By Kathryn Millhorn
Let’s face it, healthcare workers are amazing. They seldom see us at our best and yet strive to provide calm, competent care while being surrounded by equipment and scenarios that make most people shudder. On Tuesday, June 25, join industry professionals, civic leaders, and community members in honoring these unsung heroes at the 13th annual Thurston County Chamber Health Care Champions event.
Federal CDC statistics show that “Healthcare is the fastest-growing sector of the U.S. economy, employing over 18 million workers.” But as populations age, more and more workers are needed. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2017 alone “The healthcare industry has added an average of 24,000 jobs each month. That’s vigorous growth in any industry. While healthcare job growth will ebb and flow in the future, the trajectory of growth has been consistently upward.”
To honor their tireless, round-the-clock service, the Thurston County Chamber partnered with the non-profit Thurston-Mason County Medical Society to host an evening showcasing some of our region’s hardworking health care workers.
Organizers explain that these awards “were established to recognize heroic acts, steadfast dedication, extraordinary service and professionalism that are seen every day in our community’s medical offices, clinics, hospitals, emergency services and related organizations.”
Since 2007, they’ve celebrated more than 50 individuals who work for medical and dental clinics, fire districts, insurance companies, and hospitals. This year’s honorees are Eric Moll, Innovation in Rural Medicine, Cindy Grande, Innovative Community Service Award, Chelsea Unruh, Health Care Pioneer Award, and Eileen McKenzie Sullivan and Senior Services of South Sound, Safety Net Award.
“This is a way to recognize professionals in our community’s largest industry,” says Thurston County Chamber President and CEO David Schaffert, “To honor those who are having an impact.” The event may feel industry-specific but is open to anyone wanting to learn more or just say thanks.
“It’s definitely a feel-good, social event,” agrees Chamber Events Coordinator Krystal Barkus. A video documenting the recipient’s journey is shown with appetizers and desserts for attendees. This year’s gathering takes place at the Olympia Golf and Country Club from 5:30 to 8:00 p.m. Tickets are $40 each and available through the Thurston County Chamber offices.
The Thurston County Chamber was created in 1874 and the Thurston-Mason Medical Society in 1889. Over their long history, they’ve focused on forging partnerships, providing leadership, and offering networking opportunities in and around the region. Join them in celebrating Western Washington’s finest at this welcoming event.
We all rely on healthcare. The National Center for Health Statistics reports that 85% of adults and 93% of children had contact with a health care professional in the last year alone. Without their skill, knowledge, and determination, our daily life would be much—let’s be honest—ickier.
Even if you can’t attend Health Care Champions, take a minute to thank a caregiver in your life. Or, better yet, invite them to the reception and together raise a glass to their population as a whole.
Tickets to Health Care Champions are available here.