COMMUNITY MEMBERS RECEIVE JOHN MURRAY AWARD FOR THEIR WORK WITH LOCAL FAMILIES AND CHILDREN
JUDGE CHARLES “CHIP” HENRY ALSO HONORED
Chardon, OH. October 31, 2011 – Two community members were recently recognized for their passionate work on behalf of Geauga families and children at the 6th “John Murray Commitment to Families and Children Award” reception held at the Geauga Public Library System Administrative Center. The Geauga Family First Council, a collaborative of local agencies and community representatives, sponsors the event.
2011 Award winners are:
- Rochelle Payne – a Service Coordinator with Geauga Help Me Grow. Rochelle had been nominated four times for the award but her nominations were unique in that two were because of her work as the Ravenwood Mental Health Center’s child case manager, a very different position.
- Dr. William Rowane – Ravenwood Mental Health Center’s child psychiatrist. Dr. Rowane has worked in this capacity for 16 years and is known as a tireless advocate for his clients.
“This award is presented on a bi-annual basis to individuals in Geauga County, who have exhibited a continued commitment to Geauga’s families and children, coupled with a special passion for their work,” says Betsy Griffin, President of Geauga Family First Council and the Geauga County Outreach Coordinator for Starting Point, Northeast Ohio's child care and early education resource and referral agency.
Since 2001 Geauga Family First Council has presented the John Murray Award to individuals who “go above and beyond” in supporting and advocating for children and families whether as a direct service volunteer, a board member, a human service professional or some combination of all three. This year the Council received nominations for 10 individuals “all of whom significantly impact the lives of Geauga’s children making the selection process extremely difficult,” according to Nancy Seelbach, the Geauga Family First Council Coordinator.
As Brad Welch, the Council’s Case Services Coordinator, said in his presentation, the two award winners had many special qualities in common. According to Rochelle Payne’s nominator, Rochelle is viewed by her Help Me Grow colleagues and families as compassionate and thorough but above all a strong advocate for young children and their families. Dr. William Rowane was described as very thorough and thoughtful in his assessments of children and a “beacon of light for parents of children with mental illness.”
The award is named in honor of John Murray, an original member of Geauga Family First Council and the Geauga County Administrator from 1993 to 1999. “John Murray epitomized the phrase ‘above and beyond the call of duty’”, Jim Adams, the Geauga Mental Health and Recovery Services Board Executive Director recalls. “John was interested in the progress of each child and in his own quite but effective way, pushed Geauga Family First Council and other local agencies and administrators to keep the best interest of each child and family at the heart of their decision-making.” The John Murray Award was established by Council in 2001. Past winners include: Martie & Bob Ballish, Ruth Carlton, and Joann Leach in 2001; Susan Hallums, Judge Charles Henry, and Andrea Pollock in 2003; Deputy Joe Keough, Linda Myers, and former County Commissioner Bill Repke in 2005; Dr. Heng Wang, Lynn Kempf, Wally Waldbauer, and Frank Scarano in 2007; and Tracy Jordan, Meredith Myers and Helyne Walker in 2009.
Another very special presentation was made at the reception in memory of Judge Charles Henry who was killed in May in a tragic accident. Like John Murray, Judge Henry was a founding member of Geauga Family First Council and a person who always went above and beyond on behalf of Geauga’s children. Judge Henry was a recipient of the John Murray award in 2003. The award presented to Judge Henry’s family on October 17, 2011 contained the following inscription – “Judge Charles Henry – a man with a heart full of grace, humility, service, integrity and love for family.” He is greatly missed by all.
The Geauga Family First Council is a partnership of government agencies and community organizations committed to improving the well-being of children and families. Through prevention, early intervention and the provision of services which support the entire family the Council is strongly committed to helping remove barriers for Geauga’s children. The Council has helped develop, and currently funds, a wide range of community-based services which include the BRIDGES Program, Family Strengths, the Family Stability Program, Geauga Therapeutic Youth Center, and Help Me Grow.
Nominees (listed Left to Right)
Deborah Pruce, Gina Schultz, Amy Lanese, Rochelle Payne, Ann Mlinar, Dr. William Rowane, Melanie Baker
Not pictured: Ann Bagley, Tracey Fronk, Deputy Roy Lundstrom