PUBLISHED: 4:07 PM on Wednesday, May 16, 2007
Sitka Health Summit honors wellness champions
SITKA - Community wellness champions from all walks of life were honored during the Sitka Health Summit, held April 26-27 at Harrigan Centennial Hall, for the work they've done making Sitka a healthier place to live.

The vision for the Sitka Health Summit is for Sitka "to serve our great state as a model for community wellness by creating a healthy community where Sitkans strive for and enjoy a high quality of life." These awards honor health care providers, policy makers, business leaders and other community members who already have been living within this vision. Some of these winners have done work in physical activity, nutrition, tobacco prevention and control, injury prevention, holistic health and general wellness.

Announcements ran in the newspaper, asking community members to nominate people who have made a difference when it comes to wellness. There was a pool of more than 60 nominees. The awards were presented at four different community events held during the Sitka Health Summit.

"We want to extend a heartfelt thank you to every single person and group nominated for making positive contributions so Sitka is a healthier place to live," said SEARHC Health Educator Doug Osborne, who chaired the awards committee.

Health care providers

• Don Lehmann, M.D. - honored for his work with the Alaska Chapter of the American College of Sports Medicine and his work getting speakers for the summer symposium the group hosts in Sitka, and for the hours he has volunteers with local sports teams.

• Ron Fribush, M.D. - honored for his advocacy efforts to reduce secondhand smoke in the community and for being an advocate for healthy lifestyles.

• Rose MacIntyre - honored for her work as a dental hygienist and her work educating patients and students about healthy choices and snacks.

Community awards

Physical Activity

• Alice Machesney -honored for being a role model as she rows from her island home to town, bikes around Sitka and then plays the accordion on almost a daily basis.

• David Kanosh - honored for being a role model as he frequently doubles the recommended goal of 10,000 steps a day during his walks about town.

• Keet Gooshi Heen Wednesday Walkers - this school program is honored for walking the approximate distance from the Tongass to Olympic National Park, a distance of 1,440 miles, and now is on the way to the Grand Canyon and then the Everglades.

• Sitka Trail Works - honored for its commitment to creating a wonderful network of trails around Sitka, including the Thimbleberry to Heart Lake Trail that opens on Saturday, May 5.


• Pacific High School Lunch Program - this program is honored for dramatically improving student nutrition with its switch to whole grains and the increased availability of fresh fruit and vegetables every day, a switch that's also made for more attentive students.

• Diane Matteson - honored for adding nutritional choices to the Basement Bistro at the Sitka Community Hospital, including more fresh fruits and vegetables for employee lunches, an oatmeal bar at breakfast and a fruit plate snack alternative.

Tobacco prevention, control

• Pat Svetlak - honored for her efforts to take ANB Hall for Sitka Camp No. 1 completely tobacco-free, which helped launch a movement that made all ANB/ANS Halls tobacco-free.

• Steve Warren - honored for his work with tobacco cessation and education, clean air policies and advocacy for non-smokers' rights.

Injury prevention, safety

• Don Muller and Mike Litman -honored for their work putting up a safety barrier at their own expense behind the Backdoor Café after it was reported a toddler had made the straight shot into the road and into traffic.

• Alaska Marine Safety Education Association (AMSEA) - honored for its hands-on training to reduce the risks and injuries to commercial and non-commercial boaters around the state, especially in Southeast Alaska.

Holistic health

• Tiffany Allison - a massage therapist and clinical chiropractic assistant honored for her holistic approach to wellness, which includes physical activity, nutrition, volunteering, laughing, yoga, and other elements.

• Georgina Dapcevich - a patient who incorporated several types of traditional and alternative medicine into her battle against two types of cancer, and honored for starting the employee wellness program when she was administrator of the Sitka Pioneer Home.

General wellness

• Jane Demmert - honored for her volunteer work with Brave Heart Volunteers (formerly known as Sitka's Faith in Action), being a volunteer visitor, grant writer, family caregiver, support group organizer, fundraiser, public speaker, and more.

• Tanya Bonorden - a nurse honored for her work as a role model in the realm of occupational and spiritual wellness, and especially for helping others learn how to flex their spiritual muscles.

• Colin Arnold - honored for his volunteer work at the Swan Lake Senior Center and Sitka Pioneer Home, including his maintenance of the garden next to the Safv (Sitkans Against Family Violence) house.

• Anna Winters - honored for her work with senior groups in Sitka, helping elders stay connected and helping them maintain relationships.

• Sitka Community Schools - honored for its wide array of programs for both mind and body, as it offers classes and physical activities for all ages.

• SEARHC Community Health Services - honored for offering a wide range of wellness programs that include chronic disease prevention, physical activity, nutrition, women's health, men's health, behavioral health, environmental health, injury prevention, emergency medical services, community health and wellness training, tobacco control and health promotion.

Policy makers, business leaders

• ALPS Federal Credit Union - honored for making its worksite tobacco-free on Jan. 1.

• Jeff Johnston, PhD - honored for his strong senior-level support of the UAS-Sitka Campus employee wellness program.

• City and Borough of Sitka Mayor and Assembly - honored for the passage of Sitka's bike helmet ordinance that requires all kids (age 18-younger) to wear helmets, and for providing free helmets to those youth who needed one.

Bridge Builder Award

• Moe Chaudry, Administrator/CEO of Sitka Community Hospital, and Frank Sutton, Vice President of Hospital Services for SEARHC Mt. Edgecumbe Hospital - honored for their work in bringing a spirit of cooperation and collaboration between Sitka's two hospitals, working together to support the city's Health Needs Commission, educating the community on tobacco issues, bringing the Well Workplace University training to Sitka, facilitating the Sitka Employee Wellness Coalition, and co-sponsoring several special events, such as community health fairs and the Sitka Health Summit, "Working Together for a Healthier Sitka."