Meet Jeff Miracle, executive director of the American Lung Association in North Texas. It's a big job. Miracle is in charge of overseeing all activities in the DFW area and surrounding 120 county region of North Texas. Under his leadership, staff and volunteers provide education about the hardship of lung disease and other conditions affecting the lungs. Miracle has a decades-long history of working with nonprofit organizations and a strong desire to help others through positive change. He hopes to have an impact on the staggering numbers. Lung disease kills almost 160,000 americans every year.
It is at this time of year that many people vow to give up smoking and for good reason. Lung disease is the leading cancer killer in both men and women in the U.S. We wanted to hear more from Miracle about the mission of the American Lung Association and its desire to curb smoking and bring an end to this tragic disease.
Dawn Tongish: Please begin by telling us about the mission of the American Lung Association.
Jeff Miracle: Our Mission: To save lives by improving lung health and preventing lung disease.
- The American Lung Association will eliminate tobacco use and tobacco-related lung disease.
- The American Lung Association will improve the air we breathe so it will not cause or worsen lung disease.
- The American Lung Association will reduce the burden of lung disease on patients and their families.
DT: What are your duties at the American Lung Association?
JM: I am the Executive Director for the American Lung Association in North Texas. I oversee all activities of the American Lung Association in the DFW area and a 120 county region of North Texas. My duties include development of a local Leadership Board, hiring and managing staff, recruiting volunteers, educating the public on the tragedy of lung disease and other conditions effecting the lungs, handling public relations and raising funds needed to complete the mission of the American Lung Association.
DT: How did you become involved with the American Lung Association, and why are you so passionate about the work being done?
JM: For the past 24 years I have worked as an Executive Director with several national non profit organizations. In May of 2014 I was made aware of the opportunity at the American Lung Association in north Texas for the position of executive director. In July the American Lung Association in Texas was restructured and came under the leadership of the Southwest Region of the American Lung Association. I was fortunate enough to be hired to lead the local organization. Lung Disease kills almost 160,000 americans every year. It is the leading cancer killer in both men and women in the United States. I took this position to try to make a difference in those affected by this terrible cancer.
DT: Laws against smoking in public have been strengthened in recent years. What other changes would you like to see take hold?
JM: We are seeking increased funding for cancer research at the National Institutes of Health and for better cures, treatments and early detection for lung cancer. We would also want to see a state law passed banning smoking in public places. This has been done in many municipalities but is not state wide.
DT: Smoking is still one of the hardest habits to break. What can someone say/do for a loved one or friend, to help them become smoke-free?
My best recommendation would be for them to visit www.lung.org
and read some of the great information we have on our website.
DT: How can the people of North Texas and beyond help meet your needs for 2014? What are your biggest needs at the American Lung Association?
We are trying to reactivate many of the programs that the American Lung Association has provided North Texas in the past. These include smoking cessation programs in the work place, support groups for patients and families affected by lung disease and education programs concerning the dangers of smoking to students. In order for us to be able to do this, we have two major fundraisers in 2105. Our Fight for Air Climb takes place on February 21, 2015 at Renaissance Towers. Registration for this event can be done at www.fightforairclimb.org.
We are also having a Lung FORCE 5k Walk. We are very excited about this event. it will take place on Saturday, April 25, 2015 and we are partnering with Earth Day Texas for this event. The registration for this event is www.lungforce.org.
There is no registration fee but we do encourage those coming out to raise funds for the American Lung Association in North Texas.
DT: What is your most memorable moment at the American Lung Association?
JM: Since I have only been at the American Lung Association for 4 months, I am still working on building memorable moments. However, as a part of our strategies moving forward, we moved our office in Dallas at the beginning of November 2014. as we were sorting through old files we came across two envelopes which were closed and marked "seals". Inside were Christmas Seals that the American Lung Association had mailed to donors in the 1950's and 60's. Mixed in with those Christmas Seals was a letter that said "1969 Christmas Seal Campaign" across the top as I looked at the letter, I realized that it was the DFW area letter that had been sent that Christmas to our supporters. It was the original letter and it was signed by Mickey Mantle! It had been sealed in an envelope for over 40 years! It will soon be framed and hanging in our Dallas office.
If you'd like to nominate a local resident for a BubbleLife community profile, contact Dawn Tongish at firstname.lastname@example.org or find her on Twitter at @DawnTongish.