OVMA Awards of Excellence: 2019 Recipients

At ceremonies held during the 2019 Oregon Veterinary Conference in Corvallis, the OVMA honored the following for their service to the veterinary profession and animals.

2019 Animal Welfare Award


Dr. Brian Reister


East Lane Veterinary Hospital, Leaburg


Nominated by: Dr. Shelly Knopsnyder

The Animal Welfare Award recognizes a veterinarian who has demonstrated outstanding compassion and/or developed programs that have been for the welfare of animals.

Dr. Reister graduated from Kansas State’s veterinary program in 1982, and seven years later founded East Lane Veterinary Hospital in Leaburg, a small community 20 miles east of Springfield along the McKenzie River.

A half million Oregonians, including 194,000 children, go without adequate access to affordable, nutritious food each month. In Lane County, where Dr. Reister practices and where he and his wife, Sadie, reside, approximately 15.4% of all residents fall short of having a sufficient amount of food. Dr. Reister is a noticeable volunteer at Leaburg's monthly food pantry.

For the past seven years, Dr. Reister has provided a wide array of free products and veterinary services to those in need at this monthly event, including nail trims, exams, vaccinations, skin disease treatments, wound treatments, plus flea control and dewormers. For rabies vaccines and more complicated issues, including dentistry and an occasional euthanasia, he schedules the clients after hours and provides free or lower cost treatment.

With the full support of his team, the clinic established an Angel Fund to help more regular clients with unexpected bills. The financial bottom line of the practice—of any clinic—is important. And so is the patient’s bottom line: the animal’s health and well-being.

Dr. Reister also visits with less fortunate men at a nearby mission for the homeless—lending his warmth, an ear, and friendship.

Veterinarians are often kind and compassionate as well as generous: generous with time, with financial assistance to those in need, and with spirit. Dr. Reister is a humble example of all three—for animals and humans alike.

2019 Veterinary Service Award


The PAW Team

Nominated by: OVMA

The Veterinary Service Award recognizes an individual, group or organization that has promoted the veterinary profession and/or the well-being of animals.

For those individuals living on the streets or who are experiencing impoverished conditions, obtaining veterinary care for their animals can be difficult, if not impossible.

The Portland Animal Welfare Team’s vision is resoundingly simple: a community where no animal must suffer due to the owner’s inability to pay for basic veterinary care.

PAW Team’s roots date back to 1999, when a handful of local veterinarians, alarmed by a growing number of pets living on the streets or in homeless camps, banded together, and, with a threadbare budget, started providing limited care to pets all across the Rose City.

Basements. Sidewalks. Vacated stores. Neighborhood parks. Pretty much, any location would suffice for a makeshift clinic, as long as there were dedicated veterinarians, technicians, assistants and other volunteers willing to lend a hand and their expertise.

Four years later, in 2003, PAW Team formalized its outreach to the greater Portland community, and became an established nonprofit organization.

Today, PAW Team is located on NE 82nd Ave and open Tuesdays through Thursdays for qualification interviews and pet supplies. Veterinary visits are offered to qualified clients by appointment only.

While PAW Team is independent from other local or national organizations, it has established a network of social-service agencies that serve a similar population and who refer pet owners to their team. The Oregon Humane Society has also partnered with PAW Team to provide spay and neuters as well as other necessary surgical procedures.

With support from more than 30 veterinarians and additional important and critical volunteers, PAW Team can conduct weekly clinics and offer vaccines, treatment for parasites, medications as well as other supplies such as food, pet beds and toys. The organization can also support about 100 major surgeries a year, including dentals, mass removals, and amputations.

This past year the PAW Team was especially active, putting in roughly 900 volunteer hours to help 1,687 pets and perform 646 spays and neuters. All were considerable increases from 2017 and reflect the commitment and dedication of this special group of individuals who want to make life a little better for the pets and people in their community.

Dr. Lisa Williams, a board member, accepted the Veterinary Service Award on behalf of PAW Team.

2019 Meritorious Service Award


Dr. Leon Pielstick


Nominated by: Dr. Scott Hendy & Dr. MIke Huber


This award recognizes a veterinarian who has generously contributed time and energy for the advancement of the profession and community.

In his quiet, unassuming, committed, and doggedly-persistent manner, Dr. Pielstick has contributed to the advancement of the OVMA, our profession in general, and to his community throughout his 45 years as a veterinarian. Within two years of graduating from Colorado State University’s veterinary program in 1973, Dr. Pielstick and his wife, Susan, opened Harney County Veterinary Clinic in Burns, where he was the liaison with animal control and the county’s animal shelter.

In this Oregon city of approximately 2,700 people, Dr. Pielstick has been duly recognized for his community involvement and service with the following awards: Jaycees Award, Boss of the Year for Harney County, Business Person of the Year (an honor he shared with his wife, Susan) and the First Citizen Award. Dr. Pielstick was an integral part of 4H and active with Kiwanis and the Chamber of Commerce.

