CARES Awards and Recognitions
WASHINGTON COUNTY, Ohio –
The Ohio Association of County Behavioral Health Board annually recognizes community members, frontline workers, and first responders across the state who go above and beyond in helping individuals, families, and their communities deal with the adverse effects of Ohio’s opiate epidemic. In 2021, CARES awards are presented to individuals who dedicate significant time and expertise to their community and those impacted by substance use disorders and the rippling effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.
In this year’s CARES awards, two Washington County community members were recognized for their dedication, Mrs. LeeAnn Price and Mrs. Cathy Harper.
Mrs. LeeAnn Price (pictured with Shaeleigh Sprigg, Washington County Behavioral Health Board staff) has dedicated her time to Washington County in a multitude of capacities. In 2020, she expanded her talent to become a certified peer recovery supporter, a NOVA crisis response team member, and a Question, Persuade, Refer (QPR) suicide prevention training facilitator. She is a mother who uses her powerful story of losing her son to suicide in 2009 to help others. In collaboration with law enforcement, LeeAnn and the “Local Outreach to Suicide Survivors” Team (LOSS) rides along to residences where families have lost a loved one to suicide to assist the family and provide support in whatever fashion that may be needed (funeral arrangements, arranging childcare/pickup, etc.). She offers a “Helping Other People Endure” (HOPE) support group for those who have lost loved ones to suicide. LeeAnn also offers suicide prevention training such as QPR in the community to help educate others that suicide is preventable and how to best intervene with someone struggling with thoughts of suicide. Most recently, she joined the Washington County Crisis Response Team to assist the community in times of tragedy, sudden loss, or catastrophe. She coordinates her “Local Outreach to Suicide Survivors” (LOSS) team with the crisis response team when responding to the community related to suicide deaths.
Mrs. Cathy Harper (pictured with David Browne, Executive Director of the Washington County Behavioral Health Board) has served Washington County for over 19 years. Her life has been forever touched by addiction for the past 22 years when her son Jason had a car accident in high school and developed an opioid addiction. Cathy’s family battled the family disease of addiction together and spreading awareness. Jason accomplished 10 years of recovery and abstinence, in which he had a son and shared his story courageously. Cathy and Jason participated in many opportunities to demonstrate that vulnerable situations require and deserve compassion. They spoke together at Crisis Intervention Trainings for law enforcement and at the local Ohio Police Officers Training Academy (OPOTA). Devastatingly, Jason relapsed and struggled as many did through COVID-19, isolation, the inability to access appropriate health care, and exacerbation of mental health and addiction related challenges. Cathy’s son Jason had a fatal overdose on January 31st, 2021 after two rounds of sepsis and endocarditis. Through COVID-19 and through her son’s struggles with relapse, Cathy continued to organize events to offer families alternative activities that focused on health and prevention. Her voice and advocacy persevered. In 2020, she offered COVID-19 friendly events such as mini farmer’s markets to stay involved in the community. In 2021, she was able to resume her family swim nights and dance parties for families and youth.
The Washington County Behavioral Health Board has endless appreciation for LeeAnn and Cathy. Mental health and addiction are community-wide issues. In order to have a health community, we must have healthy individuals and families. The Board works in partnership with community members to accomplish our goal of a healthy community. By working together, Washington County will be a healthier and more vibrant place to live, work, and grow.
A special thank you to Mrs. LeeAnn Price and Mrs. Cathy Harper for all of your dedication to our mission. You are so deserving of this recognition.
For more information on how to get involved, visit our website wcbhb.org and like our Facebook page “Recovery is Beautiful”.