CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The people working on the rural health front lines every day in West Virginia are most often not the type to seek out awards.

“They do a thankless job. They don’t do it for recognition. They don’t do it for a pat on the back,” said Debrin Jenkins, executive director of the West Virginia Rural Health Association.

Recognition, though, is warranted, she argued, for those improving health care for West Virginians in rural communities and that’s one of the reasons for the West Virginia Rural Health Awards.

“Rural West Virginia is your mom and dad and your grandparents and your brothers and sisters,” Jenkins said.

“We have a right to this health care. We have a right to receive good services. We shouldn’t be written off.”

Through Monday, Sept. 3, nominations will be accepted in four categories: Outstanding Rural Health Student, Outstanding Rural Health Provider, Excellence in Rural Health (Individual) and Excelled in Rural Health (Organization or Program).

The Outstanding Rural Health Student Award includes a $1,000 cash prize.

“These people should all have gems in the crowns in heaven because they don’t do it for any reason other than love and that’s a rare thing in today’s world,” Jenkins said of those who deal with health crises while regularly short on funding and resources.

Her group, the West Virginia Rural Health Association, is an advocacy organization dedicated to strengthening rural health in the Mountain State.

“West Virginians are resilient and we’re smart and we make do with what we have and that needs to be recognized and promoted and it needs to be celebrated.”

The winners of the West Virginia Rural Health Awards will be announced during the West Virginia Rural Health Conference at Pipestem Resort State Park scheduled from Oct. 17 – 19.

For more information and to nominate someone or an organization for the West Virginia Rural Health Awards, CLICK HERE.

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