Three St. Lawrence County residents recipients of Health Initiative awards
POTSDAM – Three people are recipients of three annual Health Initiative awards honoring individuals: the Patrick “Bird” Kerr Award, the Walter Lacks Award, and the Kelly Johnson-Eilola Award.
These awards are announced in celebration of National Rural Health Day.The Patrick “Bird” Kerr Award is awarded to Kristin Colarusso-Martin, who was nominated by multiple colleagues. Colarusso-Martin serves as Massena Central School District’s Community Schools Director and Food Service Director.
Her colleagues state, “Kristin strives for overall wellness in her personal and professional life. She knows that taking care of her health and well-being is the most important in order to do the hard work that she does. Kristin continues to create and facilitate many opportunities for the staff, students, and families at Massena Central… Even when Kristin is facing a challenge, she goes about her day with a smile and a "we will overcome this” attitude. Kristin's dedication and work in these roles benefits every member of our community. I know we all greatly appreciate the impact Kristin and her team have had on our students, staff, and families.”
The recipient of the Walter Lacks Award is Cathy Rusgrove, a Lisbon resident who has demonstrated a commitment to both personal wellness and to increasing wellness in others. Of special note is Rusgrove’s dedication to the success of Alzheimer’s support groups as a volunteer.
Her nominator remarks, “Cathy continues to attend yearly seminars and aims to expand her knowledge on the subject so she can continue this distressing yet necessary work. Even during the chaos of COVID, she made a concerted effort to stay in touch with members of the support group. She would have Zoom meetings with each member to offer encouragement… and never stopped smiling and continued to be a pillar of support and encouragement. [Cathy] effortlessly spreads joy and positivity to anyone she meets.”
The Kelly Johnson-Eilola Award is awarded to Jim Williams, who has been identified as a champion for youth in St. Lawrence County. Williams’ roles at the Cerebral Palsy Association of the North Country include presenter of disability awareness programs for young people and coordinator of the North Country Recreation program designed for enjoyment of outdoor recreation and other activities.
As a volunteer at the Unitarian Universalist Church in Canton, his nominator notes “Jim has stepped into the role of organizing the Our Whole Lives program. He works tirelessly with other trained educators to offer this comprehensive, age-appropriate sexuality education curricula which dismantles stereotypes and assumptions, builds self-acceptance and self-esteem, fosters healthy relationships, and improves decision making.”
To learn more about the awards, the Health Initiative, or National Rural Health Day, please visit the Health Initiative website at gethealthyslc.org or call 315-261-4760.