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Local Leaders in Health Recognized With Awards

Craig Thorn (right) receives the 2014 Bert Hall Award for Commitment to the Health of the Community from Bert Hall.

Craig Thorn (right) receives the 2014 Bert Hall Award for Commitment to the Health of the Community from Bert Hall.

Mat-Su Health Foundation

Wasilla, Alaska —Former Mat-Su Regional Medical Center board member Craig Thorn was recently selected as the 2014 recipient of the Bert Hall Award for Commitment to the Health of the Community, and Mat-Su Health Foundation board member Benjamin Olmedo received international recognition with his selection for a 2014 REAL Award. 

The Bert Hall Award is presented annually by the Mat-Su Health Foundation board of directors to an individual who consistently exemplifies commitment to improving the health and wellness of people in the Mat-Su Borough.  2014 award recipient Craig Thorn was a board member and later board chair of Mat-Su Regional Medical Center, and he served in that role until he recently resigned to pursue other interests. He previously served on the Mat-Su Health Foundation board of directors, where he also was elected chair. Craig is a lifelong Alaskan with a long history of community service, including as past president of the Palmer Chamber of Commerce and the Palmer Rotary Club, and as a board member of United Way of Mat-Su.

“Craig has given extensively of his time and expertise to our community,” said MSHF Executive Director Elizabeth Ripley. “His leadership on the Mat-Su Regional Medical Center and Mat-Su Health Foundation boards has had a direct, positive impact on the health of Mat-Su residents.”


Benjamin "Ben" Olmedo, Physician Assistant


The REAL Awards program was created by Save the Children and the Frontline Health Workers Coalition to celebrate the contributions of healthcare workers who save lives every day around the world. Ben Olmedo was one of only 26 awardees in ten different categories from 13 countries, and he was the only physician assistant recognized. Ben, who joined the MSHF board 2013, is a primary care physician assistant with Southcentral Foundation and serves patients at the Chickaloon Village Health Clinic in Chickaloon and the Valley Native Primary Care Center in Wasilla.  He is a decorated veteran of the U.S. Army, where he attained the rank of captain and served in Iraq and Afghanistan. He was awarded the Bronze Star and Naval Commendation Medal for contributions made during operations in Afghanistan.

“Ben is a real asset to the Mat-Su Health Foundation board of directors. His expertise in health care allows him to make significant contributions to our work,” said board chair Linda Conover. “We’re proud of the national recognition he has received with this award.”

About Mat-Su Health Foundation: Mat-Su Health Foundation (MSHF) is the official business name of Valley Hospital Association, Inc., which shares ownership in Mat-Su Regional Medical Center.  In this capacity, the MSHF board members and representatives actively participate in the governance of Mat-Su’s community hospital and protect the community’s interest in this important healthcare institution through board oversight.  The MSHF invests its assets into charitable works that improve the health and wellness of Alaskans living in Mat-Su.  More information is available at www.healthymatsu.org.

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