Each year, the Athens-Hocking-Vinton 317 Board presents advocacy awards to community members who have done exemplary work in the areas of mental health and substance use disorder prevention, education or treatment. These awards are presented at the Board's annual meeting in October.
Nominations for the 2021 317 Board Advocacy Awards are open through Friday, August 13.
Rita Gillick Mental Health Advocacy Award
The Rita Gillick Mental Health Advocacy Award was established in 1986 in honor and memory of Rita Gillick, an early advocate for those with mental illnesses. Rita was hospitalized for over 25 years of her life and upon discharge became a founding member of The Gathering Place. She was known statewide as an advocate for client’s rights and consumer directed services and served on the Athens-Hocking-Vinton Community Mental Health Board for six years. The award is presented annually to a person who demonstrates the overwhelming willpower of Rita Gillick to never stop in their advocacy efforts for those with mental illnesses.
Valeria “Taffy” Marks Substance Abuse Prevention Advocacy Award
The Valeria “Taffy” Marks Substance Abuse Prevention Advocacy Award was established in 1991 in memory of Valeria “Taffy” Marks, RN, who was a tenacious advocate for support and treatment for those battling personal addictions. An early supporter of substance abuse treatment, Taffy advocated before the Ohio Nurses Association’s House of Delegates in 1978 for the creation of the Peer Assistance Program to help nurses addicted to alcohol and other drugs. Many nurses around the state owe their survival to her efforts. The award is presented annually to a person who demonstrates the strength and courage of Taffy Marks in their advocacy for those struggling with addictions.
Athens, Hocking and Vinton Behavioral Health Awards (multiple)
Each year, the Board presents awards to individuals in each of the three counties for their advocacy for and commitment to the community. In 2017, the Mental Health Advocacy Award and Substance Abuse Prevention Award were combined into Behavioral Health Awards.