Behavioral health community honored at awards
GRASONVILLE — Mid-Shore Mental Health Systems Inc. held its 18th annual Caliber Awards luncheon on May 20 at Prospect Bay Country Club in Grasonville. The event honors the work of local organizations and individuals for their contributions to the public behavioral health system in the Mid-Shore region.
Holly R. Ireland, executive director for MSMHS, and Roger L. Harrell, president of the MSMHS Board of Directors’ and health officer for Dorchester County, began the event with a welcome message introducing the event’s guest speaker, Dr. Barbara J. Bazron, executive director of the Behavioral Health Administration for the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. Bazron discussed her vision for the future of behavioral health in Maryland and what the community can do to help bring it to fruition.
About 45 trainers, providers, law enforcement officers, community agencies and individuals, and exiting board of directors and Regional Behavioral Health Advisory Committee members, were honored at the event.
Special Recognition Awards were given to Mid-Shore Community Mediation Center, Charlie Roe with DRI-Dock Recovery and Wellness Center, V. Inez Thompson with Kent County Behavioral Health, Lisa Hymas with For All Seasons, Chuck Adams with Maryland Coalition of Families, Sandi Wiscott with Haven Ministries, Valerie Nwakudo and Stephen Houston with the Roundtable on Homelessness, Anchor Point Inc. and Sgt. Jim Miller with the Easton Police Department.
Affiliated Santé Group recognized several law enforcement officers who recently completed their Crisis Intervention Team certification and were pinned during the ceremony: Jim Miller, Easton Police Department; Dominick J. Ruscitti, Talbot County Sheriff’s Office; Jose E. Hernandez, Cambridge Police Department; John R. Lewis, Cambridge Police Department; Louis E. Nichols III, Cambridge Police Department; Justin R. Todd, Cambridge Police Department; Alex P. Chinn, Easton Police Department; Michelle D. Schuerholz, Easton Police Department; Timothy P. Brewer Jr., Caroline County Detention Center; and Cheyenne J. Chase, Talbot County Sheriff’s Office.
Several legislative representatives were in attendance and presented citations to each of the main award winners: Sen. Addie Eckardt, R-37-Mid Shore; Del. Johnny Mautz, R-37BTalbot; Del. Chris Adams, R-37B-Wicomico; Del. Steven Arentz, R-36-Queen Anne’s; Denise Lovelady, representing U.S. Rep. Andy Harris, R-Md.-1st; Kimberly Kratovil, representing U.S. Sen. Benjamin Cardin, D-Md.; and retiring U.S. Sen. Barbara Mikulski, D-Md. Caroline County Commissioners President Wilbur Levengood, Talbot County Circuit Court Judge Stephen H. Kehoe, Caroline County Court Family Magistrate Jo Ann Asparagus and Queen Anne’s County Schools Superintendent Carol Williamson, were also in attendance.
The Achieving Excellence through Effective Programming award was given to Douglas Devenyns with the Talbot County Department of Corrections for developing an array of services made available to the forensic population and for displaying leadership and foresight into the rehabilitation of that population as program director.
Achieving Excellence through the Empowerment of Consumers was awarded to Alisha Saulsbury for her work with the Trauma, Addictions, Mental Health and Recovery Program through For All Seasons Inc. Saulsbury is a trauma therapist and national trainer who has dedicated her career to working with women in the criminal justice system who are detained in the Caroline or Dorchester County detention centers.
Achieving Excellence through Interagency and Community Collaboration was awarded to the Talbot County Department of Social Services for its Empower Me Program; it was accepted by Susan Merriken and Katie Russ. The program, which focuses on the prevention of child abuse, has collaborated with other agencies and community members to get ahead of the problem and re-evaluate “Good-Touch, Bad-Touch,” and “Stranger Danger,” instead teaching children to trust their gut and identify five safe adults who they can tell when something feels uncomfortable.
Two Lifetime Achievement awards were given out to — one to John Winslow, previous director of the Dorchester County Addictions Program and DRI-Dock Recovery and Wellness Center, and the other to Constance Pullen of Eastern Shore Psychological Services, who has dedicated more than 35 years to the Mid-Shore’s public behavioral health system.
The event brought out more than 100 local consumers, providers and community members. Next year’s event will be held in Dorchester County.
From left are Del. Chris Adams, Mid-Shore Mental Health Systems’ Executive Director Holly Ireland, Del. Steve Arentz, Sen. Addie Eckardt, MSMHS Board President Roger Harrell, Dr. Barbara J. Bazron and Del. Johnny Mautz.