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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.



Arthur A. Cerullo – Portland, Maine
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. The air is healthier, lung health is better and the American Lung Association is stronger, thanks to Art Cerullo. A committed mission advocate, he has testified at Environmental Protection Agency public hearings and helped increase volunteer engagement at Advocacy Days in Washington, D.C. He also helped lead the effort to update Lung Association public policy positions - work that continues to this day – and helped lead the call to for the American Lung Association to advocate for healthy air to highlight the importance of air quality to public health. That message has enabled our Healthy Air Campaign to successfully advocate to clean up power plants, cars and gasoline, wood-burning devices and to set more protective pollution standards. Cerullo has mentored and recruited many board members and community members to help the Lung Association achieve its mission. Cerullo exemplifies the spirit of volunteerism.


Sandy Renor, RN, BS – Saint Peter, 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. Renor is recognized for her critical role in successful tobacco control efforts in Minnesota, including a successful vote by the Mankato City Council to make bars and restaurants smokefree. As a registered nurse with a community health degree, she quickly became the tobacco expert of the Statewide Health Improvement Partnership, founded in 2009. When tasked with implementing county tobacco-free grounds policies, Renor performed rigorous research, learning from state level experts including Lung Association staff, reviewing sample policies, and reaching out to other local governments in order to write the most effective tobacco-free grounds policy for her community.
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Steve Cothalis, RRT -  Morrisville, Vermont 
Steve Cothalis, a registered respiratory therapist, began volunteering with the Lung Association in Vermont in 1997, and since has volunteered each year for the five-day residential asthma camp. He has also volunteered or participated in nearly every Vermont fundraiser, founded and facilitated the Better Breathers Club at Copley Hospital in Morrisville, and has mentored healthcare professionals to start new Clubs. He is an inspiration to his Better Breathers Club members – individuals living with COPD and other chronic lung diseases - challenging them to reach further physically and to set goals, such as to walk several miles in the Lung Association's Healthy Air Walk and the LUNG FORCE Walk. He has also served on the Vermont local leadership board and various planning committees, participated in many Lung Association trainings, including the Asthma Educator Institutes and has also organized transportation for his patients to attend the LUNG FORCE Expo.
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Christine Fisher – Indialantic, Florida
Christine Fisher's involvement with the American Lung Association began in 1997, when she and her husband Tad worked with the Lung Association to amend the Florida Constitution to prohibit smoking in public places, including workplaces. This was a perfect fit for Fisher, who has a passion for protecting people from secondhand smoke. Since then, Fisher has become one of the Lung Association's most active volunteers. She has served on the Lung Association Southeast Region’s Advocacy Committee since 2005 and is the current chair of both the Regionwide Advocacy Committee and the Florida Advocacy Committee and serves on the National Public Policy Committee. Fisher has an extraordinary reputation within Florida, and has been effective at securing grant funding for multiple projects, including funds to support smoking cessation advocacy in Florida. She is quick to offer solutions and strategic counsel and backs up her ideas with action. 
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Patty Ginsburg – Anchorage, Alaska
Patty Ginsburg is a lung cancer survivor who has chosen to pay forward her gratitude for her survival in volunteer service to the Lung Association. Ginsburg, her husband Steve, and "Team Patty" have raised over $110,000 through cycling events over the last six years. She has become a passionate advocate for tobacco prevention, smokefree air, healthcare coverage and research funding, as well as sharing her story as a former smoker and a lung cancer survivor to help move forward a previously stalled Alaska smokefree workplace bill. She is an effective and connected mission-driven governance leader and fundraiser, and her leadership has been instrumental in strengthening the organization in the region.
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Jonathon Rosen - Wilton, Connecticut
Jon Rosen's 35 years as a Lung Association volunteer began in Hudson Valley, New York. He has been an outstanding volunteer at the local, state, regional and national level serving with integrity, passion, dedication and collaboration. Rosen has annually participated in the New York City LUNG FORCE Walk as captain of "Team Board Walkers," raising over $20,000 in its first three years. As a media relations professional, he created and delivered pro bono media training for public policy staff and sales presentation skills training for development team members. He has also provided crisis management and communications, and media relations consulting at the national, regional and local levels. He is a strong advocate, and been featured in articles about air quality and tobacco control in local publications and online. Rosen will serve on the Lung Association National Board starting July 1.
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Lindsey Freitas, Senior Director, Advocacy - California
Lindsey Freitas started with the Lung Association in 2012. Among her many roles, she is responsible for generating the California "State of Tobacco Control" report and managing the Center for Tobacco Policy and Organizing and its staff. She is a respected member of the capital and tobacco control communities, leading the Lung Association's tobacco control advocacy efforts in the California Legislature and administrative agencies, delivering significant policy successes that further the Lung Association mission. Lindsey is level headed, patient and kind and smoothly navigates the ebbs and flows of policy campaigns, all while supporting colleagues in their work to achieve local victories or create strong development events. In addition, when California voters were considering a 2016 ballot measure to enact a $2 per pack increase in the tobacco tax, Lindsey was 'in the trenches' collecting signatures to qualify the measure for the ballot and acting as a spokesperson in the media. Following that high-profile ballot win, Lindsey is now the one making sure that the voters' intent is carried out and that every detail of the initiative is implemented correctly. She is truly a watchdog for all Californians.


