AROOSTOOK COUNTY - Maine Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Patricia Aho celebrated the Environmental Protection Agency Region 1 Office's three Environmental Merit Awards given to two organizations and an individual from Maine on Wednesday.
"I am pleased that EPA recognizes the innovative work that the people of Maine are taking to protect our natural resources," Governor Paul R. LePage said. "With the commitment of individuals like Kevin Mallory and organizations like Cary Medical Center and the Gulf of Maine Institute, Maine is a model of environmental and economic sustainability."
Aho presented medical technologist Lisa Prescott and Cary Medical Center Director of Community Relations Bill Flagg with an EPA Environmental Merit Award.
"The Department of Environmental Protection nominated Cary Medical Center for this award because by collaborating with local partners, it was able to increase community awareness on the benefits of safe sharps disposal and the safety of solid waste personnel," Aho said.
In 2010, Prescott saw piles of sharps - or needles - collected in the apartment of an elderly woman with a diabetic cat, and asked how she disposed of them. She researched the issue further and brought her concerns and suggestions for community education and disposal to the attention of the Cary administration. In 2011, the Cary Medical Center Safe Sharps Disposal Program launched with a vision to provide community options for disposal of household medical sharps; especially critical given that Aroostook County has one of Maine's highest rates of diabetes. In 2012, a total of 86 boxes or 4,300 pounds of community medical sharps had been collected at six partnering community sites.
Last month, Aho presented Cary with a 2013 Governor's Award on Environmental Excellence, and she recognized that the success of the Cary Medical Center Safe Sharps Disposal Program came from one question asked at the right place, to the right people who listened and answered.
"Thank you, Cary Medical Center, for recognizing a bright idea and supporting your employees who go above and beyond to ensure the safety of our environment and people in this great State," Aho said.
The Gulf of Maine Institute based in Saco and Kevin Mallory, Transportation Director, Portland Public Schools, also received EPA Environmental Awards today. The Gulf of Maine Institute was honored for its outreach to teenagers ensuring that they are future environmental stewards. The Institute partners with other environmental organizations to increase the knowledge of issues facing the Gulf of Maine. Mallory received an EPA Lifetime Achievement Award for his work to reduce the school district's pollution from its bus fleet and to increase awareness of the benefits of green transportation.
Aho also congratulated the other two award winners from Maine, "Your dedication and efforts as responsible leaders are an example to others to become public stewards of our natural resources and environment."
The EPA Region 1 office recognizes individuals, businesses, government agencies, not-for-profits, professional associations, or college/universities whose work on behalf of the environment during the past year is worthy of recognition or who has demonstrated a commitment toward improving the environment during a career or over a lifetime.
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