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Commentary: Faces and Voices of Recovery: Annual Event Celebrates Recovery Community


America Honors Recovery, an annual awards event, recognizes the extraordinary and unheralded contributions of one recovery community organization and three of the country’s most influential recovery leaders on behalf of the over 20 million Americans in recovery, and their families. On June 22, grassroots recovery advocates and leaders in business and government will join Congressman John Sullivan (R-OK), co-chair of the Addiction, Treatment and Recovery Caucus, in honoring the award recipients.

This event honors the legacies of two dynamic recovery trailblazers – Joel Hernandez and Dr. Vernon E. Johnson, who dedicated their lives to removing barriers for individuals and families affected by addiction.

Inspired by the tenacity of Hernandez in his efforts against recovery discrimination in the workplace, The Joel Hernandez Award will recognize Richmond, VA-based McShin Foundation, an organization led and governed by the recovery community – people in long-term recovery, their families, friends and allies. Since it was founded seven years ago, McShin has worked tirelessly to link the recovery community with families, professional resources and the community as a whole. They have forged special relationships with local sheriffs in a flagship program bringing the hope and reality of long-term recovery to inmates. The foundation is a powerhouse each September during Recovery Month with more than 7,000 people enjoying their BBQ cook-off, including elected officials and people from many pathways to recovery. The McShin Foundation Recovery Community Center is open to the public 7 days a week, 10 hours a day.

The Vernon Johnson Award honors the legacy of a man who devoted his life to spreading the message of recovery from addiction. Johnson, who is also in long-term recovery, was an Episcopal priest who challenged the conviction that people with alcohol and drug problems had to hit bottom before they could begin to heal.

The 2011 America Honors Recovery Vernon Johnson honorees are all in long-term recovery:

Mike Barry, whose dynamic leadership has helped Kentucky’s statewide recovery community organization, People Advocating Recovery (PAR), grow from a group of five hard-working individuals to a 5,000 member statewide organization. PAR’s mission is to reduce discrimination for those in recovery from addiction and help those still seeking recovery achieve that goal.

Jim Gillen, Clinical Coordinator of Recovery Services at The Providence Center, directs Rhode Island’s first recovery center and resource for thousands of people in need of treatment and care. Anchor Recovery Community Center provides access to support groups, employment and education services, wellness activities, yoga and art classes, sober social events, a telephone helpline and more.

Finally, Roland Lamb, who serves as Director of the Office of Addiction Services of the Philadelphia Department of Behavioral Health, has been an unrelenting advocate throughout his distinguished 35-year career in the addiction field. Under Lamb’s leadership, the Office of Addiction Services has increased access to addiction treatment services, expanded post-treatment support, early re-intervention services and dramatically expanded indigenous recovery community resources.

America Honors Recovery is sponsored by Faces & Voices of Recovery and the Hazelden Foundation’s Center for Public Advocacy. For more information on this year’s honorees and the event go to

Pat Taylor
Executive Director
Faces & Voices of Recovery

3 Responses to this article

  1. Avatar of Ben Bradley
    Ben Bradley / July 12, 2011 at 3:19 pm

    Diana: Twelve-step programs, as part of their Traditions, “do not endorse or oppose any cause” but you can bet your bottom dollar 99 percent of the people involved are 12-step members who promote 12-step programs as a substantial part of what they do here. And of course, in compliance with the anonymity Traditions, they do so as “people in recovery,” and not as part of their 12-step membership.

    The Traditions can be a little confusing at times, but you can trust that they’re all about protecting the programs and fellowships.

  2. Diane Crosby / June 17, 2011 at 4:59 pm

    Hopefully AA and NA are incorporated into their programs

  3. Avatar of Diane Crosby
    Diane Crosby / June 17, 2011 at 4:59 pm

    Hopefully AA and Na and Alanon are part of all of these helpful programs.

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