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District 8 AALAS Ron Orta Humanitarian Award


The Ron Orta Humanitarian Award honors the memory of a beloved friend and colleague in the lab animal community.  The award was created after Ron’s sudden death in November of 2007 from acute respiratory disease. Ron was a sales representative with Allentown for many years of his distinguished career in laboratory animal science. He was revered for his outgoing nature, big heart, and inclusive demeanor. The District 8 Council, in conjunction with Allentown Inc., created the award to honor Ron’s compassion, dedication, humility, and friendship. To date, we have had eight deserving recipients: Katherine Marshall, DeVere Charron, Grace Aranda, Debra Hickman, Bill Heckt, Rick Alvarez, Joy Gallagher, and Drew Martin.


The selection criteria for this prestigious award includes exhibiting extraordinary compassion towards peers, displaying a spirit of cooperation and involvement in the activities of one’s local community, and participating in continuing education, either as an educator or student in the field of laboratory animal science or planning educational seminars or symposia.


Call for Nominations for 2016


The application deadline is May 1, 2016. The award will be presented at the annual District 8 Caucus meeting at the National AALAS Meeting in Charlotte, NC on October 30 – November 3, 2016.


A person deserving of this award is a well-rounded individual who can be found assisting co-workers and going the extra mile to help others whenever possible.  She or he volunteers for community activities, and is either working on becoming certified or involved in obtaining or providing continuing education at any level, or participating in planning education seminars, symposiums, or similar activities.  The nominee is involved in some way with AALAS activities, on a local or national level.


EVERYONE is invited to nominate someone! Please don’t feel intimidated about submitting a nomination. Ron was a man who loved everyone and would never want an award bearing his name to be used as a promotional ploy or popularity contest.  The award winner will be selected by a panel of District 8 Council members, plus a representative from Allentown, Inc.  Nomination packets are kept confidential.  The award winner receives an engraved crystal plaque and a cash award.


You should be able to find at least one colleague, maybe several, who would qualify in your facility! Maybe it's you!



Guidelines for Nominating a Candidate


1) Nominee must be a member of a Branch within District 8.

  a) Animal Caregiver, Technician, Secretary, IACUC Coordinator, Manager/Supervisor, Trainer, Veterinarian, Director, Branch Officer, Branch Member, or Commercial Member.

  b) You may nominate yourself.


2) Write a nomination letter and begin it by generally stating why you believe this person should receive the Ron Orta Humanitarian Award and then adding the following:

  a) Examples of how he/she exhibits compassion towards peers, or “walks the extra mile" specific

  b) Examples of cooperation and involvement in the community. Volunteerism examples might be such things as involvement with groups like the FFA, Humane Society, Habitat for Humanity, science fairs, schools, clubs, or other       organizations.

  c) Examples of continuing education. Mention how the nominee has been achieving or working on certifications or degrees, or participation as a presenter, or involvement in promoting or planning a seminar, assisting others with learning, organizing a study group, symposium or similar educational event.

  d) Involvement with AALAS activities, local or national


3) SPREAD THE NEWS! Send out e-mails or call people who know the nominee and ask them to write reference letters.

  a) Reference letters ideally describe some of the items in 2) a-d above, and discuss specifically how the writer or others have been affected by the nominee’s involvement in these activities

  b) Writing a reference letter should not be intimidating. A letter can be long or short; its content is what will be judged, not its appearance. (Suggestion: Get as many meaningful reference letters as you can).


4)  Nomination packets are held over from prior years for re-consideration the next two years. These packets may be updated with additional reference letters.


Submissions must be received by May 1, 2016.  Packets may be scanned and submitted via email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., or mailed to: Trinka Adamson, Division of Comparative Medicine, 1500 East Duarte Rd, Duarte, CA 91010. 



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