Hamilton Awards Presented at Annual Dinner of the Board of Directors - November 2002

Hamilton Center, Inc. is pleased to announce the recipients of this year's Hamilton Awards. The awards were presented on October 29, 2002 at the 2002 Annual Meeting of the Board of Directors at Hulman Center, Terre Haute, IN. Officers of the Board presented the awards. Lieutenant Governor Joe Kernan provided the key note address to an audience of close to 400 people.

Hamilton Awards, which are selected by the Executive Committee of Hamilton Center's Board of Directors, are presented annually. Winners have significantly contributed to the cause of mental health and/or the care of people with mental illnesses, addiction problems, or developmental disabilities. Hamilton Awards have been presented annually since 1981 and are named in honor of Katherine Hamilton, a woman who was devoted to the cause of mental health and improving the care of those in need.

Community Award winners:

Mary Ellen Nease, a special education teacher since 1965, has dedicated her life to enriching the lives of children and adolescents with developmental disabilities. In addition to her professional life, Nease has been active with the Indiana Special Olympics since attending her first event in 1970. She organizes a bowling team, transports students to local and State meets, and is involved in fundraising efforts so that all children and families can participate. Nease's other achievements include starting a Sunday School program in an area children's group home, serving as President, Secretary and Chair of the Medical Committee of Handicapable Camp (camp for children with disabilities), joined Western Smiles Clowns and helps to train other clowns, and serves as a lifelong member of Plainfield Friends Meeting where she educates members about the needs of persons with disabilities.

Business Professionals of America, South Putnam Chapter, is a co-curricular organization whose mission is to contribute to the preparation of a world-class workforce through the advancement of leadership, citizenship, academic, and technological skills. Affiliated with the National organization based in Ohio, there are secondary and post secondary chapters throughout the United States. The Putnam Chapter, like the national organization, has selected Special Olympics as their service project. For the last 30 years, this local chapter has worked with Special Olympics by sponsoring a Rock-A-Thon during the afternoon and evening of a South Putnam varsity high school basketball game. Pledges are gathered and a special guest is invited to talk about Special Olympics. This organization has been the largest contributor to Special Olympics in Putnam County for the last several years. The Advisor to the group is Phyllis Rokicki.

Volunteer Award winner:

Annette Dobson, from Vigo County, has served as a volunteer for her church, Victory Christian Center, for over 11 years. She provides support and hope to sexual abuse victims helping them cope, connecting them with community resources and providing friendship to many women in need. She visits people in their homes, provides transportation to doctor appointments, visits people in the hospital, provides feedback to therapists and other service providers and opens her home to victims' children who she cares for until their mother is able to care for them again. In addition, Dobson and her husband have taught self-help and wellness classes at their church for over eight years. Dobson is described as "selfless" and that "her heart, her passion and her desire to help others are incredible assets to the church."

Staff Award winner:

Ed Ross, Program Manager of Hamilton Center's Vigo County Addiction Services, is the recipient of the Staff Award. Ross began his employment at Hamilton Center in 1988 as a Relief Detoxification Technician. While employed, he became a Certified Addictions Counselor and earned his Bachelor and Master's degrees. Ross was nominated and selected for his leadership and oversight to the Addictions program, his clinical expertise and his "insurmountable enthusiasm" and dedication to the clients he serves. Currently he is President and Treatment Committee Chair of the Vigo County Local Coordinating Council for a Drug Free Community and works very closely with the Judge Robert H. Brown Alcohol and Drug program and the court system to coordinate care and improve the drug and alcohol system by making it better, more productive and more efficient.

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