Jennifer Folkenroth, National Senior Director, Tobacco- Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania
Jennifer Folkenroth has been with the Lung Association since 2013, and was previously the Tobacco Control Team Director for the American Lung Association of the Mid-Atlantic before being promoted to National Senior Director, Tobacco. In 2004, she started her career as a Tobacco Treatment Specialist and received her certification from the Mayo Clinic in December 2006.  In her former role, Jennifer led a team of tobacco control professionals in coordinating prevention, cessation and advocacy efforts region-wide. Jennifer also serves as the Freedom From Smoking® Master Trainer for the Mid-Atlantic assisting with organizing facilitator training workshops for the evidence-based nationwide signature cessation program. Jennifer's track record speaks for itself, being recognized for national projects such as the Pharmacy Cessation Referral Module and Freedom From Smoking Plus sales team, her knowledge, drive and attention to detail truly set her apart from the rest. Jennifer has a positive attitude, and dedication to the mission of the American Lung Association that is contagious and inspires others.  Her connection to local communities makes her a unique and valuable team member. Jennifer is also an excellent team leader, and sets an outstanding example by sharing her knowledge and resources with her team, colleagues, and partners – a true team player.


Erin Meyer, National Director, Marketing Programs -  Chicago, Illinois
Erin Meyer started with the Lung Association in 2015 to manage two major national lung health awareness campaigns supported by one of the largest pharmaceutical companies in the world. Erin helped create custom nationwide marketing plans for all Lung Association Signature Programs and our Research Program. These marketing plans are crucial to the expansion and dissemination of these programs nationwide—extending our reach and impact to more lung health patients, caregivers and providers. She also helped ideate and create the new publication, Advancing Research, featuring our Research Program and demonstrating her ability to position the Lung Association's work to this critical audience. Erin possesses a unique ability to straddle the Marketing and Development functions, and her grasp of key elements that make a Health Education program impactful further informs her daily success as a key player at the Lung Association. She has the creativity to identify new partnerships, and the marketing acumen to implement them successfully. Her knowledge extends well beyond her area of responsibility—making her a unique and talented "utility player"—capable of stepping in and finding solutions and revenue opportunities that a typical marketing director would not necessarily capitalize on. Erin has a marvelous "can do" attitude, readily accepts new challenges and always gives 110 percent. She possesses a keen vision for how we can collectively serve more people, more effectively.


Cindy Trubisky, National Senior Director, Asthma – Rochester, New York
Cindy has the distinctive and highly valuable talent of connecting people, goals and funding to create productive and effective partnerships. She is in the unique position to be able to take part in conversations among wide-ranging and diverse groups of healthcare, education, corporate, and private leaders. Her unique expertise is being able to connect these people and groups, share opportunities and identify barriers, seek solutions and ultimately bring valuable asthma education programs to people and communities that would otherwise not have access to this lifesaving information. Recently, Cindy worked with one of our Public Policy Directors to conduct our first-ever Asthma Advocacy Day in Albany, New York. She not only secured funding to conduct this advocacy event, but she recruited a wide range of advocates from all corners of the state to go to the state capital. This group met with legislative representatives to educate them about the valuable work of the Asthma Control Program and to ask that funding be increased instead of approving a proposed cut in funding to the Asthma Control Program. What sets Cindy apart is that she consistently and proactively looks for opportunities to increase reach, increase funding, increase partnerships – all with the singular goal of increasing the quality of life for children and adults with asthma.


Rusty Burwell, National Senior VP, Governance -  Standardsville, Virginia
With infinite optimism and steady patience, Rusty Burwell has led a distinguished career at the American Lung Association. Starting with his service at the American Lung Association of Mississippi, Rusty is an enduring link from distinct local TB societies to the new single American Lung Association. In addition to his service to the Congress of Lung Association Staff and at countless staff conferences and trainings, he represented the Lung Association on the national board of Community Health Charities and served on the board of NTEN: The Nonprofit Technology Network. He mentored young colleagues and always had time to listen and support his co-workers and volunteers. Although Rusty has respect for traditions and precedent, he often says "change is good" and is open to new ways of operating and organizing. His grasp of Association governance documents, as well as his historical perspective that comes years of service in various positions, has made Rusty the "go to" person at the National Office. He is a consummate communicator, ever sensitive to differing points of view and the need for inclusiveness in decision-making.  Rusty will be retiring June 30 and will be greatly missed. He was a tremendous credit to the American Lung Association and is so deserving of this esteemed recognition.

    Page Last Updated: June 28, 2018

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