COLUMBUS - David R. Schoech, pharmacist at Mercy Hospital Columbus, recently was awarded for his community service at a ceremony during the 136th Kansas Pharmacists Association Annual Meeting and Trade Show in Wichita.

Schoech was nominated for the Bowl of Hygeia Award because of his involvement in his community since graduation from pharmacy school in 1982. He returned to his hometown after graduating pharmacy school to work in the local drug store. Later he opened Columbus Pharmacy and operated it for 15 years from 1994 to 2009. He’s been serving the community in civic and private organizations for 35 years.

Schoech sold his pharmacy in 2010 and continued working in surrounding area pharmacies while remaining involved with the Columbus Lions Club (president in 1995 and 2004) and City Parks & Recreation Commission. He also provided personal instruction, training and supervision to pharmacy students as a University of Kansas School of Pharmacy Preceptor.

He received the National Community Pharmacists Association’s National Preceptor of the Year award in 2011. He is an active member of Kansas State Board of Pharmacy, as well as the Columbus Chamber of Commerce (president in 1991), Columbus Community Foundation for nine years and the recreation commission (since 1993).

The Bowl of Hygeia Award is presented annually by participating pharmacy associations in each of the states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. The recipients are selected by their respective associations for their outstanding record of community service. The award is sponsored by the American Pharmacists Association Foundation and the National Alliance of State Pharmacy Associations.

“We are happy to recognize David for the many personal hours he has devoted to the welfare of his community,” said Mike Larkin, executive director of the Kansas Pharmacists Association. “The city of Columbus should take great pride in having him as one of its outstanding citizens.”

The Bowl of Hygeia is the most widely recognized international symbol of pharmacy and derives from Greek mythology. The classical symbol was a bowl containing a medicinal potion, with the serpent of wisdom (or guardianship) partaking of it. This is the same serpent of wisdom that appears on the caduceus, which is the symbol of medicine.

Mercy, named one of the top five large U.S. health systems in 2016 by Truven, an IBM company, serves millions annually. Mercy includes 45 acute care and specialty (heart, children’s, orthopedic and rehab) hospitals, more than 700 physician practices and outpatient facilities, 40,000 co-workers and more than 2,000 Mercy Clinic physicians in Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri and Oklahoma. Mercy also has outreach ministries in Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas.