Jun 9, 2022
SHEPHERDSTOWN ROTARY CLUB HONORS DR. MARK CUCUZZELLA
The Shepherdstown Rotary Club has given its highest award, the Paul Harris Award, to Dr. Mark Cucuzzella, of Shepherdstown.
The award was presented at the club's weekly breakfast at Shepherdstown's Bavarian Inn on June 7.
An accompanying photo shows Dr. Cucuzzella left, with club President Steve Campbell.
The Paul Harris Award is named for the man who founded Rotary International in 1905, Paul Percy Harris (1868-1947).
The Shepherdstown Club periodically gives this award to nonmembers and members who have served their community exceptionally well and who therefore exemplify the Rotary motto of "Service Above Self." The club makes a $1,000 contribution from its own funds to the International Rotary organization's charitable foundation on each awardee's behalf.
Dr. Cucuzzella is a Professor at West Virginia University's School of Medicine and a Lt. Col. in the US Air Force Reserve. As a practicing physician, he has been a strong advocate for better nutritional science and has helped to develop the MEDCHEFS program for WVU. With the Air Force Reserve, he designs programs to promote healthier and better running through the Air Force Efficient Running Project and has presented running workshops on over 50 military bases. He directs the Natural Running Center, an education portal designed to teach healthier running. A national-level Masters runner, he has competed in running events for over 35 years with more than 100 marathon and ultra-marathon finishes.
In the region, he is perhaps best-known as one of the founders and the current race director of the Freedom’s Run running event, which was initiated in 2009 and is held annually the fall. He is also the owner of Two Rivers Treads, a center for natural running and walking in Ranson.
Dr. Cucuzzella has been named a Distinguished Mountaineer by the Governor of West Virginia. Other recognitions include a President's Award from the American Academy of Podiatric Sports Medicine, Air Force Athlete of the Year, and induction into the Marine Corps Marathon Hall of Fame. His innovative work and story have been featured in the New York Times, the Washington Post, Outside magazine, Running Times, Runners World, Air Force Times, the Journal of the American Medical Association, and other publications, as well as on National Public Radio.
Also receiving a Paul Harris Award at the same breakfast was Shepherdstown Rotary Club member Caroline "Cara" Keys. Previously a member of the Carroll Creek Rotary Club in Frederick, MD, Ms. Keys joined the Shepherdstown club in 2020. In the short time since, despite her professional responsibilities as a commercial real estate appraiser and personal responsibilities as a mother of four young children, she has established herself as a very active member of the club's leadership. She chairs the club's Youth Services Committee, coordinates its international youth exchange program, and has been involved in many other community projects and activities as well. She is shown in the center of an accompanying photo, with club member Walt Eifert, left, and President Steve Campbell, right.