Dayton presents keys to city to public health officials: ‘You saved the city’

Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley on Wednesday hugs Health Commissioner Jeff Cooper during the city commission's first in-person meeting in 15 months. Whaley presented Keys to the City to Cooper and two other officials with Public Health -- Dayton & Montgomery County. CORNELIUS FROLIK / STAFF

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Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley on Wednesday hugs Health Commissioner Jeff Cooper during the city commission's first in-person meeting in 15 months. Whaley presented Keys to the City to Cooper and two other officials with Public Health -- Dayton & Montgomery County. CORNELIUS FROLIK / STAFF

Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley on Wednesday presented Keys to the City to three public health officials who she credited with helping save the community during the coronavirus crisis.

Ceremonial and symbolic keys were given to Jeff Cooper, Michael Dohn and Terra Williams for the roles they played in combating the spread of the virus and helping get community members vaccinated.

“For me, it’s a really big deal to give a key,” Whaley said. “They saved us.”

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Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley passes out Keys to the City to Health Commissioner Jeff Cooper, Medical Director Michael Dohn and Director of Health Promotion Terra Williams with Public Health -- Dayton & Montgomery County. CORNELIUS FROLIK / STAFF

Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley passes out Keys to the City to Health Commissioner Jeff Cooper, Medical Director Michael Dohn and Director of Health Promotion Terra Williams with Public Health -- Dayton & Montgomery County. CORNELIUS FROLIK / STAFF

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Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley passes out Keys to the City to Health Commissioner Jeff Cooper, Medical Director Michael Dohn and Director of Health Promotion Terra Williams with Public Health -- Dayton & Montgomery County. CORNELIUS FROLIK / STAFF

Cooper, Dohn and Williams are executive team members with Public Health — Dayton & Montgomery County.

The keys were awarded during the city commission’s first in-person meeting in about 15 months.

This honor was well deserved because of their “amazing” public service, commitment to data and science and all of the advice they provided city leadership during a once-in-a-century emergency, Whaley said.

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Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley passes out Keys to the City to Health Commissioner Jeff Cooper, Medical Director Michael Dohn and Director of Health Promotion Terra Williams with Public Health -- Dayton & Montgomery County. CORNELIUS FROLIK / STAFF

Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley passes out Keys to the City to Health Commissioner Jeff Cooper, Medical Director Michael Dohn and Director of Health Promotion Terra Williams with Public Health -- Dayton & Montgomery County. CORNELIUS FROLIK / STAFF

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Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley passes out Keys to the City to Health Commissioner Jeff Cooper, Medical Director Michael Dohn and Director of Health Promotion Terra Williams with Public Health -- Dayton & Montgomery County. CORNELIUS FROLIK / STAFF

Public health was an important source of accurate and scientific information during a time of misinformation, said Dayton City Commissioner Matt Joseph.

“Your staff did an excellent, incredible job throughout this time,” he said.

Communication was key during the crisis, and public health provided crucial guidance to the city about how to share information and what kind of information to share, said Dayton City Manager Shelley Dickstein.

Whaley previously gave Keys to the City to a few longtime city officials and staff when they retired or resigned. She also gave a Key to the City to author David McCullough, who wrote a the book “The Wright Brothers.”

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