Mental Health America of Augusta honors volunteers, agencies

mhaa dinnerThe Mental Health America of Augusta presented awards Nov. 19 to area agencies and individuals who have made outstanding contributions to those with mental illness or addictions.

The prestigious J. Lewis Gibbs Award, the highest award given by MHAA, was presented to Jane Manning for her work with patients discharged from Western State Hospital over the years, a founding member of Friendship Club, and Valley Area Community Support Incorporated.

The MHA-A also recognized Krystle Dove and April Chu, the Pete Giesen Golf Tournament Scholarship winners attending Blue Ridge Community College as second-year students in the Dept. of Life Sciences and Human Services receiving an Associate Degree in Mental Health.  These graduates will generally move directly into serving the citizens with the intent to establish greater mental wellness with all of our citizens. They each have received $1,000 scholarships from the Pete Giesen MHA-A 20th Golf Tournament proceeds

The Mental Health America of Augusta, MHAA is an affiliate of Mental Health America, the nation’s leading nonprofit dedicated to helping all people live mentally healthier lives.

Other awards presented Friday were:

  • Distinguished Service Award — The Rev. Don Long recipient was recognized for his dedicated service to finding guardians, conservators, and volunteers to assist with consumers who have a mental illness. He advocated for them and by serving as their payee and or guardian, allowed them to live independently.  He also was active with the Friendship Club in Staunton.
  • Clyde F. Hoy, Jr. Consumer Advocate Award — Russell Johnson was recognized for improving his life by attending Shenandoah Clubhouse where he began positive life changes, through investing in your mental health and substance abuse treatment and relationship building. With the skills he was able to live on his own and begin working for a heating and air conditioning company.
  • & Mrs. C. Lennart Sandquist Prevention Award — Staunton-Augusta Therapeutic Docket Advisory Committee was recognized for their work with Blue Ridge Court Service clients and VASAP identifying defendants with mental health issues and helping them to receive treatment instead of being jailed. Their desire to establish a mental health court came into being with the reception of a grant from DBHDS for the 1st year.  Over 40 client cases were reviewed from July 1, 2014-June 30, 2015 and 13 cases are on a active docket with 1 client who has graduated.  These clients would otherwise be in the criminal justice system and possibly be incarcerated.
  • Media Award–Doug Cochran was recognized for his work on the MHA-A website and the videos, for adults and children, Removing the Stigma of Mental Illness.
  • Bell Award— Charles Sergotick was recognized for his generous contributions of time and financial resources to make it possible to accept credit card payments for our Silent Auction items.
  • Volunteer Award– Kim Snyder was recognized for serving as Treasurer, having to set up a new accounting system and Chairing the Board Nominating Committee.
  • Professional Service Award –Robert M. Tucker, LMFT, LPC was recognized for his service to help clients with daily mental health emergency needs. He goes beyond the call of duty by working with coalitions like CIT, Mental Health Coalition, Cross-Mapping, and making presentations to the Western State Hospital LHRC on the bed registry. He also works with state wide committees.  Years ago he facilitated the Panic Attack Support Group and presented a portion of an MHA-A seminar to guidance counselors

The awards were presented at the association’s 61st Annual Meeting and Silent Auction at the Holiday Inn Golf and Conference Center in Staunton.  The guest speaker was Paul Gionfriddo, President & CEO of Mental Health America.   He addressed the theme, #B4Stage4.

The MHAA also elected officers at the meeting.  Elected were: President — Teri R. Sumey;  Vice President of Ways and Means — Kimberly R. Snyder; Vice President of Programs and Services — Linda S. Smith.; Secretary—Latoya Garrison; Treasurer Russell Rose; Delegate Director-Rosalie Fessier and Director-at-Large—Jane A. Desper

Newly elected board members are Hilary Davis, April Dovel, Latoya Garrison, Chris Graham, Cynthia Long, Kimberly Ofrias, and Russell Rose.

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