Fort Worth, Texas (October 9, 2023) – The Greater Fort Worth Chapter of the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) is honored to announce Opal Lee, the ‘Grandmother of Juneteenth,’ as the 2023 Communicator of the Year and Matt Zavadsky, the chief transformation officer at MedStar, as the 2023 Douglas Ann Newsom PRSA Professional of the Year.
Opal Lee is a community leader and activist who has dedicated her life to fighting for justice and equality. She is best known for her tireless advocacy for Juneteenth, a holiday that commemorates the end of slavery in the United States. In 2016, at the age of 89, Lee embarked on a 1,400-mile walk from Fort Worth to Washington, D.C. to raise awareness of Juneteenth.
She made this walk annually, calling for Juneteenth to be recognized on a national scale. In 2021, Lee’s dream finally came true when Juneteenth was officially designated as a federal holiday. Her advocacy helped to educate millions of Americans about the importance of Juneteenth and to ensure that this historic event is never forgotten.
Matt Zavadsky serves as the spokesperson for MedStar Mobile Healthcare, an agency providing advanced life support ambulance services across 436 square miles of North Texas. As Public Information Officer at MedStar, Zavadsky is a key figure in coordinating with media and partners, providing crucial information about MedStar’s roles and activities in the community.
Often the first responder at tragic events, Zavadsky’s composed and sympathetic demeanor underlines his exceptional qualities as a spokesperson. With 42 years of experience in EMS, a master’s degree in Health Service Administration, and co-authorship of the book “Mobile Integrated Healthcare – Approach to Implementation,” Zavadsky embodies excellence in public relations and health care communication.
Opal Lee and Matt Zavadsky will be honored at the 10th annual Worthy Awards ceremony on Nov. 3, at the Fort Worth Zoo. The event begins at 6 p.m. and tickets are on sale now.
About the Communicator of the Year Award
The Communicator of the Year award is presented to a community member who has demonstrated significant leadership and communications ability in the greater Fort Worth region.
The recipient must be a role model for communicators and must have made a significant contribution to the community through their communications work.
About the Douglas Ann Newsom PRSA Professional of the Year Award
The Douglas Ann Newsom PRSA Professional of the Year Award is presented to a public relations professional in North Texas who has made significant contributions to the advancement of the public relations profession. The recipient must have demonstrated excellence in public relations practice, leadership, and service to the community.
About the Greater Fort Worth Chapter PRSA
The Greater Fort Worth Chapter of PRSA is an organization dedicated to enhancing the profession of public relations by promoting the professionalism of its members, as well as the public perception of the value of our contribution to the betterment of the community.
PRSA creates a professional environment, serving the needs of its members by providing educational, networking, mentoring and social opportunities for professional growth and development. Learn more at fortworthprsa.org.
Jessamy Brown, APR President of GFW PRSA