On Sept. 14, an awards ceremony took place honoring the first recipient of the New York Center for Agricultural Medicine and Health (NYCAMH) Hero Award.
Ralph Ritton, of Westford, NY, received this inaugural award for his work in the community, promoting agricultural safety.
“We’re excited to present this inaugural award to Mr. Ralph Ritton, of Westford, New York,” said NYCAMH’s Deputy Director, Erika Scott. “This award was created to recognize the extraordinary accomplishments of an individual or community partner whose work has enhanced agricultural safety and health in New York.”
Ritton has been a member of the Westford Volunteer Fire Department since 1968 after returning from deployment with the Army in Southeast Asia.
He became Fire Chief of Westford in 1985 and currently remains in that capacity.
Scott said that Ritton was employed in a 42-year career working for Custom Electronics in Oneonta as Quality Assurance Manager, where he took particular pride interfacing with large military electronic systems suppliers, knowing their work helped major defense projects that are in the news daily.
Ritton is a certified EMT and a CPR/EMS instructor for the American Red Cross and the American Heart Association, frequently instructing classes, including two CPR classes each semester at SUNY Oneonta.
Scott reports that Ritton’s dedication to safety has influenced NYCAMH in many ways.
“He is featured on the National ROPS Rebate Program website, describing the importance of tractor rollbars from the perspective of a first responder,” Scott said.
See Ritton’s commentary on ROPS on the website — www.ropsr4u.com.
“He (Ritton) played an integral part in a farm emergency mapping pilot grant from the Agricultural Safety and Health Council of America (ASHCA),” Scott attested. “Ralph donated his time to construct 30 farm emergency tubes from PVC piping, thereby keeping the emergency maps protected from the elements. He also accompanied NYCAMH staff on farm visits for the pilot project, and encouraged local farmers to participate. He is always willing to collaborate with us on safety events for his community. Ralph has touched the lives of our staff, and of local farmers.”
“I am humbled and honored to receive this award,” said Ritton.
Ritton credits NYCAMH for the incredible work and outreach they have accomplished across New York State.
New York Center for Agricultural Medicine and Health was established in the 1980’s by Dr. John May and Dr. David Pratt, pulmonologists at The Mary Imogene Bassett Hospital in Cooperstown, NY.
The program was initially known as the Bassett Farm and Safety Health Project. It was officially named the New York Center for Agriculture and Medicine in 1988. The mission is to enhance agricultural and rural health by preventing and treating occupational injury and illness.
Learn about NYCAMH at www.nycamh.org.