Berlin - Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Vermont (BCBSVT) held its annual Employee Recognition event in January to honor individuals for outstanding service to their workplace, fellow employees and home communities. Don George, president and CEO of BCBSVT, announced the honorees for 2018 at a gathering of BCBSVT’s employees at the Berlin headquarters. Citizen of the Year - Among our four Corporate Core Values is a corporate commitment to "Integrity, Public Responsibility and Citizenship." The BCBSVT Citizen of the Year Award was created to recognize an employee who has made an outstanding personal commitment to this Core Value through contributions of time and energy to worthy organizations in our community. 2018 Recipient: Richard Beach, IT Security. Richard began his affiliation with the Civil Air Patrol when he was still in high school. He recently attained the rank of Squadron Commander and has selflessly given many hours of his time over the years by volunteering each week with his local squadron in central Vermont. Richard loves mentoring young adults through the Civil Air Patrol Cadet program. He teaches the fields of aerospace aviation and cyber security, and helps the cadets prepare to be future leaders. His commitment to mentoring these young adults led to his squadron receiving the Quality Cadet Award from the Civil Air Patrol national headquarters. Carol L. Goodrich Distinguished Employee of the Year - The Carol L. Goodrich Distinguished Employee of the Year Award (and the first and second runners up) are chosen annually from the 12 winners of the Distinguished Employee of the Month honors. Carol Goodrich, our very first distinguished employee of the year when we began the recognition program in 1992, was one of those rare people whom everyone cared for and respected. Her spirit, hard work and dedication to excellence endeared her to her coworkers. Carol passed away unexpectedly in 1993, and BCBSVT honors her memory through the Distinguished Employee of the Year Award recognizing employee commitment, dedication and extraordinary effort. 2018 Winner: Melanie Slocum, enrollment services. Melanie was the driving force behind many corporate and department process improvement initiatives. She encourages and models professional and personal development, earning her college degree through BCBSVT’s participation in College for America and completing BCBSVT’s Ladders of Excellence program. She creatively promotes staff unity and dedication, sending gifts and inspirational messages to her colleagues to highlight the connection between their daily work and BCBSVT members. One colleague said of Mel, “She is such an empowering supervisor. She is always encouraging me to challenge myself and try to learn outside of my comfort zone.” First Runner-up: Tracy Gallo, marketing. Tracy’s exceptional energy and tremendous work ethic earned her accolades. Tracy is always willing to support her coworkers both personally and professionally, taking the lead in arranging social outings to build and sustain team cohesion. She has a love for learning and organizational development, providing professional development opportunities for BCBSVT groups. She was central in the creation of the Accountable Blue plan, which helps businesses create personalized wellness programs and provide incentive for employees to engage in healthy behaviors. Tracy also helps promote wellness in the state and has a very active role on the Vermont Governor’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports. Second Runner-up: Alan Cunningham, human resources. Alan’s work in support of corporate culture and employees was noted. Since assuming the responsibility of BCBSVT’s Employee Wellness Committee, the group has expanded its impact enormously. Through his supportive and respectful leadership, committee members have found the room to grow and experiment, which in turn has made them more effective. Alan’s work in planning the last four Employee Appreciation Days has made those events memorable and successful. Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Vermont (BCBSVT) is the only health and wellness company based in Vermont. As a nonprofit organization and the state’s oldest and largest health insurer, BCBSVT provides coverage for thousands of Vermonters through group and individual health plans. More information is available at www.bcbsvt.com. Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Vermont is an independent corporation operating under a license with the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association, an association of independent Blue Cross and Blue Shield Plans.