Thurston County's Medical Reserve Corps celebrated one of their own April 9 at their annual volunteer appreciation celebration.
Dr. Diana Yu, founder of the Thurston County Medical Reserve Corps and the county's Health Officer for nearly 20 years, was honored with the group's first Volunteer of the Year Award. Medical Reserve Corps volunteers chose Dr. Yu as the recipient and namesake of the new award to honor her hard work and dedication to public health in Thurston County and for creating the group of emergency response volunteers. As Dr. Yu plans for her retirement later this fall, MRC volunteers noted the award is for Volunteer of the Year, but Dr. Yu's contribution to the health and well-being of Thurston County residents spans her entire career--well beyond just the previous 12 months.
"I'm overwhelmed," said a surprised Dr. Yu. "You know, all I really did was talk a lot of other people into doing what they love to do--volunteer for their community."
"There are people in the local health community who have known for years that Dr. Yu is a force of nature when it comes to protecting the public's health in our area," said Director of Thurston County Public Health and Social Services Don Sloma, who presented the award Tuesday. "It's really great to see her recognized for all that she does for this community."
Dr. Yu's dedication to the Medical Reserve Corps in Thurston County was also noted by those outside the county borders. Captain Robert J. Tosatto of the Office of the U.S. Surgeon General in Maryland and director of the national Medical Reserve Corps program sent a letter thanking Dr. Yu for her commitment to the program and commending her for growing the program over the past 11 years into the strong network of dedicated volunteers it is today.
Thurston County Commissioners Sandra Romero and Cathy Wolfe expressed appreciation for all of the Medical Reserve Corps volunteers and their commitment to the health of Thurston County. They noted that that MRC volunteers donated more than 1100 hours of their time in 2012 for training and health events, including several back-to-school vaccination clinics organized in part to help curb the whooping cough epidemic in Washington state.
The Thurston County Medical Reserve Corps is a community-based volunteer program that strengthens and expands the local public health system's response during a health emergency or disaster. Members include medical and non-medical professionals who contribute their unique skills and expertise to prepare for and respond to health emergencies. The Thurston County MRC is one of over 900 nationally recognized Medical Reserve Corps units.
Are you interested in volunteering with e Thurston County Medical Reserve Corps? You don't need to be a doctor or nurse to volunteer. Visit the Thurston County MRC website at www.co.thurston.wa.us/health/admin/preparedness/mrc.html
, or contact Sue Poyner, Thurston County Public Health and Social Services Department, at (360) 867-2551 or PoynerS@co.thurston.wa.us
to learn more. -30-