He worked closely with the Oregon Department of Fish & Wildlife, where he participated in the Bighorn Sheep Capture and Relocation Project.

With the OVMA, Dr. Pielstick represented veterinarians in the eastern part of our state by serving six years on our Board of Directors. He chaired and participated on numerous ad hoc committees, and he was our liaison with the State Veterinarian and Oregon Cattlemen’s Association in the development of a trichomoniasis testing and control program.

Dr. Pielstick was appointed by then Governor John Kitzhaber to a position with the Oregon Veterinary Medical Examining Board where he served for six years, including a term as chair.

2019 President's Award


Dr. Susan Tornquist


Lois Bates Acheson Dean, Professor of Clinical Pathology, Oregon State University Carlson College of Veterinary Medicine

Presented by: Dr. Amelia Simpson


The President's Award is given at the discretion of the president to an individual who has made an exceptional contribution to the OVMA and veterinary medicine.

Following are Dr. Simpson's remarks upon bestowing this award:

     "One of truest pleasures I have had during my time on the Board of the OVMA has been the interaction with the Carlson College of Veterinary Medicine here at OSU. I was a lecturer at the University of Pennsylvania before I moved to Oregon 12 years ago and I hadn’t realize how much I missed interacting with the students…their energy is palpable and its exciting to be around them. During these last 3 years, I have been afforded the opportunity to be a part of the White Coat Ceremonies for the first year students and even to participate in a couple of ethics lectures for SAVMA. I’ve been so inspired spending time with the veterinary students and I feel the profession is in good hands. But when I reflect on the Why of that feeling—what comes up for me is that the credit goes to Dr. Sue Tornquist, Dean of the Carlson College of Veterinary Medicine.

     Dean Tornquist reports to the OVMA Board as an ex-officio and in that capacity she gives an update on the College at every Board meeting. I’m sure I don’t have to tell you that she is one busy lady!! The College is growing leaps and bounds under her amazing leadership—literally and figuratively.  She is currently in the midst of a multi-million dollar facilities expansion, the caseload at the teaching hospital has grown nearly 10% a year for the last five years, and class enrollment has expanded.

      Dean Tornquist is a seriously accomplished scholar, scientist, professor, and administrator. From the quarterly updates, I see how much effort she is putting in to make certain her students thrive. From doing all she can to fundraise for scholarships to help offset the rising costs of becoming a veterinarian to bringing a wellness counselor for the school, and the list goes on….

     What I’ve seen and why I would like to honor her today with the OVMA President’s Award this year is her uncanny ability to lead and inspire this group of high achievers. When I asked one of the 3rd year students what she thought of Dean Tornquist her reply was an enthusiastic "I adore her!"  And that sums it up in a nutshell. She has a connection with the students, a relationship that, at the risk of being totally corny, is a beautiful thing to see. 

     I am pleased to present the President’s Award to Dr. Sue Tornquist. I wish you continued success and happiness throughout your life and your career and I look forward to our paths crossing in the future."

Past Award Winners

Centennial Award

1963    Dr. Vic Oliver

Honorary Membership

1952    S.L. Brown, Charles Evans, T. Sims
1954    E.L. Peterson
1972    Walter Leth, James Short
1989    Morrie Craig
1993    Nan Dewey
2000    Kelvin Koong

Award of Merit

1961    Dr. Herb Muth
1966    Dr. E. Derflinger, Dr. Ralph Plamondon
1970    Dr. Gary Bryan
1973    Dr. Dallen Jones
1976    Dr. Ed Wedman
1983    Dr. Linda Blythe, Dr. Daryl Leu
1985    Dr. Elwyn Coon, Dr. Norm Hutton, Dr. Charles Seagraves
1989    Dr. Jack Hardesty, Dr. Fay Rankin, Dr. Ron Schmidtke
1991    Dr. Gordon Cunningham, Dr. Richard Hillmer, Dr. DuWayne Penfold
1995    Dr. Andrew Mach, Dr. Ed Wedman, Dr. Robert Whittaker

Meritorious Service

Presented to a veterinarian who has generously contributed time and energy for the advancement of the profession and community.
1996    Dr. Richard Werner
1997    Dr. Billy Kuhl
1998    Dr. Dick Reid
1999    Dr. Roy Peterson
2000    Dr. Richard Coon
2001    Dr. Don Bailey
2002    Dr. Stan Blinkhorn
2003    Dr. Leo van Dijk
2004    Dr. DuWayne Penfold
2005    Dr. Marty DeWees
2006    Dr. Jerry Boggs
2009    Dr. Scott Hendy
2010    Dr. Susan Loomis
2011    Dr. Steve Brown
2013    Dr. Robert Franklin
2014    Dr. Bill Young
2019    Dr. Leon Pielstick

