Mental Health America of Licking County (MHA) celebrated its 63rd Annual Dinner on November 10th, at The DoubleTree by Hilton in downtown Newark with MHA’s Board of Trustees, staff, consumers and friends of MHA from all over Licking County.
Following an invocation by Larry Palur, “Celebrity Servers” served beverages. Among the Celebrity Servers were WNKO/WHTH News Director David Doney, Licking County Family Courts Judge Duke Frost, The Licking County Foundation Executive Director Connie Hawk, Superintendent for Licking County ESC Dr. Nelson McCray, Presi-dent of Licking County Chamber of Commerce and past MHA Board member Jennifer McDonald, Licking County Coalition of Care Executive Director Larry Palur, Newark City Schools Director of Certified Personnel Barb Quackenbush, Behavioral Healthcare Partners President and CEO Dr. Kate Saylor, Executive Director of Mental Health & Recovery for Licking and Knox Counties Kay Spergel, and Licking County Municipal Court Judge David Stansbury.
MHA President Monie Havens conducted the official business of the meeting and the incoming officers for 2016-17 were installed. With the unanimous vote of the Board, Dave Hardy is the new President, Debbie Matesich is 1st Vice President, Marion Royster will remain as Treasurer, and Monie Havens is the Immediate Past President. Joining the Executive Committee is Jacquie Goumas Fox as 2nd Vice President.
During the awards ceremony, award winners were recognized: Program Coordinator Donna Gibson presented the Bridges Out of Poverty Award to Amber Smith. The Henry Mardis Compeer Member of the Year was presented to Jim Thomas by Program Coordinator Shari Johnston. Development/Program Manger Jill Goddard presented the Mental Health Volunteer of the Year Award to Chris Rezos. Licking County Director of Victim Services and Vic-tims Advocate Mark Weiner received the Mental Health Professional of the Year from Executive Director Penny Sitler.
Each year, the Paddy Kutz Community Health Award is presented in three categories to a person or people who best represent the qualities and passionate commitment to good mental health that Paddy Kutz personified in her 32 years of service to Licking County. Penny Sitler recognized the recipient of The Paddy Award in the Community category: the Local Outreach to Survivors of Suicide (LOSS) Team won for their courageous efforts to comfort those who have lost loved ones to suicide, critical outreach because statistics show that survivors are 3.7 more likely to die by suicide. In the Education category, Board member Maura Horgan presented the award to Newark City Schools Counselor Teresa Murph for her commitment to the mental health and wellbeing of middle school students. The Business category was presented by Jill Goddard to WNKO/WHTH News Director David Doney for bravely fighting to break down the stigma of mental health issues through media.
MHA would like to thank table sponsors Jeff and Monica Forman, Jerry McClain Companies, Licking Memorial Health Systems, Park National Bank, Reese, Pyle, Drake and Meyer, and The Boeing Company for making it possible for consumers to attend the celebration.