Kellie Tormey photo — The recipients of the LInda Lee Martens Health Hero Awards were presented by Island County Board of Health and Community Health Advisory Board.

Health ‘Heroes’ lauded for community service on Island County

Annual award recognizes going ‘beyond the norm’

The many ways of helping others help themselves emerged as the theme of this year’s Linda Lee Martens Community Health Hero Awards.

The honors were given out Wednesday by the Island County Board of Health and Community Health Advisory Board.

Helping Hispanic families of children with developmental disabilities navigate the world of special needs, helping seniors stay in their own homes and helping sailors stay out of trouble were just a few of the examples cited during the 90-minute presentation at the Whidbey Island Nordic Hall in Coupeville.

Each year, an individual and agency that has either directly or indirectly improved community health in a way that goes beyond the norm are chosen for the Health Hero Award and special recognition certificates from nominations submitted by the public.

The award, first presented in 2000, is named after Linda Lee Martens, the late executive secretary of Island County Public Health. She was also president of Soroptimist International and a memorable participant in many local activities.

The example of Martens, who is often described as an ordinary person with an extraordinary love for others, shone through in the naming of Lynn Willeford, of Langley as the adult Health Hero.

Willeford is the force behind starting seven non-profit organizations serving Island County, including Friends of Friends Medical Support, Hearts and Hammers, Back to School Project, Whidbey Island Local Lending and South Whidbey At Home.

“When Lynn Willeford sees a gap, she starts a volunteer organization to fill that gap,” Commissioner Helen Price Johnson said.

The Health Hero Award for an agency went to Camano Country Club volunteers who give 4,000 hours of their time to keep swimmers safe in the pool and assist with other of the club’s social, exercise and rehabilitation programs provided to Camano Island residents of all ages.

Special Recognition certificates were also presented to the following individuals and agencies:

• Barbara Brock, of Camano, for her 18 years of service as a member of the Water Resource Advisory Committee.

• Jason McDermott, of Oak Harbor, for starting a Challenge Little League team for kids with developmental and/or physical disabilities, the first in the area.

• Laiza Ramos, of Oak Harbor, who established a Hispanic support group at the Toddler Learning Center for families of children with developmental and/or physical delays.

• Casey Scott-Mitchell, of Oak Harbor, Prevention and Education Manager at CADA who has gone above and beyond her position to educate the community about interpersonal violence, and advocate for victims.

• Carmen McFadyen, of Coupeville, a long-time community volunteer, who’s served on the WhidbeyHealth Foundation board, Windermere Foundation, with schools, the Boys and Girls Club, Soroptimist International and Coupeville’s Neighborhood Emergency Team.

• Coalition of Sailors Against Destructive Decisions, of Oak Harbor, a volunteer peer-to-peer mentorship program that creates healthy alternatives for sailors, civilians, and families to promote physical and mental wellness.

• Community Resources Foundation, of Stanwood, an organization serving Camano Island residents providing resource referral and support, English as a Second Language classes, family budgeting classes, a mobile dental clinic, Teen Center, Lego Robotics, and teen “ready to work” mentor program.

• Coupeville Historic Waterfront Association, which collects and donates clothing, toiletries, food, blankets and other necessary items to clients served by Island County Human Services.

• Gifts from the Heart Food Bank volunteers, of Coupeville, which started 15 years ago to serve Coupeville and Greenbank families.

• Oak Harbor Christian Reformed Church, which stepped up to be the first 90-night host for The Haven, the overnight emergency shelter managed by Whidbey Homeless Coalition.

• Toddler Learning Center, of Oak Harbor, for assisting families through the early years of learning for children with developmental delays.

More in Life

Mucking about for clams

‘Digging for Dinner’ a popular Sound Water activity

Scorch is a play about gender identification showing at Outcast’s black box theater on the Island County fairgrounds June 13-17. It’s a one-person play, performed by Carmen Berkeley. Director and co-producer Ty Molbak went to middle school in Langley was was active in Whidbey Children’s Theater. Both will be seniors at Rutgers University in the fall. One scene in the play “Scorch” portrays the main character looking into mirrors and wondering what others see.
‘Scorch’ looks at first love and ‘gender fraud’

Irish play revolves around one character’s confusion

Whidbey Island Garden Tour highlights five homes

Tickets still available for Saturday event

Jordan Shelley, 18, stands outside his home in Greenbank. He recently received the Sydney S. McIntyre Jr Scholarship from Skagit Valley College to go toward his tuition at the University of Washington. Shelley will pursue his childhood dream of becoming a doctor. Photo by Laura Guido/Whidbey News Group
SVC grad earns full 2-year scholarship to UW

A lot has changed since Jordan Shelley was 7 years old and… Continue reading

Couple creates Whidbey’s first commercial cidery

Driftwood Hard Cider taps into growing market

‘Slowgirl’ explores the human condition in intimate setting

Even with significant professional credentials, the latest offering from Whidbey’s Outcast Theatre… Continue reading

Homegrown ‘Frijole Friday’

Fundraiser features student crops, cooking

Scott Swenson, a National Park Service carpenter, puts the final pieces in on a ramp on the newly restored Pratt Sheep Barn. The 1930s barn will serve as a classroom one it officially opens in July. Photo by Laura Guido/Whidbey News Group
Historic sheep barn repurposed

Tucked away on the Pratt Loop Trail, a formerly dilapidated 1930s sheep… Continue reading

‘Art with a Message’

Students worldview a kaleidoscope of visions

Hometown Hero: Lewis Pope

Once every year a South Whidbey senior is chosen by the South… Continue reading

Shhh…it’s a surprise party for old-timer Bill Lanning

Friends, customers invited to celebrate former owner of Bill’s Feed Tack

New look for familiar frozen treat

Whidbey Island Ice Cream gets a modern makeover