Sumner County Health Leaders Recognized
Sumner County health leaders recognized ERIKA THOMAS Published: March 29, 2016
Sumner County is making great strides to becoming a healthier county. Since 1997, the Sumner County Health Committee remains committed to a healthier community as a whole, to address the physical, mental, and nutritional concerns that are essential to our community's quality of life while building strong networks.
Each year, individuals, businesses, and organizations are recognized with the Sumner County Health Leadership Award for demonstrating outstanding community leadership in improving the health and quality of life for Sumner County residents. This year's health leadership award's ceremony took place on March 17 at the Community Administration Building.
The Individual Award category winner, is Lugene Sloan, a retired grade school and physical education teacher of 37 years. She taught physical education for 17 out of her 37 years teaching and she introduced her students to a variety of different activities at a young age.
Lugene continues to participate in events like Walk Across Sumner and volunteers to educate other teachers about the program.
"I am excited and honored to be recognized as a leader of health in the community and feel my years as a physical education teacher made a difference. I hope to see the health of the community improve and would like to see a bike program on the greenways and a continued push to promote greenway activities and the park & recreation system," said Lugene.
The Lifetime Achievement Award went to Ken Hirth, recently retired physical education teacher of 41 years. Ken was committed to the health and wellness of his students. He volunteered and coached the Sumner County Schools American Heart Association jump rope team, Jumpkins, and helped other teams assemble across the county. As a physical education teacher, he loves to see people being active and improving overall health.
"I would like to see more people get involved in health organizations, get active outside, and don't be afraid of doing new things," stated Hirth.
Salvus Center, Inc. was recognized in the category of Health Leadership - Business. Salvus has offered healthcare for uninsured citizens of Sumner County without regard to their financial ability to pay. Since being founded in 2005, the Salvus Center has had over 35,000 patient visits and many patients consider the Salvus Center their primary care faculty. The Salvus Center treats patients who otherwise have little to no access to care.
Under the award category of Education Program, Unity Learning Center, the Sumner County School Extended Day Program was acknowledged. Since being founded in 1999, Unity Learning Center, a grant funded program, has provided before and after school enrichment activities and supervision for students in a way that will improve their outlook, grades, and performance so they may be positive members of the school and the community. Parents and other in the community speak highly of the program.
According to Marijo Monette, the project director, "Unity works for the whole well-being of each child. It is a very structured program where each student has an agenda each day of what homework assignments needs to be completed and what needs to be improved upon. It's an honor to be nominated for the 2015 health leadership award."
Unity hopes to continue to help students to become successful and involved individuals in the community and increase graduation rates.
As the 2015 winner in the Government Agency category, Volunteer State Community College has implemented a tobacco and vapor free campus wide policy. This effort is to improve student, faculty and staff health and foster a healthy environment. In addition, 91 members of the faculty and staff completed over 5,000 miles in the 2015 Walk Across Sumner Initiative and other wellness clubs like the Peddling Pioneers.
"Volunteer State Community College strives for a healthy environment and values healthy people. It means that we work better and serve students better when we are healthier." said Lauren Collier, executive assistant to the President, Volunteer State Community College.
In an effort to improve student health, Vol State's next goal is to create a food bank to address student food insecurity with the grant recently submitted.
"We are finding that many of our students are struggling to pay for school and have food on the table and we want to be able to ensure that they have both," said Collier.
Volunteer State Community College hopes to better the lives of their students and their community as a whole and one way to do that is having energy and enthusiasm because it's contagious and encourages an institutional culture that promotes health and wellness to all.
Erika Thomas is an intern currently attending Austin Peay State University