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Welcome House’s Stewart, Ethan’s Promise’s Zegarra named WellCare’s Community Health Champions

Two NKyians are among the winners of WellCare of Kentucky’s Community Health Champions Awards for their selfless service to removing barriers, improving outcomes, and supporting community well-being.

Welcome House outreach nurse Samantha Stewart has been named the overall statewide winner of the Community Health Champions Award winner by WellCare of Kentucky.

Samantha Stewart (Photo from WellCare of Kentucky)

Stewart’s nomination described her as the heart of Welcome House’s Street Outreach Team, having served hundreds of men, women, and children through the agency’s medical RV, and has been a literal lifeline to some of the community’s most vulnerable citizens.

“Samantha represents exactly the type of service, commitment, and passion that we want to support in Kentucky,” said Ewing. “We know that people like her help make Kentucky communities healthier.”

Deborah Zegarra, founder of Ethan’s Purpose received the award for Region 6 which includes NKY, one of eight regional winners.

Zegarra has channeled a personal tragedy into a mission to help others. She organized Ethan’s Purpose, a race at North Pointe Elementary School, to raise money in support of suicide prevention efforts in memory of her son, who took his own life in 2018.

The funds help provide individual and group counseling and supply schools with social emotional learning curriculum for their students.

Deborah Zegarra, Ethan’s Promise

Zegarra recently retired from teaching special education at North Pointe Elementary so she can dedicate more time to Ethan’s Purpose. She currently serves on Boone County School’s Mental Health Task Force in order to remain active in the schools.

The family’s foundation supports local schools’ efforts to support students who have anxiety, depression, grief — and struggle to fit in socially. It holds fundraisers throughout the year.

The Community Health Champions Awards honor individuals and organizations throughout the Commonwealth that play a pivotal role in removing barriers, improving outcomes, and supporting community well-being.

“I see our Community Health Champions as examples of the best of Kentucky,” said Corey Ewing, WellCare of Kentucky’s President and CEO. “Each of these individuals has worked to ensure that Kentuckians are physically, emotionally, and mentally healthy – and they did it in deeply personal ways, giving their time, talent, and heart in the process.”

This year, 10 winners were selected from 146 nominations. Those honored represent the eight Kentucky Medicaid regions and one statewide winner. WellCare awarded a $3,000 grant to the regional winners and a $5,000 grant to the statewide winner.

WellCare of Kentucky

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