Mental Health Alliance of Porter County Presents Awards

By: Porter-Starke Services Last Updated: September 22, 2009

Thursday, September 17, 2009, the Mental Health Alliance of Porter County recognized a number of individuals for their leadership, advocacy and service in promoting mental wellness. Held at Strongbow Inn, the annual awards event brings together the boards of directors from Porter-Starke Services, Inc., the Porter-Starke Services Foundation, Inc., and Mental Health America of Porter County.

Don Evans (L) accepts the Patient Care and Advocacy Award from Rocco Schiralli.

These individuals were honored with the following awards:
Bob Jacobs: the Porter-Starke Services Foundation Impact Award. Pat Puffer of Harris Bank and Foundation member, presented Jacobs with the award for his outstanding leadership and assistance with the Porter-Starke Services Foundation board over the last year. "I'm really humbled by this, and can promise you that I've gotten much more out of serving than the little bit I feel I've contributed," Jacobs said in his acceptance remarks.

Dr. John Johnson: the Aled P. Davies Ward for Public Policy on Health. Presented by Porter-Starke Services CEO Rocco Schiralli, Dr. Johnson was recognized for his ever-present support of mental health policy, expanded services and integration of behavioral health into primary healthcare. A 23-year member of the Porter-Starke Services board of directors, Johnson said the award motivates him to continue to participate at a high level. "I'm very proud to be associated with Porter-Starke Services, because whenever the community is in need, Porter-Starke always does the right thing," he said.

Donald Evans: The Patient Care and Advocacy Award. Evans was presented his award by Sandy Carlson, Porter-Starke Services' Vice President of Clinical Services, assisted by Maria Micka, Case Manager Supervisor, and Amy Barriball, Financial Specialist. Evans serves as guardian for a number of Porter-Starke Services clients and was recognized for his compassion and guidance, as well as preserving their autonomy, dignity and sense of self-worth. "Working with people brings me great joy, and I've been blessed to work with some really great people," Evans said, accompanied by his wife Kathy, and two of his office staff.

Dr. Timothy Ames: The Porter-Starke Services Award for Community Mental Health. Dr. Ames was presented his award by Bob Franko, Vice President of Development & Marketing, and was recognized for his leadership and advocacy for integrating primary care with behavioral health. As the Medical Director of HealthLinc, Dr. Ames is leads the integration efforts in the primary care center. "I'm honored with this award, but more pleased to be able to bring better care to more people through our partnership," Ames said. "We're bringing better services and getting better outcomes for a population that is often ignored and forgotten."

Todd Willis: The Robert A. Anderson Award for Community Education and Service. Willis was presented his award by Rocco Schiralli, and was recognized for his consummate professionalism, dedication to community education, and ongoing advocacy for mental health services, particularly with children. Willis the Director of Children's Services at Porter-Starke. "I love what I do," Willis said. "I wake up in the morning, and I love going to work because of what I do and the people I work with."

Jennifer Cimbala: United Way of Porter County Volunteer of the Year Award. Kathy Wojkovich of the United Way presented Cimbala with the award for her volunteer work with survivors of suicide and death from addictions at Mental Health America of Porter County. Cimbala is a 16-year employee of Porter-Starke Services, and is an outpatient therapist. "I've personally witnessed what people go through who have lost loved ones to suicide or addictions, and I tell them that I'm not just a therapist, I'm a survivor too," she said.

Todd Willis (L) and Rocco Schiralli pose with the Robert A. Anderson Award for Community Education and Service.

Mary Sexton: United Way of Porter County Volunteer of the Year Award. Wojkovich also awarded Sexton a Volunteer of the Year Award for her work leading the Healing Hearts survivor group, a group for people who recently lost a spouse. Sexton is not only a member of the group, but learned to become a facilitator and now leads the support group. "This award means more to me than you'll ever know," Sexton said in her remarks.

Jenni Scheider: Friend of Mental Health America of Porter County. Mary Hodson, Director of the Mental Health America of Porter County office presented Schieder with the award. Schieder is a designer at Von Tobel's Lumber and Home Center, and assisted the MHA with an office makeover including new cabinetry, flooring and painting. "I was very happy to help Mental Health America and for all the crew that helped us out, it was a very rewarding experience," she said in her acceptance remarks.

Vicki Urbanik: Distinguished Service Award. Urbanik was recognized for her leadership as the MHA Board Chairman, and her time and dedication to those that serve and are served at the MHA. "I'm humbled to work with some very good people on this board," she said. "There are a lot of people who serve as mentors and friends on this board."