Health heroine

Longtime mental health advocate Arlene Engel of Sequim and Sequim's First Teacher program both received 2009 Public Health Hero Awards at a Tuesday, Nov. 17, ceremony in the Clallam County Courthouse.

Engel, an Olympic Medical Center board member, received the Lifetime Achievement Award.

First Teacher, a volunteer parent advocacy group, received one of two group awards.

Engel said now she could add "volunteer" to a long list of names she'd been called, including "politician."

She also noted that after winning another term on the OMC board this year, she will be 96 when her new term expires.

The awards to Engel and First Teacher were two of five presented by Dr. Tom Locke, public health officer for Clallam and Jefferson counties, prior to last Tuesday's Clallam County Board of Health meeting.

NAMI, VIMO and more

Engel's was the only proclamation Locke read in its entirety.

It noted her advocacy for people with brain disorders, acting both inside and outside the local chapter of the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill.

Engel also has helped at the Volunteers in Medicine Clinic, assisted with state legislation on mental health issues and was instrumental in setting up the county's medical Lifeline Alert.

First Teacher's award was presented to Cynthia Martin, its executive director.

The 19-year-old program began with Martin and volunteers mailing a newsletter to families of preschoolers in Sequim and Port Angeles.

It since has expanded to 10 monthly newsletters for age groups beginning at birth.

Promoting good


The proclamation recognized the group for promoting "parents becoming good parents through free literature and education."

It noted the group's free age-appropriate newsletters that include pointers on nutrition, safety, development norms, discipline and mental health.

Three other awards were presented:

_ Mount Angeles View Manor residents received a group award for establishing an on-site community garden with wheelchair access and an off-leash dog park.

_ John Halberg received an individual award for promoting healthy lifestyles by

introducing rowing activities within school districts.

_ Krista Winn received an innovative award for leading the group that saved the William Shore Memorial Pool in Port Angeles and continuing to promote exercise and healthy diets for children.

Locke said last year they were lucky to have Mary Selecky, Washington State Secretary of Health, present the awards.

They couldn't do that again this year because of scheduling problems but each of the recipients received a letter from Selecky, he said.

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