2018 Chester L. Bryant Valor Award Honorees Recognized as Champions in Tobacco-Free Policies

A Smoke Free Paso del Norte is celebrating the achievements of four regional health leaders for their collective work in educating youth, implementing policy, innovating new evidence-based strategies, and efforts to establish a smoke-free culture in the region.

This year’s honorees-turned-squad – John Adams, Mary Morgan, Kristen Ortega, and Rebecca Zima – all work in various health related fields in the region have all contributed to the implementation and support of tobacco free policies.

Becoming a superhero is nearly every child’s dream and for four regional health leaders it is now their reality. The new Squad will receive personalized rendering of themselves, as well as a poster depicting the foursome, as tobacco fighting comic book heroes.

“Every year we recognize an individual or an organization for their work, this year we are recognizing the role of collective impact,” says Bill Coon, CEO of the YMCA which hosts the Alcohol and Tobacco Control Initiatives of the Paso del Norte Health Foundation. “We want to recognizing those who are working both independently in their fields as well as collectively within the Initiative to have an even greater impact on smoking rates and building a healthy community.”

Jeremy Jordan, Executive Director of the Initiative is focusing future efforts on trends it is seeing today.

“What we may or may not realize is that in the El Paso Metropolitan Area, smoking rates are increasing among young adults. We need to know if this is because of the new trend with vaping devices, such as Juul’s, or is this leading to the renormalization of smoking. This is an area in which we’ll be focusing efforts and policies in the coming year.”

In 2014, the Chester L. Bryant Valor Award was created in honor of Chester Bryant, a strong champion of health and wellness, who was involved in the efforts on the first comprehensive clean air ordinance in Texas adopted here in El Paso.

Each will be recognized at the A Smoke Free Paso del Norte Appreciation Luncheon this week.

What: Annual Appreciation Luncheon

When: Noon – 1:30 p.m. Thursday, December 7, 2018

Where: Downtown DoubleTree Hotel, 600 North El Paso Street