Outstanding Industry Representative

Recognizes an individual who has exhibited outstanding service to the OVMA and the profession.
1996    Terrie Corcoran, Burns Veterinary Supply
1997    Leroy Ostrem, The Butler Company
1998    Rick Casey, Hoechst Roussel Vet
1999    Jim Houts, Summit Medical Equipment
2000    Linda Melton, IDEXX Veterinary Services
2001    Loren Heryford, The Butler Company
2003    Marge Strother, Merial
2004    Bruce Mackey, Hill's Pet Nutrition
2005    John Herkner, Pfizer Animal Health
2011    Vern Mason, Butler Schein Animal Health
2013    Jay Donkers, Pfizer Animal Health (now Zoetis)

President's Award

Given at the discretion of the president to an individual who has made an exceptional contribution to the OVMA.
1996    Dr. Martha DeWees, Dr. Scott Hendy
1997    Dr. Jerry Boggs
1998    Dr. Merry Crimi
1999    Mr. Glenn Kolb
2000    Dr. Doug McInnis
2001    Mr. Dave Barrows
2002    Dr. Kurt Schrader
2003    Dr. Steven Brown
2004    Ms. Marcia Keith
2005    Dr. Gordon Cunningham
2006    Spouses and Partners of Veterinarians
2007    Dr. Rich Holdren
2008    Ms. Marge Strother, Lilly Companion Pet
2009    Dr. Matthew Fricke
2010    Ms. Lara Smith
2011    Dr. Cyril Clarke, OSU CVM Dean
2012    Dr. Donald McCoy & Dr. Larry Anderson
2013    Salem Friends of Felines
2014    Dr. Tom Keck
2015    Dr. Keith Sides
2016    Dr. Brad LeaMaster
2017    Judy Tate CVT
2018    Dr. Emilio DeBess
2019    Dr. Sue Tornquist

Veterinarian of the Year

Awarded to a veterinarian who has made outstanding contributions to the profession through service to local, state and/or national organizations.
1969    Dr. E.R. Derflinger
1996    Dr. DuWayne Penfold
1997    Dr. Doug Corey
1998    Dr. Don McCoy
1999    Dr. Andrew Clark
2000    Dr. Marty DeWees
2001    Dr. Scott Hendy
2002    Dr. Brad Frank
2003    Dr. Heidi Buehner-McKenzie
2004    Dr. Leon Pielstick
2006    Dr. Paul Jones
2007    Dr. Jon Betts
2011    Dr. Gregg Takashima

Animal Welfare Award

Recognizes a veterinarian who has demonstrated outstanding compassion and/or developed programs that have been for the welfare of animals.
1998    Dr. Doug Evans
1999    Dr. Laird Goodman
2000    Dr. Bob Franklin
2002    Dr. Brad Pope
2004    Dr. Ken Fletcher
2009    Dr. Doug McInnis
2010    Dr. Doug Evans
2011    Dr. Scott Hansen
2012    Dr. Barbara Kahl
2015    Dr. Deborah LaPaugh
2018    Dr. Tom Holechek
2019    Dr. Brian Reister

Veterinary Service Award

Recognizes an individual, group or organization that has promoted the veterinary profession and/or the well being of animals. Emphasis for this award is placed on educating the public, research, or the practice of veterinary medicine.
1998    Kim Singer, KPTV-12
1999    Feral Cat Coalition
2000    Deborah Wood, The Oregonian
2001    Dr. Barclay Slocum
2002    The Halo Group
2003    Evan Kalik, Cat Adoption Team
2005    Dr. Howard Wagner
2006    Oregon Humane Society
2008    Dr. Matthew Maberry
2009    Dr. Jerry Boggs
2010    Larry Chusid, The Pongo Fund
2011    Dr. Bill McCulloch, Delta Society co-founder
2012    Susan Faria, Senior Dog Rescue of Oregon
2013    Britta Bavaresco, ASAP
2014    Monique Balas, The Oregonian
2015    Fences for Fido
2016    Dr. Debbie Cochell
2017    Dr. Ben Braat
2018    Sound Equine Options
2019    The PAW Team

Practice/Office Manager of the Year

Recognizes the role of the practice/office manager in clinical practice and salutes an individual who has exhibited exceptional professionalism in leading the practice.
2006    Linda Parisotto
2007    Lee Barg
2008    Debee Brown
2011    Jessie Merritt CVPM
2012    Diane Fowler CVT
2014    Gina Schluckebier
2015    Brandy Kagerer
2016    Brenda Bailey
2017    Dena Coyner
2018    Beth James (Fandrey)

Technician/Staff of the Year

Recognizes a veterinary technicians and/or veterinary staff in clinical practice who has risen above and beyond the expected responsibilities of the practice to provide outstanding client and patient service, with community service also considered.   
2006    Leah Kennon CVT
2007    Gillian Cook CVT
2008    Kathy Charpilloz
2010    Kimberly McKay 
2011    Carey Blake CVT
2012    Juan Lopez AHT
2013    Dolores Galindo CVT

Updated: 2019-03-06 08:00:00

Author: Oregon Veterinary Medical Association