Youth Services System officials on Monday, April 25, 2016 named Dr. William Mercer of Wheeling as the 2016 recipient of the organization’s Good Samaritan Award.
Marc Abraham, president of the YSS board of directors, said Mercer is being honored for caring “about the health of our children and the health of the homeless population of our community.”
Mercer 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 conducts a “Joe Too Cool to Smoke” campaign in local schools to encourage children to avoid tobacco use.
Marc Abraham, left, president of Youth Services System’s board, congratulates Dr. William Mercer, recipient of this year’s Good Samaritan Award. They are posing with Mercer’s “Joe Too Cool to Smoke” statue that he uses in an ongoing anti-tobacco campaign.
The Good Samaritan awards dinner will be held at Wheeling Park’s White Palace at 5:30 p.m. Aug. 19. YSS has presented a Good Samaritan Award annually since 2009.
Mercer, a family physician in private practice, also serves as health officer of the Wheeling-Ohio County Health Department. A member of the Community IMPACT Coalition, he is spearheading an effort to provide naloxone to reverse opioid overdoses.
“I can’t tell you how humbled I am to receive this honor,” Mercer said. “Youth Services System has a reputation of helping our youth and our homeless population. … I’ve been blessed in the community, taking care of my patients and loving our neighbors.”
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.
Mercer is a graduate of the former West Liberty State College and a 1979 graduate of West Virginia University School of Medicine. He was recognized as the West Virginia Family Physician of the Year in 2008