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Jan Rader
May 08, 2017 : Rader recognized as 2017 Ohio University Southern Alumni Leadership Award winner
Jan Rader, a 2008 graduate of the Associate Degree in Nursing program, was awarded the 2017 Dr. Dan Evans Ohio University Southern Alumni Leadership Award at the Graduate Recognition Ceremony April 27. Nominations for this award are solicited from faculty, staff, alumni and the community.
Rader is a 22-year veteran of the Huntington Fire Department. She was unanimously confirmed as Huntington fire chief in March 2016, making her the first female fire chief for a professional fire department in the state of West Virginia.
Dr. Nicole Pennington, dean of Ohio University Southern, said that she was privileged to have had Rader as a student in her class. “Her services as a professional fire fighter and registered nurse at Cabell Huntington Hospital from 2008 to 2016 has made her a vital asset in combating the region’s opioid epidemic,” Pennington said. “We are absolutely honored to recognize Jan as a Southern Campus graduate and for her dedicated community leadership.”
“Chief Rader has displayed stellar leadership during the most difficult of times,” Huntington Mayor Steve Williams wrote in his appointment letter to City Council members. “She will serve with integrity and lead the Fire Department with dignity and honor.”
Jan RaderRader said that one of the things she loves about Ohio University Southern is the amazing professors. In her address to attendees of the Graduate Recognition Ceremony, she recounted several individuals who impacted her life during her time at the Southern Campus.
“One afternoon in April 2008 I distinctly remember calling Dean Pennington, then director of nursing, from the St. Mary’s Medical Center. My family was dealing with tragedy and illness,” Rader said. “I was feeling completely stressed, and I called to inform her that I needed to drop out of nursing school. Quietly, yet sternly, she refused my request. She encouraged me to finish and make the best of a difficult situation. For that I am forever grateful.”

Rader added, “When I graduated from Ohio University Southern, my toolbox was full, and I hold several of these tools with great regard. These have served me well throughout my entire career – respect, honor and gratitude. These tools have helped me to achieve the leadership goals that I still hold today. I hope that everyone graduating is leaving with a full toolbox.”
Williams assigned her to the Mayor’s Office of Drug Control Policy in 2015, a position that she still holds today. Rader is also chairwoman of the Cabell-Huntington Health Department’s Harm Reduction Program Advisory Board, which oversees a comprehensive program that assists those addicted to drugs in our community. She also serves on the Mayor’s LGBT Advisory Committee and was a member of the Lawrence County Library Board of Directors from 2005 to 2016.