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ADM Board Honors Trailblazers at Appreciation Luncheon

Posted by Evolve Thursday, December 3, 2015 1:20:00 PM

About 300 people attended appreciation luncheon on October 21st where we paid tribute to local trailblazers. Those who received Trailblazer Awards include: Mark Salchak, Judge Elinore Marsh Stormer, Patty Slevey and Rev. Patrick J. Barrett.

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 not only to honor the original trailblazers which included Drs. Fred and Penny Frese, Maggie Carroll Smith, Sr. Mary Ignatia and Dr. Bob Smith, but also to provide a forum to recognize individuals who emulate their example and service.


The Maggie Carroll Smith Award

The 2014 Maggie Carroll Smith Award was presented to Mark Salchak who is currently employed at IBH Addiction Recovery Center. Like Maggie Carroll Smith, Mark is seen by others as a persuasive advocate for people in recovery. Mark has demonstrated innovation and creativity to propose in the development of the IBH REACH Project in 2014. He has inspired 65% of IBH residential treatment grads, young in their recovery, to engage in this program to enrich their lives and our community.

His proposal addressed some of the community re-entry struggles of former residential treatment clients. The REACH Project is a community-based, social aftercare program for graduates of IBH Addiction Recovery Center. It continues sober support that “reaches out” to nurture the values and skills learned in treatment, insure long-term recovery, protect the public investment in the rehabilitation and build connections in the community.

REACH has three primary elements:

  1. Provide former residential treatment clients phone support in the initial 30 days after treatment.
  2. Provide community-based, sober enrichment meetings to reinforce and enrich the spiritual values of recovery.
  3. Provide volunteer service opportunities, which engage former residents to repay the community in gratitude for the residential treatment the community provided to them in their time of need. Volunteer service counters boredom many experience when re-entering the community without employment. Volunteering at food pantry and hot meal sites encourages compassion and solidarity with those less fortunate. Working non-addict volunteers reinforce a positive work ethic and help transform negative stereotypes of people in recovery.

Mark has excelled in each of these elements and achieved impressive results:

  • In 2014, 178 volunteers provided 4,313 hours of service through 183 projects.
  • Through August 2015, 194 volunteers provided 4,834 of service through 186 projects.
  • Through the second quarter of 2015, the IBH Outcome Study has shown that REACH participants are 5 times more likely to remain sober than former residents who do not participate!


One final quote from a program participant seems to sum up the impact that Mark has had: “Mark Salchak and the REACH Project are gifts that have been given to this community during a time when addiction is at an all-time high. He is saving lives everyday by having faith, spreading hope and promoting awareness to everyone he comes in contact with”.

Drs. Fred and Penny Frese Award

This year’s award recipient, Summit County Probate Judge Elinore Marsh Stormer, has been the driving force behind innovative and compassionate programs in our community.

There are many significant ways that Judge Stormer has been a Trailblazer. She started the first Municipal Drug Court and the first Mental Health Court in Ohio. These specialty courts were designed to hear all cases involving individuals with severe mental illnesses or addictions who have been charged with misdemeanors or non-violent felonies, with the purpose of diverting as many of these cases as possible away from criminal incarceration into appropriate treatment and services.

This concept of “therapeutic jurisprudence” was her way of recognizing and demonstrating that there are many instances when treatment is preferable to incarceration, especially when the issues resulting in court involvement stem from untreated addiction or mental illness. Both of these programs continue to flourish, not only in Summit County, but have been duplicated across the nation.

Judge Stormer has been a champion across Ohio, serving on the Supreme Court of Ohio’s Advisory Committee on the Mentally Ill in the Courts and its Drug Court Task Force. Now in its 15th year, the Mental Health Court, a collaborative effort between Community Support Services, Probation, and the Court, was recognized as one of five national training sites in the country. Judge Stormer has led efforts to educate probate, civil, and criminal court judges and other court personnel about severe mental illnesses and legal issues affecting people with these illnesses. The Akron Municipal Mental Health Court has helped participants become engaged members of our community through increased availability and access to a wide range of services.

As the presiding judge over the Probate Division, she has addressed the problem of finding guardians by implementing a volunteer guardianship program. In partnership with Jewish Family Services, the Volunteer Guardianship program provides trained, Court-appointed volunteer guardians for indigent wards who do not have family or friends who can help. County Probate Court, in conjunction with Jewish Family Services, trains volunteers to serve as advocates and surrogate decision makers for the wards under guardianship. This program has a huge impact on persons with serious mental illnesses, as they often have very complex needs, but may lack the capacity for responsible decision-making.

As Probate Court Judge, she has also played a central role in strengthening our Assisted Outpatient Commitment program. Working within the Mental Health system, her court has advocated to not only use the court’s authority to commit persons with serious mental illnesses to treatment, but to support them as they progress. She truly views the court’s role through the eyes of those impacted by mental illnesses, and finds ways to provide the oversight, but in a way that is more supportive than coercive.

Judge Stormer is currently a member of the Probate Practices committee of the Ohio Judicial Conference as well as the Best Practices Committee of the Ohio Probate Judges Association. In the past, she has served on their Specialized Courts Committee and the Criminal Justice Advisory Board, Supreme Court of Ohio Advisory Committee on the Mentally Ill in the Courts, as well as numerous other community organizations. Her efforts and advocacy in the Recovery community are well known and NAMI of Summit County acknowledged her many contributions with a HEROES award in 2011.


Sr. Ignatia Trailblazer Award

Patty Slevey, was nominated by several of her co-workers at of Edwin Shaw Rehabilitation Institute, in recognition of the leadership, dedication and compassion she has shown to people struggling with addiction. Patty’s colleagues describe her as “a beacon of hope and a stand up person” who has devoted her career to helping people suffering from alcohol and drug abuse.

She consistently has demonstrated her belief in the utmost potential for those that suffer from the disease of addiction. Ms. Slevey has been an innovator in the field of addictions for over three decades. One specific example of this was her work in helping the Dobkin Center move from abstinence-only based treatment to medication assisted treatment. She has developed counseling programs to help meet the needs of a variety of clients. Her devotion and passion are evident in the work that she has done.

Like Sister Ignatia, Patty continues to inspire and uplift those with addictions with loyalty, compassion, and sacrifice. She is known for her unique style that embodies knowledge, reality, humor and caring. She brings those 12-steps alive for the addict and helps them see that recovery is a personal possibility. Over many years, she has evolved into a natural teacher for many individuals in the addiction field and has served as a mentor to others through her professionalism, knowledge and motivational skills.


Dr. Bob Smith Trailblazer Award

Those honored with the Dr Bob Smith Trailblazer award are known for offering hope and inspiring change in others and the Rev. Patrick J. Barrett, of the Community of Christ Church in Akron, has done so for over 23 years. He is the Senior Pastor and founder of the Community of Christ Church which he and his wife Nyla founded in 1991.

Reverend Barrett understands the needs of people in recovery and opened up the first recovery home ministry 22 years ago, long before they were mainstream. Back in the 90’s, a faith based recovery home was unheard of, but desperately needed. He initially opened just an all-male home but saw the need to house and minister to single women as well.

The person nominating Reverend Barrett referred to his ministry as “the Church of the Broken People”, known for offering safe and sober fellowship to those most in need. His reputation with treatment centers and other community institutions has been built upon his integrity in both sharing and living the message of recovery from addictions and alcoholism.

His standard for recovery has enabled him, with the help of his staff and the people of the Community of Christ Church, to found the Recovery House Ministries. It is his passion to see men and women have the opportunity to interrupt the process of their addictions and live in a clean, safe environment where they are able to gain tools to continue their recovery and build a positive future.

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