During the month of April, the Macon County Public Health Center celebrated Public Health Month by recognizing a Public Health Hero. The objective of making this award is to broaden people’s awareness and understanding of the important role that public health plays in all of our lives.
The health center asked the public to submit nominations for individuals who had made an exceptional contribution toward promoting and protecting the health of citizens in Macon County. In addition, the nominees must have performed their services as volunteers without financial compensation.
This year, Macon County Public Health selected Bill Van Horn as the 2013 Macon County Public Health Hero. Van Horn was nominated for the honor by Rhonda Blanton and was cited for his volunteer efforts to increase physical activity and a healthy, active lifestyle, particularly among children. Van Horn is an active member and recruiter for the Nantahala Hiking club and as such, he presents to many local groups about the benefits of hiking. Blanton said that he was a contributing factor to the mini-Appalachian Trail built at Cartoogechaye School. He was also recognized for his volunteer efforts to assist with Cartoogechaye’s annual hike to Siler Bald for students. These hikes involve youth in physical activity while exposing them to the natural beauty and scientific interest of the Appalachian Trail.
Macon County Health Director Jim Bruckner and Dr. Frank Killian, vice chair of the Board of Health, recognized Van Horn at the April 23 Board of Health meeting. Van Horn received a gift certificate and a commemorative award.
In addition to Van Horn, the Board of Health also chose to recognize the efforts of eight-yearold Corban Tallent.
Tallent was recognized with an honorable mention and a gift certificate for his work with the Shop with a Cop program in 2012. Tallent raised money and made Christmas stockings for each child, filling the stockings with “fun” items, but also included health and hygiene items for each child.