MONDAY, APRIL 29, 2019
Public Health Specialist Kristen Geary was recently doubly honored by the Missouri Environmental Health Association.
Geary was presented with both the Environmental Public Health Specialist of the Year and the President’s Award during the MEHA Annual Education Conference April 5, in Springfield.
According to Environmental Health Administrator Deb Sees, this is the first time anyone from Jackson County has received the President’s Award and only the second time for the specialist of the year award.
“There have been others who received the Rookie of the Year and I got a special recognition in 2011, but this is the biggest award anyone has received,” she said.
In a letter nominating Geary, Environmental Sanitarian Amanda Burch wrote, “Kristen performs all of the normal routine inspections, including food establishments, lodging establishments, farmers’ markets, and aquatic venues. She is always willing to perform after hours inspections of the many temporary events that occur in our jurisdiction, as well as the emergency call outs we receive. Kristen also frequently offers any assistance to her supervisor and fellow inspectors when we are in need, whether it be help with inspections, taking on additional responsibilities, or just lending a kind ear on our rough days. She has assisted in the training of new inspectors, explaining as much as possible to prepare them to perform the task themselves.”
“Kristen has proven herself as a wonderful educator. She has become the lead food handler trainer for Jackson County. She is very passionate about what she is teaching, and it shows,” Burch said.
“One of my favorite things is teaching and explaining why. I just feel like if they understand why, then they are more likely to follow through rather than skip and cut corners. I love it when you feel like you’ve gotten somewhere with somebody,” Geary said.
Over the past year Geary has taken on the duties as webmaster for the organization’s website. In presenting the President’s Award, MEHA President Brian Keller said, “Since becoming the webmaster, Kristen has invested herself into the Missouri Environmental Health Association. Not only has she worked hard to ensure our website is professional and up-to-date, but she has been very innovative as the webmaster.”
Sees who was recently selected as the new MEHA president said, “It’s an awesome thing for the county. We’re so proud of her. She is doing an awesome job.”
Geary is humbled by the awards. “It is really, really nice, but I feel like there are a lot of people out there doing a lot of good things and there are a lot of deserving people. It always feels good when somebody looks at you and says you are doing a good job,” she said.
Geary has been with Jackson County nearly six years. She started as a permit technician with Public Works and switched to Environmental Health when the opportunity presented itself four years ago.