Fountain, CO – At its Dec. 13 regular meeting, Fountain City Council recognized El Paso County Public Health Director Susan Wheelan with the first Spirit of Fountain award. This new award was developed to recognize individuals who have made an outstanding contribution to serve the community and who epitomize the “Spirit of Fountain".
As the first recipient of the award, Wheelan was recognized for her efforts over the past several years to improve the overall health and livelihoods of the residents in the Fountain Valley through expanding access to services for all residents—including military families—in Fountain. El Paso County Public Health (EPCPH) serves all towns and municipalities within El Paso County, and Wheelan was commended for her commitment, integrity, and leadership to serve the Fountain Valley community.
“Susan Wheelan is receiving this award for her leadership and partnership on regional efforts to address health concerns like COVID-19, development of a county facility to provide services to Fountain, creation of an emergency operations location in Fountain, and for being an advocate for mental health issues. Susan’s collaboration with the City of Fountain has improved the health of all our citizens,” said City of Fountain Mayor Sharon Thompson.
Wheelan has been a strong advocate for connecting people to mental health resources and has actively worked with community partners to make progress on critical health issues such as youth suicide and youth substance use prevention. Noting the increased access to services in the Fountain Valley and the unique collaboration between traditional and non-traditional partners, the award highlights a snapshot of recent accomplishments:
- Originally opened in December 2020, the approximately 28,000 square foot Public Health South location was quickly operationalized as a hub of critical pandemic response activities, including providing free COVID-19 tests and vaccinations.
- Expanded public health services at this location now include the Women, Infants and Children (WIC) program, Communities That Care (CTC), and laboratory services (including water testing).
- The City of Fountain has also been able to create a Behavioral Health Connect Unit (BHCON) program, pairing law enforcement with mental health experts.
The long-standing partnership between EPCPH and the City of Fountain has been a meaningful and impactful collaboration that has greatly benefited the community of Fountain and broader El Paso County.
Photo courtesy of El Paso County Public Health: Fountain City Manager Scott Trainor, Fountain Mayor Sharon Thompson, and El Paso County Public Health Director Susan Wheelan at a Dec. 13 Fountain City Council meeting recognizing Wheelan with the Spirit of Fountain Award.
Samuel Stump Michelle Beyrle
City of Fountain El Paso County Public Health
(719) 393-4921 (719) 244-1947