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Volunteer and Staff Awards

The lifesaving work of the American Lung Association is driven by an exceptional team of volunteers and staff across the country. Each year, we recognize their excellence with our annual Volunteer and Staff Awards.



Jill Heins-Nesvold, MS, MBA, St. Paul, MN

Jill Heins-Nesvold, MS, MBA – St. Paul, Minnesota

Jill started her career with the American Lung Association in 2002. Recently the Lung Association’s Special Projects Lung Health Team, headed by Jill, identified an unmet need: existing evidence in the literature does not define the sustainability of quality improvement programs beyond 12 months post-implementation. Thus, during FY19, the Lung Association’s Booster Shot program was developed. This program, which supports our strategic imperative to reduce the burden of lung disease, was designed to re-engage past partner clinics from the Enhancing Care for Children program to determine and reverse any degradation of post implementation asthma care. This work will also teach us the sustainability of quality improvement programs and ensure long-term engagement of our existing funders and partner clinics. Thanks to Jill and her team for the first American Lung Association Innovation Award.
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Brenda Olsen, RN, Division Vice President, Health Promotions, Jacksonville, FL

Brenda Olsen, RN, Division Vice President, Health Promotions – Jacksonville, Florida

Brenda Olsen started her American Lung Association career at the Gulf Coast Lung Association in 1988 as Program Administrator. Brenda has been a leader in promoting health and seeking and securing grants. In Florida, she obtained and managed a $5 million-dollar statewide contract to implement N-O-T, Not on Tobacco. Under her leadership, the Eastern Division staff manage $11 million in grants to implement mission- and evidence-based activities including asthma education, tobacco prevention and cessation, smokefree multi-unit housing policy support, youth empowerment and support for patients with tuberculosis. For more than 30 years, Brenda has brought to the Lung Association a passionate dedication to our mission and has had a major impact on every aspect of our organization.
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Stephen J. Nolan, Esquire, Baltimore, MD

Stephen J. Nolan – Baltimore, Maryland

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. Steve has been involved with the American Lung Association in some capacity for over 25 years starting as a Board Member for the American Lung Association of Maryland, quickly moved up through the ranks and serving as president. In that capacity, Steve always led by example. Not only did he provide tremendous governance leadership but also led the way in securing significant fundraising dollars for Lung Association events.
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Headshot of Daniel Fitzgerald C. Everett Koop Award Winner

Daniel Fitzgerald – Rhode Island

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. Dan first became involved in tobacco control at the age of 12. His passion for this work stems from a desire to ultimately see the first tobacco-free generation within his lifetime. He started a youth-based activism organization, which has since been rebranded as the Chariho Youth Task Force and mobilizes middle school, high school and college-aged students. Currently, Dan serves as the Network Coordinator for Tobacco Free RI (TFRI), a state-wide network made up of organizations and individuals working to reducing tobacco use.
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    Page Last Updated: July 10, 2019

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