Two Fayette County residents were recently honored at the Paint Valley Alcohol, Drug Addiction and Mental Health (ADAMH) Services Board’s second-annual recovery celebration.
Cpl. Dirk Witherspoon of the Fayette County Sheriff’s Office was named the Crisis Intervention Team Champion at Thursday’s event held at the Sunroom at the Brick in Frankfort. Witherspoon used his de-escalation skills from his CIT training to assist a resident who was in crisis, according to ADAMH.
He was able to “peacefully, without use of force, develop a rapport with the man and convinced him to return to his home. Later that same night, he was called back to the same residence and was able to reengage the man, this time getting him to agree to get the help he needed.”
Witherspoon was nominated by Dr. James Hagen.
The Prevention Advocate award went to Kylena France, of Community Action Commission of Fayette County. She was nominated by Christina Blair.
“Over the past year, under Kylena’s leadership, the Prevention Coalition has held several events to promote prevention in Fayette County,” according to ADAMH. “From making the case for prevention to advocating with local businesses to attend responsible server training, Kylena has been busy working to enact change in our community.”
During the event, executive director of the Paint Valley ADAMH Board, Penny Dehner, said, “September is Recovery Month and it is important that we take the time to celebrate and honor individuals doing extraordinary work. For many years, The Paint Valley ADAMH Board has honored an advocate in mental health and addiction. At the first Recovery Celebration last year, a Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) Champion along with Recovery Oriented System of Care Champions were included in our celebration. This year we were happy to add a focus on prevention by adding a category for Prevention Advocate of the Year. We know treatment works, people recover and recovering people work.”
Mike Woody, crisis intervention team (CIT) coordinator for Ohio, served as the keynote speaker. Woody’s message included how important CIT training is for law enforcement officers currently on the front lines of our communities.
He also stressed the importance of how new cadets really need to understand what mental illness is and how it impacts those with this illness. It is imperative that they maintain their readiness and safety precautions, as they also seek to get the person in crisis the help they really need.
The following individuals received Recovery Oriented System of Care Champion Awards for their dedication to the residents of the board region:
– Dr. Kenneth “Jimmy” Laux, Jr., DC, Pickaway County – Acupuncture for Recovery
– Melonie Oiler, RN, Ross County – Narcan Distribution Project
Other awards included:
Mental Health Advocate, Kim Conley, YMCA of Pike County, was nominated by Tandy Cyrus. She has been advocating for the mental health of youth affected by trauma, drug addicted parents, abuse and poverty in Pike County. Providing a safe place for the children to come to everyday and to receive mental health treatment has made a world of difference.
Addiction Advocate, Joe Adray, Family Recovery Services, Highland County, was nominated by Roger Cheesbro. He has been a part of the Family Recovery Services for over 21 years. He has served as counselor, clinical director, executive director and president providing direction to staff and assisting those struggling with addiction to find a path to recovery. The last two-and-a-half years Adray has assisted in the transition of leadership within the agency, working to ensure the legacy of addiction treatment and recovery in Highland County and the surrounding region continues.
Paint Valley ADAMH Board is a political subdivision of state government, created in 1967 by the Ohio legislature to ensure the availability of community-based addiction and mental health services for the residents of Fayette, Highland, Pickaway, Pike and Ross counties.
Reach Ryan Carter at 740-313-0352 or on Twitter @rywica.