The Oklahoma State Department of Health (OSDH) and the Oklahoma Medical Reserve Corps (OKMRC) recently honored several of its members at the OKMRC Volunteer Workshop. In total, nine awards were presented to volunteers, units, MRC housing organizations and partners. Included in the awards was the first “Marci Widmann Spirit of the OKMRC” award.
The Medical Reserve Corps was formed in 2002 in response to President George W. Bush’s call for Americans to offer volunteer services in their community. The mission: uniting medical, health, and public health professionals – along with lay citizens – as volunteers to help prepare for and respond to widespread emergencies.
Community Resilience Award – Tulsa County MRC
The Community Resilience Award was given to the Tulsa County MRC for their work in the Community Garden in north Tulsa and supporting activities. This award honors an MRC unit that has demonstrated contributions to resilience at the community level in the daily unit operations and through involvement in activities and events.
Champion Award – Choctaw Nation MRC
The Champion Award was presented to the Choctaw Nation MRC in recognition of their Skin Deep Initiative. This award honors an MRC unit that has successfully carried out activities and initiatives over the past year that strengthened public health in their local community.
Outstanding OKMRC Responder – Karen Fritz
This award was presented to Fritz for the instrumental role she played in responding to the tornado last spring in Tulsa and again in the emergency animal responses in Tulsa County last summer. Fritz is a licensed Psychologist and a Stress Response Team MRC leader who has worked countless hours providing psychological first aid in these responses.
OKMRC Picture of the Year – Tulsa County MRC Coordinator Carrie Suns
During the 2016 Tulsa tornado response, Suns took a photo of OKMRC volunteers providing a Tdap vaccination and psychological first aid to a Red Cross volunteer on site before the volunteer went out to assess and assist in the damaged area. Honorable mentions were also given to photos from the Comanche/Cotton MRC and Tulsa County MRC.
Outstanding OKMRC Public Health Volunteer – Phillip Beauchamp, Jackson County MRC
This award honors an OKMRC volunteer who has been actively engaged in carrying out public health activities. Beauchamp volunteered for a total of 57 hours over eight MRC activations in the last year.
Outstanding OKMRC Housing Organization – Comanche, Cotton, Caddo, and Kiowa County Health Departments
The county health departments and their leadership have shown that they are exemplary hosts to the MRC. These housing departments supported two emergency activations this year as well as numerous events promoting public health in their communities. The first was providing drinking water and more in the Mountain View community after a day’s long loss of water. Most recently, they offered first aid to firefighters battling the Flattop Fire in Kiowa County.
Outstanding OKMRC Partner Organization – Humane Emergency Animal Response Team (HEART)
This award is given to HEART, which has been instrumental in bringing the animal response teams in the state together to build their capacity to respond to a disaster. With the assistance of Gina Garner, HEART Leader, the Oklahoma State Animal Response Team was able to meet in February to discuss uniformity and bring commonality amongst the individual teams in the state.
OKMRC Innovator Award – Oklahoma Large Animal First Responders (OLAFR)
This award honors an OKMRC unit that has initiated and carried out a novel and innovative activity that has helped the organization. OLAFR was formed after a May 2013 tornado struck a farm in Moore, injuring or killing numerous horses. Dr. McCook created OLAFR with the intent of being a part of the response system, which lead him to the OKMRC. Dr. McCook and the OLAFR continue to find ways to integrate the group with local jurisdictions by partnering with industry and other non-governmental organizations to offer large animal training and exercise opportunities.
Marci Widmann Spirit of OKMRC Award – Loren Stein
The first ever Marci Widmann Spirit of OKMRC Award was given to Loren Stein. Marci Widman was an OKMRC volunteer who passed away in 2016. Widmann was an outstanding OKMRC volunteer who was always willing to dedicate her time and service whenever and wherever she was needed. The award is named after her in recognition of her sweet, kind spirit and willingness to fill multiple roles within the OKMRC. Stein was the first recipient of this award. She has been a unit and state-wide leader in the OKMRC since 2004. She has served in various positions over the years, including as the statewide education coordinator for 10 years and serving on a nation-wide work group to help develop the national MRC core competencies.
For more information about the mission of the OKMRC and how you can volunteer, visit www.okmrc.org. Media inquiries should be directed to Cody McDonell at (405) 271-5601.