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Awards Program

William Van Essen Award Nominees & Recipients



Dr. William J. Van Essen

The name of Van Essen is symbolic with the profession of optometry at its finest. Dr. William J. Van Essen was a pioneer in the field. He epitomized the highest level of private and public service as an optometrist.

Dr. Van Essen, who practiced optometry in Pittsburg for 55 years, was a leader in both the state and national optometric associations. He was president of the Pennsylvania Optometric Association from 1920-1923, and was given honorary life memberships in both state and national organizations. He served as parliamentarian of the Pennsylvania Optometric Association and American Optometric Association, and was a candidate for the United States Senate for the Socialist Party.

Optometrists in Pennsylvania always will be indebted to Dr. Van Essen for his efforts that led to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court's decision declaring optometry an independent profession.

Dr. Van Essen loved his profession, and optometry has responded in kind. The Pennsylvania Optometric Association considers it an honor and privilege to name its highest service award after a man who gave so much to his profession.

 

The William Van Essen Award

Annually, societies may select a lay group and/or individual to receive their society's William Van Essen Award, and submit the name(s) to the POA for the annual state Van Essen Award. This award is instituted in memory of Dr. William Van Essen, who was instrumental in the licensing of the profession of optometry in Pennsylvania.

 

Recipients of the William Van Essen Award

Year Nominees
* Denotes State Recipient
Local Society
2017 Mark Levengood
Visor Visual
*VisionCorps
Inger Muhlenkamp
BCOS
CPOS
LCOS
WPOS
2016 Brad Hart
Danielle Crull
*Senator Mike Folmer
Rebecca Schoonover, O.D.
BCOS
CPOS
LCOS
NEPOS
2015 *Dan Lubas
John Puth
Jennifer Zack, M.S.
Eynon-Archbald Lions Club
Christy Wilson & Susan Klacik, Mission Vision
BCOS
BMOS
CPOS
NEPOS
WPOS
2014 *Mary Rodgers
Suzanne Pohland Paterno
Jack Heminger
BMOS
MCOS
SWOS 
2013 *Lori Schermerhorn
ForSight Vision Center
Suzanne Pohland Paterno
Irene Masco
Representative Harry Readshaw
BCOS
CPOS
MCOS
NEPOS
WPOS
2012 *Senator John Gordner
Larry Hauler
Suzanne Pohland Paterno
Senator Don White
PA Lions Club Leader Dogs for the Blind
AOS, CPOS & NEPOS
BMOS
MCOS
SWOS
WPOS
2011 Pennsylvania Early Intervention
*Josie Smith
Pamela A. Savitski,  PA State Lions of District 14-H 
Hugs United
WTAE
CPOS
MCOS
NEPOS
SWOS
WPOS
2010 Hon. Scott A. Petri
*Pennsylvania Lions Beacon Lodge Camp
The Miracle League of Southwestern PA
BMOS
CPOS
WPOS
2008 Lea Bramnik, Macular Vision Research Foundation
*Saint Aloysius' Confirmation Class of 2007
BMOS
NEPOS
2007 George Kirkwood
*Capital Area Intermediate Unit
Ted Reap
Henry Bishop, PA School for the Deaf
Center for Diabetes Care, Indiana County Regional Medical Center
BMOS
CPOS
NEPOS
PCOS
SWOS
2006 *PA Association of School Nurses
and Practitioners (PASNAP)
Maryrose Keeley/Bureau of Blindness
and Visual Services
Honorable Anthony DeLuca
CPOS

SWOS

WPOS
2005 The Northeast Pennsylvania Lions Eye Bank
Community Volunteers in Medicine
Edward T. Reap
*Fred Marz
Cambria County Local Interagency
Coordinating Council
Easter Seals of Western PA/Preschool
Vision Screening Program
CPOS
CDOS
NEOS
PCOS
SWOS

WPOS
2004 *Jon Dale
Doug Yingling, Montgomery County
Association for the Blind
York County Blind Center
*Jon Dale
Senator Allyson Y. Schwartz
Somerset Lions Club
Senator Sean Logan
BCOS (Also CDOS)
BMOS (no paperwork provided)
CPOS
CDOS (also BCOS)
PCOS
SWOS
WPOS
2003 *Senator Jeffrey Piccola
*Senator Jeffrey Piccola
Delaware County School Nurse Assn.
Paul Vallas, CEO Philadelphia Schools
BMOS
CPOS
CDOS
PCOS
2002 Chester County School Nurses
Senator Christine Tartaglione
Special Olympics Opening Eyes
(no recipient)
CDOS
PCOS
WPOS
2001 K-Optical/Donald Kirman
*Moore Eye Foundation
Sen. Vincent Fumo
Indiana Lions Club
Special Olympics of Allegheny Co.
CPOS
CDOS
PCOS
SWOS
WPOS
2000 *Prevention of Blindness Program of the
DELCO Sight Center

Daniel Miller
PA Geriatric Education Center, Susan Keller
Joseph Coyne, Greater Wilkes Barre
Association for the Blind/Gift of Sight
North Central Sight Services
Johnstown Lions Club
CDOS

