Sally Southard, chair of Salem School Board, receives Charles Brown Award

Roanoke College President Mike Maxey congratulates Sally Southard on Tuesday during the Charles Brown Award presentation at Roanoke.

Roanoke College President Mike Maxey congratulates Sally Southard on Tuesday during the Charles Brown Award presentation at Roanoke.

Salem, Va. - An attractive quality of life in Salem led Sally Southard to make a home in the city after graduating from Roanoke College in 1977.

Now 35 years later, Southard has been recognized for her own contributions to the city's quality of life.

Southard is the 16th recipient of the Charles Brown Award. The award, presented today at Roanoke College, is given each year by the College to a Salem citizen who has contributed significantly, both professionally and civically, to the city's quality of life. It is named for Dr. Charles Brown, Roanoke's first dean and a former mayor of Salem.

Southard, a native of Maryland, is known for her work both in children's medicine and in the community.

She came to Salem by way of Roanoke College, where she earned a bachelor's degree in psychology and met her husband, Bob.

Now, Southard is a pediatric nurse practitioner at Carilion Clinic's Children's Hospital Pulmonology and Allergy Clinic, where she works with children who have asthma and allergies. She has worked for Carilion Clinic for the past 32 years.

Her drive to help children was influenced by an early event in her life. She was diagnosed with diabetes at age 10.

Southard spends much of her time giving back to the diabetes community as a member of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, Greater Blue Ridge Chapter's Board of Directors. She also participated in an artificial pancreas trial last month at the University of Virginia. The trial uses a smartphone to track the needed amount of insulin for people with Type 1 diabetes.

Southard also plays an important role in Salem's school system, where she has been chair of the city's school board since 1999. Her leadership has been instrumental in many school system decisions and changes, including hiring full-time nurses for all Salem schools and renovating school facilities.

Alan Seibert, superintendent of Salem City Schools, said Southard is the "ultimate public servant," who is dependable and puts others before herself.

Both of Southard's children graduated from Salem schools.

During the awards ceremony, Southard emphasized the closeness that she has developed with people in the Salem community, beginning in her college days. As a college student, she knew well the owner of a local pharmacy, where she bought insulin if she ran out of her supply from home.

"Who would want to live anywhere else?" Southard asked the crowd gathered for the presentation and breakfast. "Thank you all for your contributions to the quality of life in Salem."

Released: October 2, 2012
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