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OVMA Awards of Excellence

OVMA Awards of Excellence

At ceremonies held during the 2024 Oregon Veterinary Conference, the OVMA honored three individuals and one larger group of veterinarians for their service to the veterinary profession and animals. The Awards of Excellence are given annually to deserving people and organizations.

2024 Meritorious Service Award

Dr. Tom KeckDr. Tom Keck

Dallas Animal Clinic

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

Dr. Tom Keck was a mixed animal practitioner for 42 years and owner of Dallas Animal Clinic. In addition to treating a wide variety of animals, Dr. Keck served as a district director of the OVMA, as well as President of the Association in 2005.  

As committed as he was to the care and treatment of his patients, Dr. Keck was equally passionate about advocacy, recognizing early on in his career that it was important for the veterinary profession to have a voice before the Oregon legislature. Dr. Keck served as a legislative ambassador for the association during much of his professional career. If he wasn’t speaking during a legislative committee hearing, he was reviewing bills of interest and/or concern, assessing how they might impact the profession or the health and well-being of animal patients and suggesting how best to approach the various legislation.

Dr. Keck also served on the board of the Marion-Polk Veterinary Association and served eight years on Oregon Veterinary Medical Examining Board, including one year as Chair of the Board.

2024 Veterinary Service Award

Helen Beaman LCSWHelen Beaman LCSW

This award recognizes an individual, group or organization that has promoted the veterinary profession and/or the well-being of animals, with emphasis on educating the public, research, or the practice of veterinary medicine.

Helen Beaman is a licensed clinical social worker specializing in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. Aware that the veterinary profession is more at risk for anxiety, depression, burnout, and suicide than the general population, Dr. Charles Hurty, then owner of Grove Veterinary Clinic, asked Ms. Beaman to support his clinic staff. Ms. Beaman developed a veterinary specific series of training modules on managing anxiety, depression, stress, and burnout; cognitive behavioral therapy techniques, such as breathing strategies, meditation, and visualization; how to handle difficult thoughts and feelings; and why establishing boundaries is vital to maintaining mental health. 

Ms. Beaman continues to work with the team at Grove Veterinary Clinic and has helped other veterinary practices with their needs in mental health grounding. She also has discussed the importance of mental health and well-being in the veterinary profession on AAHA and AVMA podcasts and shared a mental health and well-being toolbox to help build resiliency among veterinary teams.

2024 President's Award

Dr. Michael Huber & Clinical Practice VeterinariansDr. Michael Huber

Dr. Huber is a Professor of Large Animal Surgery at the Oregon State University Carlson College of Veterinary Medicine.

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

Outgoing OVMA president Dr. Jill Parker presented this award and following are her remarks:

One of the great things about the veterinary profession is all of the possible professional roles we can choose, and veterinarians in all those roles do important and meaningful work and deserve recognition. 

That said, we know that the vast majority of graduates enter clinical practice, and that is the group I would like to acknowledge with the President’s Award: Clinical Practice Veterinarians, particularly those who worked and adapted through COVID-19, an unprecedented world event. 

I want to recognize this group because clinical practice veterinarians and their teams have been through quite a lot in the last 4 years. I think that’s an understatement. 

They dealt with much of the state being shut down, while veterinary medicine fortunately was declared an essential service. However, veterinarians were initially limited to seeing only emergency cases and required clients to remain outside while animals were brought in the hospital for evaluation and treatment, which led to some concerned and/or upset clients. 

Once routine cases could again be seen, there were more people wanting/needing appointments than clinics could handle, leading to some clients feeling desperate and frustrated with veterinarians. Staffing shortages made that situation worse. Masking and social distancing became routine, but not uniformly accepted. A new era of remote communication was born when everyone learned to use zoom. 

Everyone was more isolated by the shutdown, but clinicians were working harder than ever under challenging circumstances. But I believe clinicians handled these and other challenges of the past 4 years with tremendous professionalism and compassion. 

It’s because of the adaptability, persistence, resilience, and dedication of veterinary clinicians and their teams in the face of substantial challenges that veterinarians continue to be so respected and valued by animal owners. Veterinarians in every role help form that view, but I believe that veterinarians in clinical practice are the face of the profession, if not the heart and soul. 

It seems that this year, things have started to get back to normal to a great extent, although it is a new normal. And so I want to use this President’s award to be sure Veterinarians in Clinical Practice receive the acknowledgement they deserve for what they do and particularly what they have done during the pandemic. That should not go unrecognized, and hopefully you realize how meaningful and important your work is. I’m sorry I don’t have a plaque or statue to hand each of you!

In addition to Clinical Practice Veterinarians, I want to also give the President’s Award to Dr. Michael Huber, and he’ll be the one to take home the statue!

For those of you who don’t know him, Dr. Huber has worked at the College of Veterinary Medicine for the last 37 years. He is a board-certified surgeon, a professor in the Department of Clinical Sciences, and he is a clinician in the Veterinary Teaching Hospital. I know that many of you here today know him, because he has taught surgery to 37 classes of veterinary students. And while working in the Veterinary Teaching Hospital, he has been available for referrals by veterinarians throughout the state and consultation with veterinarians in Oregon and beyond. 

He is also currently an OVMA District Director, he has served on the Oregon Racing Commission, and he has been the Director of the Large Animal Veterinary Teaching Hospital, among other roles. He was selected by one class of veterinary students to be their graduation speaker, he won a prestigious teaching award, he served as major professor or committee member for graduate students, and he trained many surgery residents and clinical fellows.

Having listed all that, he is also a veterinarian in clinical practice, albeit an academic referral practice, and he is in my opinion what a clinician should strive to be. 
He treats everyone with consideration and respect, treating students as colleagues, for example, as soon as they start veterinary school. He is accessible to his clients as well as referring veterinarians, and he cares about the outcome of all his cases. He cares that clients are satisfied with the care their animals received and if they have concerns for any reason, he talks with them to sort it out. 

In addition to “gold standard” care, he has been applying the concept now called “spectrum of care” well before it a was a technical term, meaning he provides the best possible care that clients can afford for their animals, working within their limits, and he has tried to teach that to students as well. 

I worked with him for 30 years, so these comments are based on my experience working with him. During that time, I’ve referred to him as a boy scout on several occasions, as a compliment, because of the sincerity, kindness, and commitment to quality care that he applies consistently. He has been a role model for many successful practitioners both with his surgical knowledge and skill, but also how he approaches his work and his enjoyment of the profession despite its challenges. 

Photo Album

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
2024    Dr. Tom Keck

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)
2022    Keri Weppler, Zoetis
2023    Dr. Bobby Cowles, 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
2020    OSU CCVM Students
2021    Jenny Wood | Raina Dey (OVMA staff)
2022    Dr. Connie White
2023    Dr. Kate Schoenhals
2024    Dr. Michael Huber & Clinical Practice Veterinarians

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
2020    Dr. Sarah Bonner

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
2020    Dr. Kirk Miller

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
2020    Dr. Gregg Takashima
2022    Dr. Steve Kochis
2024    Helen Beaman LCSW

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)
2020    Traci Medeiros CVT

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
2020    Lisa Caton CVT

Updated: March 6, 2024