Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Northville couple win hero award

A Northville couple was presented with the prestigious September Hero Award by Oakland County Community Mental Health Authority for advocating for people with mental illness during the past 20 years.

In honor of its 50th Anniversary, OCCMHA is presenting monthly Hero Awards throughout 2013 to individuals who champion for change, inspire and support others, lead anti-stigma efforts, advocate for equality and independence, and give back to their community.

 Leon and Mary Ellen Judds are two of the original founders of National Alliance on Mental Illness Metro, a grassroots, all volunteer, non-profit organization, dedicated to improving the quality of life for persons with serious mental illness and their families through advocacy, support, and education.

 Leon currently serves as NAMI Metro’s president and Mary Ellen is the treasurer and education chair responsible for the Families in Action and In Our Own Voice programs. They lead one of the largest Annual NAMI Walk teams, known for their bright, yellow T-shirts that read: “Stigma Stinks!”

The Judds are also well-regarded for their warmth and consideration toward parents who are struggling with a loved one’s illness, said Christine Burk, a spokeswoman for OCCMHA.

Nominations for the hero award are due the first of every month and are available online at www.occmha.org. Email completed forms to registerme@occmha.org or send completed forms to Debbie Wisser at 2011 Executive Hills Blvd. in Auburn Hills.

Jerry Wolffe is the Writer-in-Residence and Advocate-at-Large at the Macomb-Oakland Regional Center. He can be reached at (586) 263-8950.