I was honored to be one of 4 recipients of this award for 2017. In fact, I could hardly fight back the tears when they read the poem at the luncheon or when I went up for the award. While I’m so thankful to have found a purpose, I couldn’t help but have reflected on the price tag for finding it–the suicide of my youngest son Charles.
I actually attended Grief Circle’s Suicide Loss Group after Charles died. Best thing I did. Even more importantly, it was good that my husband and I went together. It helped me understand to honor each other’s journey.
The other candidates were amazing people.
Mr. Bob Argabright – Bob is a tireless advocate for the students, parents, and faculty of Oak Grove-Bellemeade Elementary School in South Richmond. His efforts at the school have helped draw attention to the needs of this community. He mentors students, recruits volunteers, organizes supply drives, and raises funds to provide them with services. He was honored as Central Virginia’s Mentor of the Year by the Virginia Mentoring Partnership and a nominee for the Governor’s Volunteerism and Community Service Award.
Dr. Danny Avula – Danny is committed to public health both professionally and personally. Professionally he is the Director of the Richmond City Health District and personally he, three friends, and their wives all chose to move to Church Hill together 12 years ago to help rebuild an impoverished neighborhood together. He also serves on many community boards including the Richmond Memorial Health Foundation, Communities in Schools of Richmond, YMCA of Greater Richmond, Richmond Sports Backers, and he is the Vice Chairman of the Virginia State Board of Social Services.
Miss Monroe Hill – Monroe is a local 7th grader who devoted over 1,600 hours to community service in 2016. She is dedicated to many causes including people with special needs, fighting against cancer and other illnesses, depression and anxiety, hunger and those less fortunate, the elderly, Greyhounds, and more. Her biggest project of 2016 was the creation of Spirit of the Pageant – a pageant to showcase the many abilities of those with disabilities.
Mrs. Anne Moss Rogers – Anne Moss, after doing her best to support her teenage son with his mental illness and addiction difficulties, lost him to suicide. She has since become very active in the community supporting other parents and teens struggling with mental health issues. She has been a board member of The Beacon Tree for 7 years, has written articles, and created a website/blog annemoss.com “emotionally naked” where she shares her inner most feelings so others will not feel alone.
2016 Award Recipients: Cindy Harris, Dr. Allison Jackson, Cindy Maynard, and Alexander Sims
2015 Award Recipients: David and Grace Gallagher, Shirley Ramsey, Shirley Richardson, and Anna Whiston-Donaldson