The American Heart Association is honored five local volunteers and organizations for their work to help create a world of longer, healthier lives.
The Eastern States Volunteer Awards recognize companies and volunteers across the 13 states of the Eastern Region of the American Heart Association in several categories. Winners from the Southern New England area were recognized in almost every category.
“The life-saving work the American Heart Association does wouldn’t be possible without the efforts of our incredible volunteers and powerful corporate partnerships,” said Alissa Memoli, Regional Vice President of the American Heart Association. “We applaud these incredible volunteers for their efforts in cultivating healthier workplaces and communities, as part of our mission to build equitable health and well-being for all throughout our region.”
In Southern New England, the following companies and individuals were recognized for their commitment and dedication towards a world of longer, healthier lives:
- Sammi Fagan, Young Hearts Award
- John Potvin, Leadership Legacy Award
- Dr. Yvonne Heredia, Health Equity Leadership Award
- Lifespan, Corporate Leadership Award
- Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Rhode Island, Corporate Leadership Award
Honorees received a certificate along with a beautiful commemorative porcelain plate featuring new artwork from our Kids Heart Challenge Ambassador, Finn Blumenthal. Finn is a Congenital Heart Defect Survivor who has just entered Kindergarten. Research, advocacy, and education spearheaded by volunteers are what makes individuals, such as Finn, have brighter futures.
Local Volunteer Award winners include:
Sammi Fagan, Young Hearts Award – The Young Hearts Award honors youth volunteers for outstanding contributions to heart health and mission.
Sammi Fagan’s unwavering support for raising awareness and funds for Go Red for Women made her our Young Heart Champion. As a heart disease survivor herself, Sammi and her family worked tirelessly to help spread awareness and raise more than $12,000 to support the mission of the American Heart Association. Skating across Rhode Island with her teammates and fans, Sammi also helped educate the community representing Go Red for Women in local media through her Life is Why We Give fundraiser, Sammi Skates Rhode Island Red. Sammi fundraises to help make sure that other kids like her have the same chance to play their favorite sports, like hockey.
John Potvin, Leadership Legacy Award – The Legacy Leadership Award recognizes volunteers for exceptional service and contributions over a significant portion of time.
Captain John Potvin is a paramedic with the East Providence Fire Department where he serves as Director, Division of Emergency Medical Services, and Assistant Deputy Emergency Management Director. John has been an American Heart Association volunteer for more than a decade – and to say that he goes above and beyond as a volunteer is an understatement! John is immediate-past chairman of the AHA’s RI Advocacy Committee and recently completed his tenure as a member of the Southern New England Board of Directors. John’s passion for AHA advocacy initiatives is unparalleled, John spearheaded the AHA’s CPR in Schools campaign; helped secure passage and implementation of the stroke system of care in RI; and helped secure funding for 9-1-1 to address serious deficiencies and training needs. Though his passion lies with emergency cardiovascular care, that hasn’t stopped John from fighting for other policy priorities on the prevention side. John has testified on tobacco issues, never hesitating to take on tobacco industry lobbyists, convenience store owners and electronic cigarette retailers. He has also advocated for school nutrition and healthy schools, healthy restaurant kids’ meals and bike/pedestrian funding. John has been a local media spokesperson for the AHA for many years. He also chairs the RI Ambulance Service Advisory Board and serves on the RI Stroke Task Force.
Dr. Yvonne Heredia & the Rhode Island Multicultural Leadership Committee, Health Equity Leadership – The Health Equity Leadership award recognizes volunteers whose leadership and efforts have reinforced the American Heart Association’s commitment to achieving maximum impact in equitable health and wellbeing and addressing social influencers of health to advance health outcomes.
A 2015 survivor of a massive heart attack, Dr. Heredia has committed herself to the fight against heart disease and stroke working closely with the community on multiple different levels. Southern New England American Heart Association Board Member, Dr. Heredia serves as chair of the association’s Rhode Island Multicultural Leadership Committee. Through grassroots efforts, the RI Multicultural Leadership Committee extends the reach of the AHA/ASA while making an impact with diverse communities. Under Dr. Heredia’s leadership, the RI Multicultural Leadership Committee has provided educational workshops using AHA research and materials, cooking demonstrations, and hands-only CPR Training to numerous local organizations, including Amos House and Cross Roads Rhode Island, which both serve the areas homeless population. In addition, they have organized health fairs and health conversations with local churches shedding light on the importance of healthy eating, exercising, and making sure that people are managing their chronic conditions.
Lifespan, Corporate Leadership Award – The Corporate Leadership Award recognizes corporations and companies that demonstrate exemplary support of, and involvement with, the mission of the American Heart Association over at least five years.
Lifespan was recognized, in part, for its decade plus support and leadership engagement, including its efforts of educating and advocating the importance of making healthy choices to reduce heart disease, as well as understanding preventative risk factors. The AHA has been honored to have several Lifespan employees join in leadership roles, including serving on the Board of Directors as well as spearheading various fundraising events and community impact initiatives. With years of company representatives serving as volunteer leadership support and many employees engaging in fundraising efforts on a personal basis, Lifespan has raised $315,000 for the American Heart Association, acting as a relentless force for a world of longer, healthier lives. Lifespan’s leadership recognized included Lisa Abbott, Dr. Frank Selke, Dr. Athena Poppas and Dr. Jinnette Abbott.
Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Rhode Island, Corporate Leadership Award – The Corporate Leadership Award recognizes corporations and companies that demonstrate exemplary support of, and involvement with, the mission of the American Heart Association over at least five years.
Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Rhode Island has been supporting the American Heart Association for over 10 years here in Southern New England. The AHA has been honored to have several BCBSRI employees join in volunteer leadership capacities for pillar events and board of governors, both locally and for the Eastern States Region. BCBSRI’s leadership supports life-saving work together throughout Rhode Island and within their workplace to advocate important messages of survivors, ensuring that everyone understands their risks of heart disease and stroke, as well as educating the community of the signs and symptoms. Through volunteer leadership support and organizational support, BCBSRI and their employees have raised $275,000 for the American Heart Association, allowing the organization to continue to be a to be a relentless force for a world of longer, healthier lives. BCBSRI leadership recognized included Melissa Cummings, Carolyn Belisle, Stephanie Santoro and Julie O’Connell.
As the Director of Communications for American Heart Association Southern New England, Samantha works with local partners in the community to be a relentless force for longer, healthier lives for everyone. For more information on the article you just read, or to get involved visit SNE Webpage, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 401.228.2324.