Health Care and Rehabilitation Services celebrates 50th Anniversary

SPRINGFIELD — Health Care and Rehabilitation Services, southeastern Vermont's community mental-health agency, held its 2017 annual meeting on Wednesday, Nov. 8, at the Great Hall in Springfield.

Over 150 board members, staff, clients, legislators, and community members attended the event where successes of the Agency during the past year were highlighted. Three individuals who receive services through HCRS bravely spoke of their experiences and the difference HCRS has made in their lives.

A fourth guest speaker, Windham County Sheriff Keith Clark, spoke eloquently of his experience with post-traumatic stress disorder and his desire to commit suicide. He described his own feelings of not wanting to seek help due to the stigma around mental illness and hopes that by sharing his experience, he can help others who may also need help to seek support.

Following the guest speakers, George Karabakakis, Ph.D., HCRS CEO, presented a record 72 awards. Mike Smith was presented with a Community Partnership Award for his passion, dedication, and commitment to making a difference in the lives of young people in our communities.

Encore awards were presented to six staff for going above and beyond in demonstrating the guiding values of the Agency: Michelle Emery (Therapeutic Activities Coordinator), Karla Hill (Community Outreach Specialist), Heather Marquez (Case Manager I), Heidi Spaulding (Case Manager II), Renae White (COS Team Leader), and Katrina

Whyman (Clinician II).

Karabakakis also handed out service awards to staff, honoring them for 610 years of combined service to the agency. An award for 25 years of service was given to Kimberly Lewis (Respite Provider).

Six awards were presented for 20 years of service to: Sue Ann Forcier (Eldercare Coordinator), Christopher Houston (Kindle Farm Para Professional), Pamela Lysitt (Licensed Practical Nurse), Lisa Nicholson (Area Manager), Linda Simoneaux (Residential Services Manager), and Kathleen Tyler (Residential Specialist).

Service awards were also presented to 11 staff for 15 years, 13 staff for 10 years, and 34 staff for five years of service. HCRS is proud to honor all of these staff for their years of dedication. It is their commitment to the Agency that allows HCRS to provide quality programs and services to its communities.

A gift of appreciation was also presented to Board Members Sarah Carter, Keith Clark, and Mike Davidson whose terms expired. Each of these Board Members have contributed to the Agency's ongoing progress in immeasurable ways. New Members Jeff Acker and Phillip Kasten were welcomed to the Board.

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