Erie County Public Health Champion awardees named


Walter Ang
Communications Specialist, Erie County Department of Health

Erie, PA – The Erie County Board of Health today presented Public Health Champion awards to Erie County community members at a ceremony at the Erie County Department of Health.

The Public Health Champion award was created in 2019 to recognize individuals, groups or agencies in the county that advance the Erie County Department of Health’s (ECDH) mission — which is to preserve, promote and protect the health, safety and well-being of the people and the environment of Erie County.

“We all can do something to contribute to our own and everyone else’s physical, mental, emotional and environmental well-being,” said Richard Ortoski, DO, chair of the Board of Health.

Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the inaugural award ceremony scheduled for 2020 was postponed. Today, Ed Kissell and Jerry Skrypzak of Save Our Native Species Inc. (S.O.N.S. of Lake Erie Fishing Club) received the 2019 award for their dedicated and committed efforts in protecting and enhancing the Lake Erie Watershed, and improving equitable public access to the Coastal Resources of Presque Isle Bay and Lake Erie through educational programs for groups and schools. Through their work, they instill the value of outdoor recreation and environmental stewardship for Erie’s natural resources.

Erie County Safety/Training Coordinator Jon McEnroe received the 2020 award for his leadership, integrity, responsiveness and dependability in leading his colleagues at the Erie County Department of Health in responding to the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite no formal training in public health, McEnroe worked effectively and passionately with different sectors of the community such as local government, businesses, schools, law enforcement and first responders. He forged crucial new partnerships and strengthened valuable community relationships.

In attendance were Regina Smith, chief of staff for Sen. Dan Laughlin, and Rep. Bob Merski, both of whom gave commendations to the awardees. Rep. Ryan Bizzarro (not in attendance) also provided commendations.

Closing out the award ceremony, County Executive Dahlkemper presented ECDH Director Melissa Lyon with an award for excellence in public health leadership throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.

The public is encouraged to nominate deserving candidates for the 2021 Public Health Champion Award. To request an application form, contact the Public Health Champion Award at 814-451-6700 or


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