By Kristin Bednarski
Members of the Partnership for Mental Health celebrated hope and hero award winners in the Greater-Cincinnati area at their annual luncheon in Clermont County Sept. 28.
Ann Hoffman-Ruffner, president of the Partnership for Mental Health announced award winners and played a video highlighting each individual’s contributions in the community.
Hope award recipients included Terry Joe Carter, Mallory Jackson and Troy Owens and hero award recipients included Bill Menard, Lori Cornwell, Heather Helphinstine, Rebecca Born, Joe Lynch, Kim Shepler, Steve Rogers, Lisa Kerwin and Amy Van Strein.
Hope awards are given each year to recognize individuals who have overcome multiple challenges during their recovery, or experience with a mental illness.
Terry Jo Carter, of Cincinnati, received the Hope in Recovery award for the job he has done as a an employee and a volunteer at the Phoenix Place in Amelia.
Mallory Jackson, of Loveland, received the Nancy Minson Advocacy Award, for helping to bring Active Minds, a national suicide prevention organization, to Loveland High School.
Troy Owens, of Mt. Washington, received the Making a Difference Peer Support Award for his involvement at Recovery Center of Hamilton County, where he teaches computer classes.
Hero awards were given to nine individuals who helped improve the mental health of individuals in their communities.
Bill Menard, who passed away in 2009, received the Community Connections Hero Award for his work at Emerson North Hospital.
Lori Cornwell received the Disaster Relief Hero Award for her work helping set up a donation center for tornado victims after a tornado devastated the village of Moscow and affected several other areas in the county.
Heather Helphinstine received the Community Foundation Hero Award for opening “Resale for Autism,” a shop in Withamsville. The shop helps raise money for Austin’s Journey Foundation, named after Helphinstine’s son, to assist families with children who have Autism.
Rebecca Born received the Sexual Abuse Awareness Hero Award for creating “Connections: A Safe Place,” an organization dedicated to serving victims and educating the community about sex abuse.
Joe Lynch received the Suicide Prevention Hero Award. Lynch, who lost his son to suicide in 2010, has organized suicide prevention events and reached out to the community to help educate others about suicide prevention.
Kim Shepler received the Community Youth Hero Award for creating SNAP Dragons, an athletic basketball program for children and adults with special needs.
Steve Rogers received the Officer of the Year Hero Award for his work promoting mental health while he was an officer at Miami Township Police Department. Now Rogers is the Crisis Intervention Team Coordinator for Clermont County.
Lisa Kerwin received the Faith Community Hero Award for her work organizing suicide prevention events in the community. Kerwin nominated Lynch to receive an award and did not know she was also being nominated.
Amy Van Strein received the Education Hero Award for her involvement in also helping to bring the Active Minds program to Loveland High School. Van Strein works as a psychologist at the high school.
Award winners received a plaque and many thanks from members of the Partnership for Mental Health for all of their contributions.
The Partnership for Mental Health is made up of many Greater-Cincinnati organizations and businesses including the Clermont County Board of Developmental Disabilities, Clermont County Mental Health and Recovery Board, Clermont County FAST TRAC and more.
For more information about the Partnership for Mental Health visit www.partnershipformentalhealth.org.