August 20, 2016 by Maureen Zambito
WEST LIBERTY, W.Va., Aug. 20, 2016 — WLU Alumnus Dr. William Mercer, medical director of the Wheeling-Ohio County Health Department, was honored last night by the board of directors of Youth Services System Inc. Mercer was named the 2016 Good Samaritan. Mercer is a Wheeling a native and a member of WLU’s class of 1975.
The Good Samaritan tribute dinner took place at Wheeling Park’s White Palace ballroom at 5:30 p.m., Aug. 19. Mercer was celebrated for his work in public health, with students in Ohio County Schools and with the homeless in the community.
Alumnus Marc Abraham, former chairman of the YSS board of directors and a member of WLU’s Foundation Board, said Mercer is being honored for caring “about the health of our children and the health of the homeless population of our community.”
WLU Vice President of Institutional Advancement Jason Koegler is the current chairman of the YSS Board. John Moses, YSS executive director, said Mercer exemplifies the virtues and principles of the biblical Good Samaritan.
“What moves me the most is it’s all about his personal choice … The homeless are often the ill-favored, often the forgotten. He does the unexpected, and it’s personal. He doesn’t have to come up here (to the Winter Freeze Shelter). He chooses to do so,” Moses said of Mercer.
A family physician in private practice, he also is a member of the Community IMPACT Coalition and is spearheading an effort to provide naloxone to reverse opioid overdoses. He leads a regular medical outreach to the homeless and conducts clinics for homeless people staying at YSS Winter Freeze Shelter in the Hazel Atlas Building. He also is well-known for the Joe Too Cool to Smoke campaign in local schools to encourage children to avoid tobacco use.
Emcee, Bob Gaudio (also a WLU alumnus) greeted guests and thanked Mercer for his many contributions to the community. Gaudio was assisted by WLU Vice President of Institutional Advancement Jason Koegler who thanked all sponsors and presented additional awards.
Mercer also is a 1979 graduate of West Virginia University School of Medicine and was recognized as the West Virginia Family Physician of the Year in 2008.