MEXICO – Six Oxford County businesses received Gold Awards at the annual Work Healthy! ceremony sponsored by the River Valley Healthy Communities Coalition.

More than 25 local businesses and organizations were represented at the ceremony held at Oxford Federal Credit Union. The winners were announced in March and were given the awards Thursday.

Carol Emery, grant manager for Healthy Maine Partnership and a member of the coalition, said Work Healthy! recognizes businesses and organizations in Oxford County that have placed a high priority on promoting good health for their employees.

“When we first started this program, nobody wanted to talk to me,” Emery joked. “I used to have people running from me when I asked about being healthy in the workplace.” However, over the past few years, “it feels like there’s been this shift.”

“People are starting to say, ‘Maybe we should focus on eating healthier and living a healthy lifestyle,’” she said. “I’m not asking people to give up every doughnut or every piece of junk food that they eat. As far as I’m concerned, if you can eat 80 percent good and 20 percent not as good, you’re doing OK.”

Catherine Johnson, executive director of Hope Association, said her favorite part of the annual Work Healthy! ceremony is “hearing all of the different things that people are doing to make their workplace healthier.”

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Upon receiving the Gold Award, Johnson said the association made several changes, including instituting a breast-feeding policy for employees, creating a policy that reimburses employees half of what they spend at 5k runs or walks for charity, and making their buildings smoke-free.

Others earning Gold Awards include: Maine Department of Transportation Region 3, Northeast Bank, Norway Savings Bank, Rumford Hospital and Sunday River Ski Resort in Newry.

Silver Award winners include: Bangor Savings Bank, Davis Florist Inc., Glover’s Service Station, Greater Rumford Community Center, I’L B Fit, Ink Plaza, Irving Forest Products, Kreckel Law, Lennox Capital Management, Marden’s, Med-Care Ambulance, Oxford Federal Credit Union, Praise Assembly of God, Region 9 School of Applied Technology, Safe Voices, River Valley Healthy Communities, Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Services, Stephen Garbarini LLC and Sun Journal/Rumford Falls Times.

Bronze Award winners include: Advantage Insurance, Carlisle’s Apparel & Footwear, Giroux Embroidery, Northeast Precision Inc., River Valley Chiropractic, Stanley’s Furniture and State Farm Insurance.

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