Service to local health honored
John Rieping/The Madera Tribune
Madera City Councilman Donald Holley displays his 2019 Public Health Champion Award as fellow honoree Claudia Morales-Bray looks on, holding her own trophy.
Madera County presented its 2019 Public Health Champion awards this week to employee Claudia Morales-Bray, City Councilman Donald Holley and CEO James Maxwell of Agriland Farming.
This is the first year for the new award, according to director Sara Bosse of the county’s Public Health Department. Those lauded for “embodying” the department’s “vision” were nominated by staff.
The honors were awarded at the Madera County Board of Supervisors meeting Tuesday during National Public Health Week, which is the first full week of April.
Morales-Bray has served as a therapy assistant in the local health department for 10 years. Those she helps with occupational and physical therapy range from birth to age 21 and have “severe illnesses” that require “intensive care,” said Bosse.
Public Health administrative assistant Deseri Ornelas said Morales-Bray often kindly engineers a solution when parents have a problem with a child’s assistive gear. “She goes beyond her call of duty … She has sewn straps on shoes to fit children and bought the child shoes,” she said in her nomination. “She has made Velcro straps for wheelchairs and made a headrest more comfortable. She has made pocket holders for walkers.”
The honoree also has volunteered with the Adaptive Sports program of Valley Children’s Hospital for eight years. The program offers free recreational, athletic experiences for youths with physical impairments.
A six-year councilman, Holley chairs the Madera County Tobacco Control Coalition and participates in the Big Brothers Big Sisters Lunch Buddy program, the NAACP Mentor program and on the Martin Luther King Host Committee. Bosse praised Holley’s work as coalition chairman and his pursuit of a city smoke-free parks policy.
“He is a valued partner to the Community Wellness Section staff and is seen by staff as the best example of a partner who shares the same values and visions for a healthier Madera,” said Public Health program manager Alan Gilmore in his nomination.
After accepting his award, Holley said that a smoke-free parks city ordinance would “be presented around the first of May if I’m not mistaken.”
“I just can’t sit down when it comes to kids … All you have to do is come on board to help out. Don’t say no when they come and ask you,” Holley said after county supervisors praised his past activities, including more than three decades of organizing the Jesse Owens Games, an annual children’s track and field competition.
Holley also serves on multiple local boards, including those for the NAACP, Central California Women’s Facility, City of Madera Parks and Recreation, and Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central California.
The public health department honored Maxwell for opening the doors of Agriland’s training center for classes offered by its programs. By two of the county’s programs, such as Child Health and Disability Prevention, which offers periodic health assessments and services for low-income children.
Bosse said, “He is making a difference in the lives of Maderans, especially his employees and their families, by providing assistance, resources and education for their safety and a healthy lifestyle. He also serves and collaborates with various community organizations.” These include Camarena Health, Migrant Head Start, Safe Kids Central California, and Madera Unified School District.
He also “volunteers with Valley Children’s Hospital.”