A special blue-chip committee, representative of the ACA membership, is responsible for selecting the annual recipients of the awards.
Dr. Sportelli, of Palmerton, Pennsylvania, former ACA chairman of the board, served three terms as governor of District 3 and one term as chairman of the ACA Board of Governors during the fiscal year 1990-1991.
"The award that I receive here is the result of other people who have influenced my life, many of them acting as mentors," Dr. Sportelli said in acceptance the award from David J. Redding, D.C., chairman of the ACA's board of governors.
"He is a doctor I have known and respected for many years and has been my choice for 'Chiropractor of the Year' for every year since I have been in the House of Delegates -- that is, since 1983," said Dr. Redding. "If there were a 'Chiropractor of the Decade' award, I believe he would be deserving of it. If there were a 'Chiropractor of the Century' award, he would certainly be one of the few select candidates."
When the media is doing a story on chiropractic, they frequently knock on Dr. Sportelli's door. Dr. Redding cited Dr. Sportelli's involvement in much of the favorable publicity chiropractic has received recently. He noted that Dr. Sportelli supplied information to the media for ABC's "20/20," CBS's "Nightwatch," NBC's "Today Show," as well articles in the New York Times, Cosmopolitan, Woman's Day, USA Today, and for many other newspapers and magazines. Dr. Sportelli was the D.C. pictured doing an adjustment in the Time article, "Is There a Method to Manipulation?"
Dr. Redding added, "His files contain as much information on chiropractic as any of our associations or college libraries."
"I truly believe in what I am doing," said Dr. Sportelli, "and feel that yours and my responsibility is to keep the legacy to make our profession better for those who will follow."
Humanitarian of the Year
Irvin Davis, president of Clayton-Davis & Associates, Inc., the ACA's public relations consultant, was chosen to receive the Humanitarian award, the highest accolade awarded by the ACA to a non-member of the profession. He has been responsible for developing the ACA's media program.
In presenting the award to Mr. Davis, Dr. Sportelli stated, "This is a person who has truly guided our profession's communications efforts and shaped our message. It's been more than an assignment for him; it has been an important part of his life."
Mr. Davis accepted his award, thanking the board and the delegates for singling him out for this distinguished honor, and for the confidence they have placed in him. He stated that the communications environment has changed tremendously since he first started bringing the ACA's message to the media. The early media campaigns were difficult going, particularly opening the PR channels to get the word of chiropractic out beyond the profession.
To date, Mr. Davis appraises these PR efforts as highly successful, but he noted that chiropractic has barely scratched the surface of the public relations opportunities yet to be conquered.
"We are winning the hearts and minds of consumers as our case is being tried in the court of public opinion," Mr. Davis said. "We know our mission. And we are in perfect agreement about that."