COLUMBUS, OHIO — MARCH 4, 2011 — Three local individuals were recognized by OVMA President Dr. Jason Johnston for their contributions to the veterinary community during awards ceremonies at the Ohio Veterinary Medical Association’s (OVMA) annual Midwest Veterinary Conference (MVC), Feb. 24 to 27.
State Veterinarian Tony Forshey took home the OVMA’s highest honor, the Veterinarian of the Year Award, which recognizes an individual for outstanding contributions, dedication and service to the veterinary profession, the community and animals.
“He has served the animal kingdom, the general public and his colleagues by giving an active voice to the veterinarians of Ohio,” Dr. Johnston said. “Through his knowledge, compassion and dedication to the profession, he has strived to ensure that only the highest standards of veterinary medicine are practiced in Ohio.”
Dr. Forshey began his career as a well-known and respected food animal practitioner, earning national recognition as one of the country’s pre-eminent swine veterinarians. He took his expertise to the state level, first becoming the assistant state veterinarian and later the state veterinarian, a position he holds to this day. In 2010, he took on the difficult task of shepherding the work of the newly formed Ohio Livestock Care Standards Board—a role, Dr. Johnston said, that has been critical in advancing fair, humane standards.
“He is a friend and a colleague,” Dr. Johnston said in conclusion, “but most of all, he is a model of our profession.”
The OVMA’s Distinguished Service Award went to Life Member Dr. George Kukor, whose exemplary service, commitment and dedication to the veterinary community date back to 1958, when he first joined the OVMA.
“During his career, he has never stopped giving back to the profession he loves,” Dr. Johnston said in presenting the award. “His contributions have spanned three decades and have helped to shape the OVMA into what it is today.”
Dr. Kukor was instrumental in founding the OVMA’s member newsletter, The Observer, which was established at the request of then-OVMA President Dr. Dave Drenan. Since its inception in 1973, Dr. Kukor has remained involved, regularly contributing a column of member news and events. After nearly 40 years of writing what he referred to as his “gossip column,” Dr. Kukor put down his pen in January.
“The assignment was much like the ditch whose length went on and on, because no one told the diggers when to stop,” Dr. Kukor wrote in his final column. “Dr. Dave (Drenan) never set a completion date, so here I am still working on the newsletter.”
When presenting the award, Dr. Johnston concluded: “His column is arguably the most-read section of the OVMA newsletter. No doubt his readers will miss his insightful observations and witty commentary.”
The OVMA Friends of Veterinary Medicine award was presented to Joe Cornely, long-time host of The Ohio Veterinarian. The award recognizes an individual for service to and advancement of Ohio’s veterinary community.
“Joe has helped champion countless issues of importance in the areas of sound animal care, disease prevention, public safety and the unique role veterinary medicine plays in countless small communities across Ohio,” Dr. Johnston said. “In doing so, he has raised awareness of veterinary medicine and made its critical role in agricultural production even more visible.”
For more than two decades, Cornely hosted The Ohio Veterinarian, a weekly program featuring OVMA member veterinarians sharing their expertise on a host of different topics. The program, which aired weekly on the Buckeye Agriculture Radio Network, recently ended its more than 20-year stint on the airwaves, prompting the OVMA to recognize Cornely for his contributions.
“Throughout it all, there was always that one steady friendly and inquisitive voice to guide listeners to a better understanding of how animals and people intersect every day,” Dr. Johnston said in conclusion. “Veterinary medicine truly has a friend in Joe Cornely.”