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ADM Board Honors Four Trailblazers at Appreciation Luncheon

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2010 Award Recipients from left to right: Gwen Wilson, Suzanne Rymer, Lee Snyder and Sally Dean

2010 Award Recipients from left to right: Gwen Wilson, Suzanne Rymer, Lee Snyder and Sally Dean


The Alcohol, Drug Addiction and Mental Health (ADM) Services Board paid tribute to four local trailblazers at its appreciation luncheon on Wednesday, October 27, 2010. Those receiving awards include: Sally Dean, Suzanne Rymer, Lee Snyder, and Gwen Wilson.


In 2007, the County of Summit Alcohol, Drug Addiction and Mental Health (ADM) Services Board established awards in honor of five individuals who are recognized as being trailblazers and advocates in the mental health and addiction services field. This award process is intended no only to honor the original honorees which included Drs. Fred and Penny Frese, Maggie Carroll Smith, Sister Mary Ignatia and Dr. Bob Smith, but also to provide a forum to recognize individuals who emulate their example and service.


Maggie Carroll Smith Award


The Maggie Carroll Smith Award was named after the Founding President of the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill (NAMI) of Summit County. She was a tireless advocate on behalf of those who have a mental illness and their families. Through her efforts, professionals give better care, families encourage and support each other and people who have mental illness feel new respect and understanding.


The 2010 Maggie Carroll Smith Award recipient, Lee Snyder of Community Support Services, was introduced by the prior year's recipient, the Honorable Linda Tucci Teodosio, Juvenile Court Judge. Lee Snyder is the Facilities Operations manager at Community Support Services and is described as the embodiment of how every person can be the support which helps others be the best that they can be. Those selected to receive the Maggie Carroll Smith Award have demonstrated a passion for people in recovery and also serve as a change agent, focused on results.


Through his example, Lee tries to help others understand that when someone is upset they need compassion and not criticism. He know that when someone is ill, they need gentle support. Lee always has time for the needs of another person even if it inconveniences himself. It doesn't matter who needs the help - he gives it. And most importantly, he is the ultimate encourager of both staff and people who use the system's services and does whatever it takes to make everyone be their best. This is recovery at its finest level.


Drs. Fred and Penny Frese Award


The Drs. Fred and Penny Frese Award for mental health advocacy and education was named in recognition of their efforts to make a real difference in breaking down barriers against the stigma of mental illness through their tireless advocacy. Not only have they worked toward educating the Summit County community, but they have taken their message to other states and even to other countries.


The 2009 Drs. Fred and Penny Frese Award recipeint, Barbara Medlock R.N. of Portage Path Behavioral Health presented the award to Sally Dean, 2010 award recipient. Sally is an employee of Child Guidance and Family Solutions and is stationed in Stow High School.


In 2009, when a young man from Stow took his own life, Sally did everything she could to see that the other students in the school were surrounded with alternatives other than suicide when they faced difficult situations. Posters with hotline numbers were everywhere. All parents in the school received a mailing that included prevention information and an invitation to a special in-service meeting for parents. Above all she listened and listened and listened to other students who needed help. Sally has helped to sensitize the school culture and has done many students a world of good by breaking down some of the stigma surrounding issues of emotional disturbances, by making it okay to need help, okay to ask for it and recognizing that help is possible.


Sister Mary Ignatia Gavin Award


The award established in honor of Sister Mary Ignatia was so named because of her insight in recognizing alcoholism as a disease. She was truly a pioneer in creating environments where people grew and recovered through Alcoholics Anonymous. Countless people benefited from her overwhelming compassion and belief that they would succeed.


Greer Kabb Langkamp, R.N. of Summa Health System presented the award to the 2010 recipient, Gwendolyn Wilson of the Summit County Community Partnership. Gwendolyn Wilson has been with the Partnership since the beginning and has helped blaze many prevention trails. With over 20 years of experience in prevention services, Gwen has been both a prevention mentor to many as well as a model for how to effectively collaborate to accomplish goals. Through her leadership and collaborative spirit, the Partnership demosnstrates effective partnering to accomplish their mission of facilitating coalitions of community resources in the effor to prevent alcohol and other substance abuse and to infuse evidence-based prevention to as many settins as possible.


Individuals nominated for the Sister Mary Ignatia Award are know for their compassion, have not sought the spotlight, but will have made contributions "behind-the sceines". Whether by conducting youth surveys, developing a Drug-Free workplace culture through trainings, and other Partnership efforts, Gwen lives this mission and her contributions are significant. She has provided the guidance and wisdom to enable Partnership's success and blazed new trails in community prevention.


Dr. Robert Smith Award


This award was nambed in honor of Dr. Robert Smith, ("Dr. Bob"), Akron native, and one of the Founding Fathers of Alcoholics Anonymous. Dr. Smith's experiences led him to acknowledge how complicated it was to break the patterns of addiction. He designed a successful, step by step approach to healing that changed the lives of countless individuals worldwide.


The 2010 Dr. Robert Smith Award recipient is Suzanne Rymer and she was introduced by Laura Kidd from the D. Bruce Mansfield Center. Suzanne was a true trailblazer when, in 1984, she was asked to develop an alcohol and drug treatment program for older adults in Summit County.  This innovative program became the first of its kind in the state of Ohio and one of the first in the country.


As the Director of Homecare and Supportive Services at Mature Services, she developed the Chemical Dependency Program that later became known as the D. Bruce Mansfield Center. Suzanne was also a licensed social worker and an educator and taught Introduction to Gerontological Services at The University of Akron. She has also authored several books and publications including "Older Adult and Chemical Dependency" in the Ohio State Bar Association's Elder Law Handbook, 3rd Edition (2004).


Throughout Suzanne's professional career, she has been known for her passion for work with older adults. She was able to use this experience to implement a treatment program that not only helped persons with addiction but that was sensitive to the needs of the aging population. Her inspiration is evident in and her message was often two-fold: we need to eliminate the stereotypes of aging the stigma related to addiction. The following words are hers, taken from the D. Bruce mansfield Center Mission Statement that she authored: "We advocate that older adults be valued and treated with respect and dignity, without stigma and discrimination due to age and/or the presence of a chemical dependency."

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Alcohol, Drug Addiction
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