Three graduates of East Central University's Environmental Health Science program have been commissioned as lieutenants junior grade in the United States Public Health Service Commissioned Corps during a ceremony at ECU.
Zac Grinnell of Shawnee, Dustin Joplin of Seminole and Aaron McNeil of Ada returned to ECU for the ceremony. ECU has more graduates serving in the USPHS than any other college or university, said Dr. Patrick Bohan, ECU associate professor of environmental health science and a retired captain in the USPHS Commissioned Corps.
Also taking part in the ceremony were Rear Adm. Richie Grinnell, director of the Nashville Area of the Indian Health Service, assistant surgeon general and a 1978 ECU graduate, and Fan Robinson, director of the Office of Environmental Health and Engineering in the Oklahoma City Area of the Indian Health Service.
All the new officers have Native American heritage and all serve Native American tribes in Oklahoma. Grinnell and Joplin are stationed in Lawton and McNeill is stationed in Pawnee.
Grinnell, a member of the Sac and Fox Nation of Missouri, graduated from Shawnee High School. He earned a bachelor of science degree in environmental health science at ECU in 2007. He was a member of ECU's football team and the Environmental Health Science Club.
Grinnell previously was awarded a Commissioned Corps Training Ribbon and holds a license as a Registered Professional Sanitarian from the Oklahoma State Department of Health. His job responsibilities include delivering comprehensive environmental health service to the tribes within the Lawton Service Unit, which include the Apache, Caddo, Comanche, Delaware, Fort Sill Apache, Kickapoo Traditional Tribe of Texas, Kiowa, Wichita and affiliated tribes.
Grinnell was pinned by his father, Ron Grinnell. He also is the nephew of Rear Adm. Richie Grinnell.
Joplin, a member of the Choctaw Nation and a graduate of Seminole High School, received a bachelor of science degree in environmental health science from ECU in 2007. At ECU he was a member of Alpha Chi national honor society and the Environmental Health Science Club and participated in the Bridges to the Future Program.
Before coming to ECU he served in the U.S. Army for three years, stationed in Korea, Iraq and Fort Carson, Colo. He was discharged as an E-4 Specialist and received the Army Commendation Medal, the Army Achievement Medal and the Operation Iraqi Freedom Badge.
Joplin recently was awarded the Commissioned Corps Training Ribbon. His job responsibilities include conducting environmental health and food service surveys and providing technical assistance and training, such as food handlers' classes and training for blood borne pathogens.
He serves the Apache, Caddo, Comanche, Delaware, Fort Sill Apache, Kickapoo Traditional Tribe of Texas, Kiowa, Wichita and affiliated tribes.
Joplin was pinned by his father, Kelley Joplin.
McNeill, a Chickasaw and Mississippi Choctaw, graduated from Byng High School and received a bachelor of science degree in environmental health science in December 2006. He was a member of ECU's Environmental Health Science Club and Native American Student Association.
He recently was awarded the Commissioned Corps Training Ribbon and holds a license from the Oklahoma State Department of Health as a Registered Professional Sanitarian. He performs environmental health and food service surveys for such facilities as health centers, restaurants, casinos, Head Starts and wastewater systems and for celebrations. He also provides technical assistance to facilities regarding hazard communication and emergency response and safety policy/procedure preparation.
McNeill serves the Pawnee, Osage, Otoe-Missouria, Ponca, Tonkawa, Miami, Ottawa, Peoria, Quapaw, Seneca-Cayuga and Eastern Shawnee tribes.
He was pinned by his mother, Debra McNeill.
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