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Second Healthy Hero awarded by Adams County Health and Wellness Coalition

Pictured are members of the Adams County Health and Wellness Coalition who were present at the ceremony where Ms. Emily Collett received the second Healthy Hero Award at the Feb. 12 Venture Hawks basketball game. Front row, left to right: Debbie Ryan, Adams County Creating Healthy Communities Coordinator; and Healthy Hero Emily Collett, West Union Elementary School; Back row, left to right: Leeann Puckett, Chair, Adams County Health and Wellness Coalition; Liz Lafferty, Adams County Developmental Disabilities Superintendent; Lavonne McCoy, Venture Productions, Inc.; Beverly Mathias, Adams County Health Department; Jo Hanson, First State Bank; Sharon Ashley, Adams County Health Department; Valerie Swayne, OVSD GRADS Program; Dane Clark, GE-Peebles Test Operation; and Mike Parks, Church 180.

Emily Collett, Assistant Principal at West Union Elementary, was awarded the second annual Healthy Hero Award by the Adams County Health and Wellness Coalition at the recent Venture Productions Basketball game fundraiser community event.
The Adams County Health and Wellness Coalition (ACHWC) was formed in 2010 to help combat the staggering obesity and diabetes rates in the County. The ACHWC is made up of local business stakeholders and researchers from the University of Cincinnati. Its mission is to improve the health and well-being of the children of Adams County and their families by assisting the community in creating a culture of wellness through increased physical activities and improved nutrition.
The Healthy Hero Award was developed by the ACHWC to recognize those individuals in Adams County who have overcome great obstacles and have shown a commitment to achieving a healthy level of fitness, improving their well-being and promoting lifelong health. Adams County worksites, churches, schools, and health care providers may nominate someone for this award.
Ms. Emily Collett, a graduate of Eastern High School, grew up in nearby Russellville, and reports that she feels like a lifelong Adams Countian because of the close proximity and having numerous family in Adams County. Emily did move to Adams County in 2011. She graduated from Shawnee State University and holds graduate degrees in both Reading/Literacy and Educational Leadership.
Emily says that she struggled with obesity her entire life. She maintained a healthy weight until starting school and by fifth grade weighed almost 200 pounds, making her the target of ongoing bullying throughout her school career. Despite this, Emily remained active in a wide range of clubs throughout high school and college and was determined to quietly rise above the ridicule.
At her highest weight, Ms. Collett weighed 353 pounds, causing an early onset of common obesity related health problems including diabetes, high blood pressure and sleep apnea. After completing college, teaching for eight years, and having ups and downs with weight loss she changed positions within the Ohio Valley School District. The sudden loss of her father combined with the new position at West Union Elementary as an Assistant Principal prompted Emily to revive her journey to wellness.
“I was surrounded by friends and co-workers including teachers and fellow administrators who were promoting health and wellness activities within our school and their personal lives. They inspired me to take my fitness to the next level. When you’re surrounded by runners and those that eat healthy, the camaraderie builds. Having a support system helps,” said Collett.
She was encouraged to attend an Adams County Health and Wellness Coalition meeting early last fall by the other WUES Assistant Principal, Karl Boerger. Since becoming active with the Coalition, Emily strives to make a positive difference in the school and community by supporting healthy initiatives. “I wanted to be a role model not only for my own children, but for the other foster children that come into our home, as well as the adults and students at school. So many individuals must deal with the emotional, social and physical issues associated with obesity and unfortunately it continues to be a problem in our society. I hope that by telling my story, I can encourage even one person to make one healthy lifestyle change,” Collett says. She also strives to keep her family active by involving them in school affiliated sports and spending quality time engaging in physical activities with them.
Emily’s nomination for the Healthy Hero award certainly demonstrates the impact she has had on her coworkers and students at WUES. It reads, as follows: “Ms. Collett is a young, quiet advocate for children and her family. As a single parent, she takes in children that are neglected and abandoned from the Children’s Home while parenting three daughters and one son from foster care. With the help of her mother, Emily manages to balance a home of blended families with her duties as an assistant administrator of an elementary school. One would consider this a full day by many standards, and the stress of this lifestyle could lead to unhealthy lifestyle choices; however, Ms. Collett reached a goal of quietly losing more than one hundred twenty pounds this past December. But with Emily, her journey with weight loss is never the burning issue of the day as she always puts others first. She sets a good example for coworkers by participating in school weight loss challenges between West Union Elementary and North Adams Elementary and motivates others to do their part. She also challenges students to walk around the gym, making it fun by encouraging them to beat her steps in a day. This is her easy, subtle way to get them to engage in physical activities that are fun.”
According to the nomination, Ms. Collett was already their “Healthy Hero”.
With receiving the ACHWC Healthy Hero award, Emily gives credit to her family, co-workers and ACHWC Coalition members for encouraging her to continue her journey. As of Feb. 12 when Ms. Collett received her award, she has lost a total of 125 pounds and has started training with the hopes of completing a 5K in the near future.

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