American Lung Association Honors Excellence with 2015 Annual Volunteer and Staff Awards | American Lung Association

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American Lung Association Honors Excellence with 2015 Annual Volunteer and Staff Awards

EDITORS NOTE: Please note local interest, and find more details about the awards and this year’s winners here:

(July 29, 2015) - Chicago, IL

The lifesaving work of the American Lung Association is driven by an exceptional team of volunteers and staff across the country. On June 26, the American Lung Association recognized the excellence of its volunteers and staff at the Annual Volunteer and Staff Awards Ceremony.

“The American Lung Association was founded more than 100 years ago as the first voluntary health organization in the country, and today our team of selfless volunteers and dedicated staff work together to achieve our vision of a world free of lung disease,” said American Lung Association National President and CEO Harold P. Wimmer. “In honoring these special award winners this year, we recognize all our volunteers and staff who make our lifesaving mission possible.”


  • Chairman’s Award - Arthur A. Cerullo, JD, North Yarmouth, ME
    The Chairman’s Award is given when the Chair wants to recognize an individual’s service that has gone above and beyond the incredible work done every day by Lung Association volunteers and staff. This year, the Chairman’s Award was presented to Arthur A. Cerullo for leadership in Advocacy. A long-time, dedicated volunteer, Cerullo first volunteered for the American lung Association as a biker in the Trek Across Maine, 26 years ago. He has since served on the National Board, as Speaker of the Nationwide Assembly, and as Maine Board President.

  • Volunteer Excellence Award - Mike Carr, Philadelphia, PA
    Mike Carr has been active with the American Lung Association since 2011. He lost a friend to COPD in 2010 and started a stair climb team for the 2011 Philadelphia Fight for Air Climb. Over the past four years, through registrations and fundraising his Stair Climb team, Team Stab Plus, raised over $100,000. 

  • Volunteer Excellence Award - Wendy L. Sparks, Paoli, OK
    Wendy Sparks joined the American Lung Association in 2013 after she lost her sister Nikki, who was only 38, to lung cancer. She started Team Nikki in honor of her sister. Team Nikki has led the Oklahoma Fight For Air Climb to success in fundraising two years in a row, raising over $30,000.

  • Staff Excellence Award - Jennifer Cofer, MPH, CHES, Vice President of Public Policy and Health Promotions, American Lung Association of the Southeast, Jackson, MS     
    Jennifer Cofer started her career with the Lung Association in Mississippi in 2005. She is responsible for establishing and implementing public policy priorities for four states, and for supervising health promotions staff, supervising grant funded projects and implementing Lung Association signature programs in the four states.

  • Staff Excellence Award - Rebecca L. Ryan, M.Ed., Sr. Director, Health Education and Public Policy, American Lung Association of the Northeast, Huntington, VT
    Rebecca Ryan joined the Northeast staff in 2003 as the Manager of Government Relations and Tobacco Control Programs, handling clean air initiatives such as Low Emission Vehicles, Smokefree Housing and Idle-Free Fleets. She also covers air quality and healthcare policy work and has been in a leadership role in virtually every tobacco bill considered by the Vermont legislature since 2003.

  • C. Everett Koop Unsung Heroes Award - Maggie Mahoney, JD, Deputy Director of the Tobacco Control Legal Consortium in St. Paul, Minnesota
    The American Lung Association and the C. Everett Koop Foundation present the annual Unsung Heroes’ Award to an advocate for tobacco control who has made significant, but frequently unrecognized, contributions to reduce the burden of tobacco use. Maggie Mahoney joined the Tobacco Control Legal Consortium as a staff attorney in 2006 and was soon promoted to Deputy Director.

  • Bernard V. Gregory Award for Diversity - Edward H. Fluker, RRT, MBA/HCM, Orlando, FL
    The Bernard Gregory Award for Diversity is given in recognition of the creation or promotion of more effective diversity practices within the Lung Association family. Edward Fluker, a respiratory therapist, came to the Lung Association in 1990 as a volunteer through the Open Airways for Schools program.

  • William J. Pfeifer Rising Star Award - Gail R. Schiemann, MPH, Alaska Program Director, American Lung Association of the Mountain Pacific, Anchorage, AK
    The William J. Pfeifer Rising Star Award is presented to a staff member who has made significant contributions towards the American Lung Association mission early in his/her career and demonstrates considerable potential for continuing outstanding achievement. Gail Schiemann was hired to direct lung health and asthma programs in Alaska, including resurrecting the Alaska Asthma Coalition and funding for its work.

  • Hoyt E. Dearholt Distinguished Professional Service Award - June Deen, Senior Vice President of Public Policy and Health Promotions, American Lung Association of the Southeast, Atlanta, GA
    The Hoyt E. Dearholt Distinguished Professional Service Award is the highest honor a staff member can receive from the Lung Association, awarded to a staff member who has made significant and lasting contributions throughout his/her career. June Deen began her career with the Lung Association in 1981 as a Branch Director, and was quickly was tapped for many leadership positions and developed many skills, most notably in the area of work that is flamed by her passion, public policy.

  • Will Ross Medal – Albert A. Rizzo, M.D., Hockessin, DE
    The Will Ross Medal is the highest honor bestowed on a volunteer from the American Lung Association who has made a significant contribution to the prevention and control of lung disease. Dr. Rizzo has selflessly, confidently and skillfully served the American Lung Association at the local, regional and national levels for over 30 years, extending his reach to legislators, professionals, patients and the public alike.

For media interested in learning more about or speaking with this year’s winners, contact the American Lung Association at [email protected] or 312-801-7628.

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