Photo: Grand County’s Incident Management Team takes top honors for their service and dedication to the community during the COVID-19 pandemic.     Photo courtesy of the Grand County Front Steps Project

Each year, the Grand County Rural Health Network honors modern-day healthcare pioneers who truly impact the health and lives of individuals and our community.  These are individuals in the health field, professionally or as a volunteer, who have contributed significantly to our community.

The Network typically honors these award recipients at our annual fundraiser, Bulls, Boots, and BBQ. Due to the in-person COVID-19 mitigation restrictions, the Network cancelled our fundraiser. Instead, the Board of Directors decided to give this award to a group that has made a significant impact on our community this year during our new virtual fundraiser “Gratitude for Grand – Give a High Five for Health”. This event provides an opportunity for people to give a “High Five for Health” to individuals, organizations, or groups that made a difference in their health this year – all while fundraising for the Network. For more information or to give a High Five during the week of September 9-15, please go to

In 2020, the Grand County Rural Health Network’s Board of Directors ultimately chose not one individual, but a group of people dedicated to putting the health of the community first, despite many obstacles. The Network is pleased to announce the 2020 recipient of the Award for Excellence in Healthcare Service:  Grand County Incident Management Team Command Staff.

The Incident Management Team was formed to provide assistance and support to Grand County Public Health for the county’s COVID-19 response. Because of their commitment toward the singular goal of limiting the spread and impact of COVID-19 in Grand County, many sustainable mitigation strategies were implemented. These strategies included the development of COVID-19 testing procedures and protocols, the implementation of methods and processes for economic recovery, and drafting a countywide vision meant to provide for a unity of purpose and effort moving into the recovery phase of this crisis. Through their work, stakeholder trust and support in the integrity of the public healthcare system in general has been strengthened and efforts for sustaining it are being developed.

The Incident Management Team Command Staff was comprised of: Brad White, Brene Belew-LaDue, Brett Schroetlin, Darcy Selenke, Kat Conrad, Kelly Oxley, Abbie Baker, Chris Leahy, Curtis Lange, Nick Wall, Ryan Mowrey, Tyler Campbell, Katlin Miller, Schelly Olson, and Alexis Kimbrough. These 15 people made extremely difficult, and often unpopular decisions, which guided our county’s COVID-19 response. They worked tirelessly for over 5 months, collaborating with over 100 individuals from dozens of local and statewide organizations to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic, and the corresponding economic and mental health crises. The Rural Health Network’s Board of Directors and community leaders believe their leadership, collaborative efforts, and focus on public health best practices and evolving COVID-19 science illustrates the innovation and community impact this award was designated to celebrate. Congratulations to all members of the Incident Management Team Command Staff.

Past award recipients include: Sue Johnson, LCSW and Katie Hornbaker, CRNA in 2019; Heather Bentler, RN and John Nichols, MD in 2018; Wade Walker, RPh in 2017; Val Lind, RN in 2016; Hannah Foley, NP and Ray Jennings in 2015; Mary Jo Hargadine, RN in 2014; and Therese McElroy, RN in 2013.