When Promotor(a) Linda Medrano checked her email, she saw something she didn’t expect; she learned she had won the Tenth Annual Esther M. Holderby Dedicated CHW Award.
“I felt excited and surprised,” she said, “because I knew that a lot of people had been nominated, and I was surprised because they chose me. It made my day, hearing that great news.”
Despite the stiff competition, it’s not too surprising Linda won the award that honors a mid-career Promotor(a) who promotes health in their community. The award commemorates the health advocacy of Esther M. Holderby, a four-time cancer survivor and dedicated CHW, who passed away in 2005.
Like all Promotores(as), Linda wears many hats, and she has worked in several roles on different MHP Salud Promotor(a) programs in Texas’ Rio Grande Valley. She served on the Colonia Program, where she performed community outreach and helped families complete applications for assistance, and she also worked on the Un Nuevo Manaña program that provides community support on sexual assault issues. On her current program, Salud y Vida, Linda has served as a Diabetes self-management class educator, as well as a home visit specialist. In both roles, she sees her purpose as helping families try to make better choices to control their diabetes. Additionally, Linda is an active member of the South Texas Promotora Association.
Though she’s had a variety of roles, workplaces and responsibilities over the years, Linda says she sees all the work as united under one central task.
“I’m helping the community, and of course that’s my main goal,” she said. “When we visit a person at their home, we get their trust, and I like doing everything I can do to help them.”
This community-focused attitude has earned her respect from clients, supervisors and the award-committee alike. Her supervisor on Salud y Vida, Elva Peña, says Linda’s strong work ethic is a result of her drive to serve her community.
“You can tell she’s a true CHW when she’s doing home visits. She does it because she loves the community, and she’s a great representative of the community she serves,” said Elva. “I think that’s why she is able to succeed at her job—because she really cares about what she does.”
Elva and Linda went to the 2015 Unity Conference in Memphis, TN where the two gave a presentation on their program, and Linda received the award.
Lisa Renee Holderby-Fox, Esther’s daughter, presents the award each year, whose recipient is selected by her family. She says she was proud to give Linda the honor.
“I was thrilled that someone from MHP Salud was selected,” said Lisa Renee. “One of the qualifications that the committee seeks was not only their dedication to the work, but also participation in their local Promotor(a) association. It’s not just about how hard CHWs work, because everyone works really hard, but it’s also about how engaged you are and how much you are giving back to the field. Linda has that in addition to all the other great things she brings.”
When the time came to receive her award, Linda said she was a bit nervous about speaking in front of the crowd.
“But when I stood up to receive the award, my speech just came out fluently, and I didn’t have any trouble with it,” she said. “I thanked the committee for selecting me, and I thanked MHP Salud for giving me the opportunity to help the community through a job that I love.”
You can see a clip of Linda accepting the award from Lisa Renee Holderby-Fox, Esther Holderby’s daughter, below.