Special Awards and Tributes

The annual Local Health Care Hero Award recognizes the extraordinary work of those who go above and beyond in their service to our communities.

The awards are awarded to individuals or groups of individuals who:

  • Are dedicated and committed to supporting, promoting and raising awareness of the unique health care needs of the communities served;
  • Embrace similarities, celebrate differences and consider fellow community members with an open mind and a willingness to assist with caring and compassion; and
  • Contribute to furthering the health care needs of the community in which the AGM is being held.

The award is granted to individuals or groups which could include members of the Lakeridge Health Board of Trustees, Foundation Boards, Community Advisory Panel members, volunteers, staff and physicians.

2022/2023 Recipient: Lakeridge Health Whitby Hospital Volunteer Services

Lakeridge Health Whitby Hospital Volunteer Services was celebrated as the recipient of the 2022/2023 Local Health Care Hero Award. On July 28, 2022, the group celebrated 50 years of dedication and service to the Whitby Hospital. They made their last donation of more than $54,000 to the Lakeridge Health Foundation in July 2022, which helped to fund a mobile portable X-ray unit at the Whitby Hospital.

Over the last 50 years, Whitby Hospital Volunteer Services has donated more than $700,000. Lakeridge Health has been incredibly fortunate to have this tremendous team of volunteers who have made a significant difference in patients’ lives. Their steadfast support of the Whitby Hospital is a shining example of their devotion to patient care and a person-centred experience. The dedication, compassion and commitment of each member of the Whitby Hospital Volunteer Services will always be remembered.

2021/2022 Recipient: Dr. Dan Ricciuto

Dr. Dan Ricciuto


Lakeridge Health Chief and Medical Director, Quality and Patient Experience, and Medical Director, Infection Prevention and Control, Dr. Dan Ricciuto, was celebrated as the recipient of Lakeridge Health’s 2021/2022 Local Health Care Hero Award.

Dr. Ricciuto has been a champion for vulnerable populations throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. He has advocated for effective infection, prevention, and control practices, and for Durham Region community members to receive vaccinations in a timely and accessible way. Dr. Ricciuto also has worked tirelessly to review data and best practices to ensure everyone is protected and receives the best care options. His actions have saved countless lives in Durham Region and have protected staff and physicians during an ever-changing situation.

2020/2021 Recipient: Lakeridge Health Team

At the 2020/21 Annual General Meeting (AGM), the Board of Trustees announced that the 2020/21 Local Health Care Hero Award is awarded to Lakeridge Health staff and physicians. The Board recognized the Lakeridge Health Team for consistently delivering the highest quality and safest care to patients with courage, compassion, and kindness during the pandemic over the past year. We are so proud of everyone’s exceptional contributions and are thrilled that the Board has recognized the Team’s efforts with this award. 

2019/2020 Recipient: Chris Kooy  

Chris KooyAlso at the 2020/21 AGM, the Board of Trustees announced that Chris Kooy is the recipient of the 2019/20 Local Health Care Hero Award. (Awards were not given out at last year’s AGM, due to the pandemic). As a lifelong resident of Bowmanville, Chris has dedicated over 35 years to support the health care needs of the Clarington community. As the current Board Chair for the Bowmanville Hospital Foundation, she has made significant contributions to support the expansion of the much-anticipated Bowmanville Hospital. We are so grateful for Chris’s ongoing commitment and dedication to her community. 



 2018/2019 Recipient: Kent Farndale

Kent Farndale

Kent has been a prominent figure in Port Perry and the broader North Durham community over the past five decades, recognized for her extensive involvement in community development and philanthropy in the areas of education, health care and the arts, including the restoration of the Town Hall 1873 Centre for the Performing Arts in Port Perry.

For several decades, Kent has been an active volunteer and advocate for the Port Perry Hospital, joining the Board of Trustees in 1988-1989 and then becoming Board Chair in 1992. As a member of the Port Perry Hospital Expansion Committee, she was instrumental in raising funds to develop the Steven B. Roman wing.

A member and past President of the Port Perry Hospital Foundation, Kent played a leadership role in the highly successful ‘Lighting the Way’ campaign to support a new endoscopy unit.

Her co-authorship of the 1994 book, ‘Stitches in Time’, chronicling the history of hospitals in Scugog Township, is a testament to Kent’s dedication to the community. Kent is also a long-serving member of the North Durham Advisory Panel for Lakeridge Health.

2017/2018 Recipient: Dr. Romas Stas

We are pleased to present our first Local Health Care Hero award to Dr. Romas Stas.

Dr. Romas Stas

Dr. Stas is a distinguished and long-serving physician at Ajax Pickering Hospital and is an active advocate for health care within the Ajax and Pickering communities. He has been caring for patients in the community through his family practice and through his work at Ajax Pickering Hospital for decades.

He recently celebrated his 46th year of practice at the hospital.

Dr. Stas has held many significant roles during his distinguished career. He has served in numerous leadership roles including Associate Chief of Staff at Ajax Pickering Hospital and more recently serving on the North Pickering Health and Wellness Centre Advisory Committee.

He is very well known within this community and has been a long-time champion of keeping health care close to home for people living and working in Ajax and Pickering communities.

“I am honoured and thankful to receive this award,” said Dr. Romas Stas. “We have a golden opportunity to develop an integrated health care system across all of Durham that will be the envy of the province and perhaps the world, where all hospitals in Lakeridge Health will have an integral role to play – where every resident will be able to receive all their health services right here in their own community."