April 6, 2012
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Rick Osborn, Public Information Officer, Benton County Board of Commissioners
(541) 766-6082, email@example.com
Philomath Police chief earns public health award
CORVALLIS, Ore. — The Benton County Health Department highlighted its celebration of National Public Health Week on Thursday, presenting its annual public health awards.
Each year Benton County Health Department gives the Sheldon Wagner Public Health Service Award to acknowledge one person whose work has embodied the spirit of compassion, dedication, achievement and commitment to improving public health.
The 2012 winner of the award is Philomath Police Chief Ken Elwer for his work to establish and maintain the prescription drug disposal drop box at the Philomath Police Department office. The pharmaceutical disposal service provides the only full-time collection site for unused medications in Benton County. It exemplifies a strong commitment to preventing poisoning and pharmaceutical pollution and deterring drug use – a significant year-round health benefit to all of Benton County.
Since coming to Philomath in 2001, Chief Elwer has worked with the Health Department on a wide range of health, injury prevention, drug and alcohol prevention, school health and other projects.
The Sheldon Wagner Public Health Service Award was established in 2008 by the Public Health Planning and Advisory Committee and is named for Dr. Sheldon “Shag” Wagner, who served this area for many decades as a physician, researcher, professor, author and passionate public health advocate.
In addition, the Health Department gave lifetime achievement awards to Dr. Craig Leman and Dr. Bob Becker for their local, state and national work to decrease tobacco use and reduce tobacco-related illness and death. Dr. Leman is a retired surgeon who practiced medicine in Corvallis since 1957. Dr. Becker is professor emeritus of biochemistry and biophysics at Oregon State University, where he taught since 1962.
Dr. Leman and Dr. Becker were leaders on citizen groups working with elected officials and local schools to implement some of the nation’s first local clean indoor air and anti-smoking ordinances. Largely as a result of those efforts, Benton County now has among the lowest tobacco use rates and strongest clean air laws in Oregon.