DR. JOHN JAGGERS, right, pulmonologist and founding member of Blue Ridge Pulmonary Medicine, is presented his plaque for being chosen as the 2021 Community First Awards Person of the Year, by Dr. Bill Seymour, president of Cleveland State Community College. BANNER PHOTO, DANIEL GUY


Wednesday, September 22, 2021 12:00 AM
Community, TBR, All, Events

This article was published by The Cleveland Daily Banner on September 22, 2021.
The sixth annual Community First Awards set out to offer credit where it was due and named Dr. John S. Jaggers III the 2021 Person of the Year. 
Jaggers, a pulmonologist, is a founding member and president of Blue Ridge Pulmonary Medicine, which specializes in pulmonary services and sleep medicine. Throughout the pandemic, he and doctors like him have served people facing the most severe cases of COVID-19, as well as those dealing with the long-term effects the novel coronavirus may leave on a person’s lungs. 
He’s certified in internal medicine, pulmonary and critical care as well as sleep medicine, and has spent decades serving the Bradley County community on committees and boards.
At Tuesday night's Community First Awards gala, he was an honoree in healthcare. The theme of the annual awards ceremony this year was focused on public service during the pandemic.
When he accepted the award for Person of the Year, Jaggers dedicated it to the healthcare community that has worked around the clock, battling COVID-19 in urgent-care facilities, hospitals, emergency rooms and intensive-care units.
“We as healthcare providers thank you,” he told the crowd, who gave him a standing ovation. 
“Working in this pandemic has been like trying to fly a plane while you’re still building it,” Jaggers said. “It’s dynamic. It changes every day. What I tell you tonight will be different tomorrow morning.” 
Last year’s awards event was virtual, but the college was determined to have an in-person ceremony this year if they could do so safely, according to CSCC President Dr. Bill Seymour. Jaggers confessed he had been uneasy about attending the event.
Seymour said Jaggers is his personal physician and considers him a close friend.  He spoke to Jaggers about the precautions Cleveland State was taking to host the event in person. 
“He wanted to make sure it was safe, that we weren’t overcrowding tables,” Seymour said. “He wanted to practice what he preaches.” 
Jaggers wore a mask as he accepted the awards and lauded his colleagues and co-workers, the team of healthcare workers and the medical community, as the real honorees. He said he was just their representative. 
“I want to accept this award, not as an individual, but as a member of a healthcare team, and the nurses and doctors facing this,” he said. “I want to also recognize the other healthcare workers that people don't know, especially in hospital settings: respiratory therapists, occupational therapists, physical therapists, patient-care technicians, ward clerks, the clinical dietitians, the sleep pathologists and phlebotomists, the radiology technicians. I want to especially shine a spotlight on housekeepers. Twenty-four-seven, they keep us safe.” 
Other honorees from this year’s award ceremony included: 
  • Andrea Boddeker and Brittany Katz in the philanthropy category;
  • Alisha Fox in the education category;
  • C. Seth Sumner in public service; 
  • Julie P. Ladd in nonprofit leadership; 
  • Kenny Archer in volunteer service; 
  • Noah Graybeal in student leadership; 
  • Rick Norton in the arts category; and
  • Steve Hartline in the business category. 

(Pictured from left to right): Steve Hartline, Alisha Fox, Kenny Archer, Julie Ladd, Noah Graybeal, Seth Sumner, Brittany Katz, Rick Norton, Dr. John Jaggers. Not pictured: Andrea Boddeker


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