For Immediate Release
Jefferson County Public Health
Public Health Hero Awards are given out every year to recognize those who make a difference in the health and well-being of our community. Every year, Public Health Week is celebrated in April nationally and, locally, Public Health Heroes are nominated across Jefferson County by the public. The theme of Public Health Week this year is, “Centering and Celebrating Cultures in Health.”
The Jefferson County Board of Health is honored to present Public Health Hero Awards to the following individuals and groups:
• The Benji Project provides much needed mental health resources to Jefferson County youth, ages 11 to 19, years during which teenagers face high rates of suicidal ideation, depression and anxiety. It acts, proactively and preventatively, to teach teens skills for managing stress and building emotional resilience.
• Cameron Botkin works at Chimacum Schools, where she has coached basketball. She has also volunteer coached many County Parks and Rec sports teams and assisted Jefferson County youth in tournaments such as Hoopfest. She uses athletics as a way to keep youth connected and healthy, building their confidence and having healthy fun.
• Tonia Burkett commits much of her time to making Jefferson County a more inclusive and accessible place for all, particularly by conducting trainings concerning anti-racist literacy. Her efforts are transforming multiple communities throughout the county.
• Greg Graves served on the Jefferson County Parks and Rec Advisory Board from 2014 to 2021. His efforts to improve public health takes the form of improving and maintaining hiking trails, often personally doing much of the physical labor, and otherwise developing county parks, to encourage a healthy lifestyle by spending time outside, enjoying the forest and shoreline beaches.
• Charlie Johnson, a firefighter/paramedic with East Jefferson Fire Rescue, demonstrates a willingness to take extra effort to improve his ability to make patients feel heard, safe and continually cared for throughout rescue response.
• The JC MASH Free Clinic’s mission is to strengthen the safety net of accessible medical care by providing free consultations with medical practitioners, referrals and advocacy to obtain medical, behavioral and social services, and providing prescriptions and clinical interventions.
• The JUMP! Board: JUMP! (Jefferson Universal Movement Playground) and its volunteers have built the first accessible and inclusive playground in Jefferson County. The JUMP! playground provides a safe space where all children can experience challenging and stimulating play, including, but not limited to, children with motor and other disabilities.
• Jumping Mouse Children’s Center provides mental health therapy for children, ages 2 to 12, most often when they have experienced emotional stress or trauma. When these and other stressors affect a child’s ability to communicate or relate to others, Jumping Mouse steps in to nurture the child’s healthy development.
• Judith Lundgren hosts Barstool Bingo fundraisers, promoting and raising funds for Jefferson County Christmas for Children, Toys for Tots, Clemente Course, Chimacum Backpacks for Kids, Center Valley Animal Rescue, and many others. She has also supported the Winter Warmth Clothing Drive and participated in the annual Relay for Life.
• Shannon Minnihan is the Port Townsend School District Director of Food Services. She has made significant changes by providing more healthy and diverse cafeteria menus, offering lower carbon footprint (vegetarian) meals, introducing reusable dishware in the cafeterias, increasing the use of vegetables grown in school gardens, and introducing composting at the schools. She also coaches swimming at the high school.
• Beau Ohlgren has provided support to hundreds of youth in this community as they grapple with adolescence challenges, particularly in regards to gender and sexuality. He runs the Jefferson County Transgender Support group, provides education in schools, has worked with Jumping Mouse and Newport Academy and other local organizations.
• Mark Saran is a Port Townsend therapist whose practice includes family dynamics, adolescent rebellion, strategies for success in school, ADD/ADHD treatment and EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing). He works with pregnant and parenting teens, and teaches childbirth education in schools. He also advocates for Jefferson Healthcare to increase staff with specific skills in providing care to trans youth.
Congratulations to all of our 2023 Public Health Heroes! The awards were presented at the monthly meeting of the Jefferson County Board of Health, held at 2:30 p.m. on Thursday, April 20th.
Jefferson County Public Health
Always Working for a Safer and Healthier Community