejandra for the enormous difference she has made in getting quality health information and services to our local Hispanic and LatinX communities.

Dr. Terrry O'Connor (Adult Professional)

Dr. O'Connor has provided consistent, science-based advice to local jurisdictions throughout the Wood River Valley. He has gone above and beyond in offering his expertise; supporting organizations as they made difficult and important decisions to protect their community. Sometimes, this support and guidance would be offered after Dr. O'Connor had already worked long hours in the local hospital emergency room. His effort to provide quality education and protect lives made such an impact, TWO people nominated Dr. O'Connor for this award. We thank him for his incredible work on helping to guide policies and save lives during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Sonya Wilander (Adult Volunteer)

For the last four years, Sonya has volunteered 40+ hours a week to run Men's Second Chance Living (MSCL), a safe and sober living center in south central Idaho. Through MSCL, Sonya has also provided her community members access to medical services, dental services, behavioral health services, nutrition assistance, and recreation opportunities to help support a sober and quality lifestyle.

Throughout this service, Sonya is noted for showing incredible compassion and grace. Her nominator described Sonya as caring, understanding, supportive, and an excellent leader. Thank you Sonya for the work you are doing to help people change lives for the better.

John Pine (Adult Volunteer)

John is a career forester for USFS and a 30-year volunteer EMT. John's nominator described him as, "...hopelessly dedicated, everywhere he goes, to serving as a volunteer EMT, and that says a lot." In his work as a volunteer EMT, John has helped save countless lives through medical intervention and education. His presence and service efforts in the Camas County area have made a massive impact, both working as an official volunteer and in John's personal time. In one notable instance, during a basketball game out of his volunteer jurisdiction, John was able to help save the life of a cardiac arrest victim in the crowd. His dedication to his community and long years of service have been noted by many. Thank you John for doing so much for your community.

Katelynn Crabtree and Lexi Roberson (Youth Volunteers)

Lexi and Katelynn were nominated individually for their excellent work creating and developing the Warr;or Project. Both teens are hard-working, caring, passionate, and dedicated to using what they've learned in their own struggles to help others.

The Warr;or Project is an adolescent support group that meets at The Crisis Center on Monday evenings. With no commitment required to attend, and complete confidentiality, these meetings offer teens around the region a chance to find acceptance and support for their mental health. The project is specifically aimed at reducing suicides in the region and, in addition to the support group, offers education to encourage better mental health. Thank you Katelynn and Lexi for taking the initiative to address a growing problem in the community, and for finding strength in your vulnerability to help others with issues you can intimately understand.


Picture of 2022 Health Heroes

From left to right: Dr. Terry O'Connor, Lindsey McConnell-Soong (representing the Hispanic Coalition), Alejandra Hernandez, Sonya Wilander, Katelynn Crabtree, Lexi Roberson, Paula Shaffer and Dr. Catherine Swink (representing Valley Apothecary). Not pictured: John Pine

Do you know people or groups who have worked to protect, promote, and enhance the health of southern Idaho citizens? Nominate them to be our next Health Hero!

For more information, email or call (208) 737-5900.