Above and Beyond Award Given Four MHA Staff Members
Their immediate response in an urgent situation demonstrated a confidence and strength of character that reflects the kind of compassionate fellowship that makes the MHA what it is; a setting of help, encouragement and support.
Here are the biographies of each of these four individuals and their comments about receiving the award:
Adrian has worked on Center Team now for 4 months. He has always loved people. He is a talkative people person. Adrian tries to operate his life with love. Adrian is part of a big, Christian, loving family. He loves to sing, read, write, fish and hunt. Adrian is VERY politically active and ran for City Council last year.
Adrian is a father. He is involved with Erie Diocese which is another passion of his; trying to give the opportunity to more kids to have the chance to attend catholic schools. Adrian is also the founder of Kids Matter Too (Child Advocacy Group)
Edna is 40 years old and has 4 brothers and 1 sister. Edna works on the Housing Support Team and has worked at the MHA for 1 year and 6 months. Edna has been a Certified Peer Specialist for 1 year. Edna has also worked as a personal care assistant for 7 years. She loves her job because she gets to assist people and share her experience of being homeless and with mental illness and sharing her recovery with them.
Edna genuinely cares for the tenants she works with. She likes seeing them step out of their comfort zone and try something new. "I would like people to know I care deeply for recovery and to encourage people to take care of themselves and get better because it is possible!"
Josh has worked on Center Team for 12 months. He would like to some day advance in the mental health field. Josh lives for his job, his main priority in life is to get people on their feet, learn about their mental illness and help them in recovery. Josh has a very kind heart, and believes in giving people the benefit of the doubt, people deserve second chances.
"I respect Bills vision for the MHA, would like to make his vision a realization."
Scot has worked on Center Team for 3 and ½ years. He has been in recovery for 6 years, working a 12 step program. Scots inspirations involve helping people with substance abuse and mental illness; he wants to help people to better their lives by enriching them to better themselves, while also benefiting himself. He has a passion for reading, writing and arts.
Above and Beyond Award Presented for 2012
At its February meeting the MHA Board of Directors honored the staff of the Warming Center at MHA with its Above and Beyond Award. This award is given by the Board to individual staff members or MHA programs that have gone beyond their duties and mission to meet the needs of mental health consumers. In awarding this honor the Warming Center at MHA was cited for its quick response to the community request for a Warming Center. Within 2 days the Warming Center was created from the Consumer Center and it has been open every winter night that the forecast was for temperatures below 20 degrees over the past 4 years. The Warming Center at MHA has received many financial donations as well as food, clothing, blankets and hygiene products as the Erie community recognized and supported the important mission of the Center. Thanks to this generosity, this year the Warming Center has been able to open its doors at a temperature threshold of 25 degrees or below. The MHA staff who dedicate their time and energy to be at the Center overnight have been able to provide shelter to hundreds of persons with and without mental health needs who needed a warm, comfortable, accepting place to survive a bitter cold Erie night. Special thanks and recognition go to Melissa Runiewicz, ConsumerCenter Team Leader, who has been the leader and prime organizer of the Warming Center at MHA since its inception.
"Above And Beyond" Awards Presented To MHA Staff
Dec 2 2016 Erie, PA
When MHA staff members find themselves in a situation that requires extraordinary measures, there are those who take up the charge to do what must be done for the safety of our consumers. Such was the case on November 9th of this year when a Center Team member entered the MHA and proceeded to the men’s restroom and overdosed on a street drug. Center Staff were informed by another consumer of the situation and Team Leader Carla Kurpiewski and Center Team Member Scot Valimont rushed to the scene. The victim was slumped over in a stall requiring Mr. Valimont to lift him out and onto the floor. The overdose was by injection and the effect had caused the scene to be a mess of fluids. By all signs the victim was clinically dead and any effort to revive had to be immediate. Without regard for personal well being, Ms. Kurpiewski began CPR aided by Mr. Valimont and the victim was revived in time for the paramedics to arrive and take over the life support process.
The MHA Board of Directors created the "Above and Beyond" award specifically to recognize such selfless acts of compassion and dedication. Without the quick and efficient actions of these two staff members, the victim in this instance may not have survived to find his way to recovery another day. For this heroic effort, MHA Board Chair, Christine Colao-Nickson presented Scot and Carla with Above and Beyond honors in a brief ceremony held December 2nd in the Consumer Recovery Center.
All of us at MHA are very proud of Carla and Scot and thank them for their brave actions that saved a fellow consumer.
Staff receives award
Footnote: MHA is always focused on making our facility safe for our members. While it is disheartening that drug dealing predators are lurking in our neighborhoods searching for vulnerable persons to whom they can sell their poison, we will continue to be vigilant in our building and district to work with law enforcement and our neighbors in the effort to combat this scourge.