PRINCETON — A member of the Mercer County Commission known for local advocacy in everything from addressing the opioid addiction crisis to making the environment cleaner has been recognized by the National Rural Health Association (NRHA).
Greg Puckett, who is also executive director of nonprofit organization Community Connections, Inc. in Princeton has been awarded the Louis Gorin Award for Outstanding Achievement in Rural Health Care, the NRHA announced Thursday.
“We’re extremely proud of this year’s winners,” Alan Morgan, NRHA CEO said. “They have each made tremendous strides to advance rural health care, and we’re confident they will continue to help improve the lives of rural Americans.”
Puckett continually pushes for strong public policy, leads others to combat the problems associated with addiction, challenges the norms on negative health outcomes, and embarks on community revitalization/stabilization efforts, NRHA officials stated. He is also involved with a number of state and national committees dedicated to addiction and mental health issues. Others who have worked with Puckett spoke of his efforts and dedication.
“Greg is a tireless, endless, don’t know how he does everything he does. Sometimes I think there’s two of him, maybe three of him running around the country doing all the things that Greg does,” said Bruce W. Adkins, M.S. P.A., director of the Office of Community Health Systems and Health Promotion.
Sue Thau, public policy consultant for the Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America, said Puckett works with government on many levels.
“He’s someone that partners with people at every level of government, from the local level where he’s organized coalitions to build safe, healthy and drug-free communities to the state level where he’s made unbelievable environmental changes through legislation and at the federal level where I first met Greg,” Thau said. “Greg is one of my heroes because he’s somebody who takes his passion and his purpose and he turns into power, but not power for himself. Power to give to use for other people to be able to be successful.”
U.S. Sen. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., congratulated Puckett for receiving the award.
“He has been such a pioneer and hard worker for not just his region of Mercer County where he’s county commissioner, but for the entire state in terms of meeting the challenge of the opioid and drug addiction issues,” Capito stated.
Puckett was among several people and awards across the nation that the NRHA recognized.
“I want to thank the National Rural Health Association for allowing me to be this year’s receipt of the Louis Gorin Award,” Puckett said. “I wish we could all be together, but I know our communities need us now more than ever, and over the last few years I’ve had the chance to work with the most amazing people from all over the country. And even though the statistics in rural America may not be the greatest, I would argue that our people are.”
— Contact Greg Jordan at firstname.lastname@example.org