The John N. Hurty award is named after John Newell Hurty, M.D. Dr. Hurty was the State Health Commissioner of the Indiana State Board of Health for seven consecutive terms (1896 to 1922) spanning a period of 26 years. Dr. Hurty, a pioneer dedicated to fighting water borne diseases, was instrumental in the formation of an organization of community water systems operators which was the forerunner to the American Water Works Association (AWWA).
Dr. Hurty was considered a most influential Secretary to the Board because of his zest for his work and accomplishments during his administration. Initially, his competency in school allowed him to begin his long association with health, drugs and sanitation at age 16 when he went to work for Colonel Eli Lilly. When Dr. Hurty withdrew from the company, he set up a drug store at the corner of Ohio and Pennsylvania Streets with a chemistry laboratory "the first of its kind in Indiana."
Dr. Hurty also devoted much time to teaching and lecturing. In 1881 he began instructing at the Central College of Physicians and Surgeons as Professor of Chemistry and Metallurgy, teaching pupils also in hygiene and sanitation.
In 1884 he taught at Purdue University as Professor of Hygiene and State Medicine. He was a lecturer in chemical philosophy at the Medical College of Indiana in 1887, and three years later became a lecturer in hygiene and state medicine. He was also the first librarian and curator of the Museum of the Indiana Academy of Science.
On March 12, 1896, Dr. Hurty, at age 44, was elected to his first term as Commissioner of the Indiana State Board of Health. In April of 1897, he began the circular known as ISBH Bulletin, which was published eventually on a monthly basis.
Dr. Hurty was also concerned about stream pollution control. In 1908, he helped to organize "the waterworks people of the state into an active and aggressive group bent on improving conditions." To inform Hoosiers of the water pollution problem, Dr. Hurty used "The Monthly Bulletin" to describe the water supplies in various cities and read papers on sewage, stream pollution and disease to the water works group and others.
Dr. Hurty resigned from the ISBH on September 30, 1922. He died on March 27, 1925, at home. In an effort to honor Dr. Hurty's dedication to public health and welfare, the John N. Hurty service award was originated. The ISBH began presenting the John N. Hurty awards in 1945 through 1987. The Indiana Department of Environmental Management has been presenting the awards since 1988. The awards are presented to individuals who meet the following criteria:
Conditions Governing Presentation of the John N. Hurty Award
- Recipient must have been employed 25 years or more in some phase of production or distribution in the waterworks field, serving the citizens of Indiana. Although service does not need to be in an uninterrupted span or in only one community, it must have been with Indiana waterworks.
- Service in the Armed Forces of our country is counted as time employed, if the employee left the waterworks field for military duty and returned to it immediately after that period of duty.
- An employee whose time has been divided among a number of utilities (i.e., water, gas, electric) must have devoted at least 75 percent of his time to the waterworks department unless he did all the work in the water department that there was for him to do.
- Employees of the Department of Environmental Management, consulting engineers, manufacturers' representatives, or others not directly employed by a community water department are not eligible for the award. Included among the eligibles would be superintendents or operators directly responsible for water supplies and treatment plants of State institutions who meet all other requirements as stated herein, and water utility office personnel with other related jobs; e. g., meter readers.
- Recipients are nominated [PDF] by their respective superintendents. The superintendent submits to the Indiana Department of Environmental Management the name of employee, date he or she was first employed (month, day, year), interruptions in service (if any) with specific dates of separation and return to duty, positions occupied during the years of service, and position currently held.
- A John N. Hurty Service Award Certificate, signed by the Governor and the Commissioner of the Department of Environmental Management, and a lapel button or pin are given to all eligible recipients at the American Water Works Association Fall District Meetings. An advanced lapel button or pin is given to those eligible for each additional five-year period of service. For example, a certificate and button or pin are given for the first 25-year period, followed by a 30-, 35-, 40-, 45- year, etc., button as earned thereafter. If, an employee's name was not submitted until the individual had served 3l years, the individual would receive a certificate showing the date and his/her 31 years of service but receive only a 30-year button. In four years, the individual would receive a 35-year button.
- October 1 of each year is designated as the anniversary date for determining eligibility for the award and for the five-year advancements. To be more specific, the month of the nominee's hire-in date must be on or before October 1 in order to be considered for the award in the fall of that particular year. Individuals whose hire-in dates are after October 1 will receive their awards the following year at the next scheduled AWWA fall district meeting.