LCOS
MCOS
NEOS

NOS
SWOS
1999 Sister Cities Program
*Tri-County Branch,
PA Assn. for the Blind

Lionville Lions Club
BCOS
CPOS

CDOS
1998 Lions Club of District 14-T
John Mattiacci, DPM
*Radio Information Service
CPOS
PCOS
WPOS
1997 Lawrence Hauler
Lions Club of District 14-C
Elsa Fisher, RN
*Rep. John Perzel
West End Lions Club
Betty Jean King
BMOS
CPOS
CDOS
PCOS
SWOS
WPOS
1996 Doylestown Lions Club
Betty DeLong, RN
Homebound Rehabilitation Program
Of the DELCO Blind/Sight Center
*John P. Morris
Sen. William J. Stewart
Pittsburgh Blind Association
BMOS
CPOS
CDOS
PCOS
SWOS
WPOS
1995 Herhsey Foods Corporation
*Anita Cavuto
Ruth Hauler
Operation Touch
Lions Club or Western PA
CPOS
CDOS
PCOS
SWOS
WPOS
1994 Tri-County Association for the Blind
Springfield Lions Club
Zoe Bellamy
*Father Francis Cartin
Mansfield Lions Club
Christian J. Wurst
Lorain-Moxham Lions Club
AARP-55 Alive, Art Neely
CPOS
CDOS
MCOS
NEOS
NOS
PCOS
SWOS
WPOS
1993 Hazel Bluestein, MD
Leonard Ginsburg, MD, CDE
*Margaret R. Taddy
Pearl Conrad Hauler
New Florence Lions Club
School Nurses Assn. of Western PA
BMOS
CDOS
MCOS
PCOS
SWOS
WPOS
1992 Chester County Association for the Blind
*Lawrence A. Hauler
Indiana County Blind Association
CDOS
PCOS
SWOS
1991 Pennsylvania Lions Sight Conservation
And Eye Research Foundation, Inc
Lebanon Lions Club
William L. DeAngelis
Greater Philadelphia
Cambria County Assn. for the Blind
And Handicapped
*The Honorable Michael R. Veon
BMOS

CPOS
CDOS
PCOS
SWOS

WPOS
1990 *Salvation Army CPOS
1989 Gloria Steinruck, RN
*Joseph L. Wroblewski Past President, International Assn. of Lions Clubs
Operation Touch, Johnstown
CPOS
NEOS

SWOS
1988 Dorris McCoy, Activist Specialist
Berks County Assn. for the Blind
Senator John Shumaker
*Ronald V. Petrilla, Executive Director
Hazelton PA Assn. for the Blind
Joseph T. Brennan, Jr., EdD
BCOS

CPOS
NEOS

WPOS
1987 Genevieve D. Coale, PhD
(Lecturer of Nurses Seminar)
*Herschel W. Leibowitz, PhD
Central Cambria Lions Club
Ellen M. Flatley, Executive Director
Medical Eye Bank of Western PA
CDOS

MCOS
SWOS
WPOS
1986 Lewis L. Crippen
Executive Director of the Daupin County Area Agency on Aging
*Doris A. Wagner
PA Assocation of Women Highway Safety League
Charles E. Hollabuagh
Chairman, Lions District 14F (Tornado Fund)
Buhl Science Center
Pittsburgh, PA
CPOS

BCOS

NWOS

WPOS
1985 William Kistler Klingaman, Sr.
Honorable Jeffrey E. Piccola
*Rana McMurray Arnold
Honorable George F. Pott, Jr.
AOS
CPOS
MCOS
WPOS
1984 Patrick Greene
Director of Community Services
AFL-CIO, Pennsylvania
Janet DeAngelis, Director
Prevention of Blindness Department
PA Association for the Blind
Joseph Perry
*PA Lions Sight Conservation & Eye Research Foundation
CPOS


CDOS


MCOS
WPOS
1983 Berks County Association for the Blind
Stanley Miller, Director
Bureau of Professional & Occupational Affairs
Herbert Hazan, Director
School Health Services
School District of Philadelphia
*Dr. L. Leon Reid, Director
Greater Pittsburgh Guild for the Blind
BCOS
CPOS

PCOS


WPOS
1982 *Leonard Abramson BMOS
1981 Beverly Smith WPOS
(information on state winner or additional local society nominees not recorded this year)
1980 *Richard L. Guerrein
Thomas J. Foerster
PCOS
WPOS
1979 *Dr. Jacob Nevyas
Frances W. Cohen
PCOS
WPOS
1978 Mr. W. Harold Bleakley
*Dr. Joseph T. Brennan
PCOS
WPOS
1977 Carl Shoemaker
Tinnina C. Ross
*Hon. Nochem S. Winnet
MCOS
NEOS
PCOS
1976 Jerome M. Charen, Esq.
*Stanley Gawel
Morton H. Bregman
PCOS
SWOS
WPOS
1975 Mrs. Raphael J. Murphy
*William S. Banko
Mrs. Helen Jenkins
Onofrey Rybachek, O.D.
Senator Eugene Scanlon
AOS
LVOS
NEOS
PCOS
WPOS
1974 *Charlotte Weisberger
Samuel M. Lehrer, Esq.
Channel 4 - Lynn Hinds, Cathy Hilton, Al McDowell
NEOS
PCOS
WPOS
1973 *Mrs. Catherine Bauer NOS
1972 *Ralph Beistline
Lions District 14
CPOS
WPOS
1971 *Elinor Long
Frank M. Labaw
CPOS
NEOS
1970 none
1969 Ed Romance
Judge Warren K. Hess
*Frederick C. Lindberg
Arthur L. Koven, MD
AOS
BCOS
CPOS
NEOS
1968 *Gus Yatron
Gene Fulmer
George T. Walters
BCOS
MCOS
NEOS
1967 George Edkins
Pottsville Jaycees
George M. Rhodes
Hannah Geisel
Monroe J. Nute
*Harold Ivell
AOS
AOS
BCOS
CPOS
CDOS
WPOS
1966 *James S. Jordan, M.D.
Mrs. Helen Fox Willett
Thomas J. Foerster
*Gerald A. Yoakam, Council
NEOS
SWOS
WPOS
WPOS