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Mental Health Champions honored – Local man awarded

Posted on Tuesday, June 3, 2014 at 12:40 pm

The Missouri Mental Health Foundation is proud to honor the recipients of the 2014 Missouri Mental Health Champion Awards on June 3 at the Capitol Plaza Hotel in Jefferson City.

The Seventh Annual Mental Health Champions’ Banquet will once again recognize individuals with mental illness, developmental disabilities and addiction disorders, who make a positive contribution to their community, exemplify commitment and vision, and whose actions have increased the potential for independence in others with similar mental health conditions.

In addition, celebrity keynote speaker, Joe Pantoliano, will join us in celebrating the accomplishments of these remarkable individuals.

The Champions are:  Ms. LuAnn Reese of Middlebrook, Mr. Quentin Miller of Bowling Green, and Mr. Robert Harrison of Columbia.

LuAnn Reese is a tireless advocate for individuals and families living with mental illness.  Through her daily work and community involvement, she continues to raise awareness and understanding of mental health conditions.  She has used her experience as an adolescent and adult living with depression, and raising a son with both mental illness and developmental disabilities; to not only improve their lives, but impact the lives of many families and youth

Quentin Miller is a strong supporter of the self-advocacy movement, where individuals are the primary decision makers in their lives and pursue what is important to them.  He began his journey with Self-Directed Supports in 2011.  The Self-Directed Supports Program permits him to select and hire his own personal care staff and his place of residence, allowing him better control of his life.

Robert Harrison inspires many others on their road to recovery.  He is a role model for individuals who are struggling with addiction disorders and passionate about helping others.  After years of struggling with addiction issues, he went back to school and earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in criminal justice.  He currently serves as the Clinical Director for Reality House Programs, a community corrections and treatment center, as well as a counselor for the Boone County Drug Court Program.

Celebrity Speaker, Joe Pantoliano is an acclaimed actor, director, producer and best-selling author.  His career spans over three decades of memorable roles in films like Risky Business, The Goonies, La Bamba, Midnight Run, Bad Boys I and II, Empire of the Sun, The Fugitive, The Matrix, Memento, Daredevil and Percy Jackson & The Olympians.  He joined the cast of the HBO series The Sopranos in 2001, portraying the psychopathic mobster “Ralphie Cifaretto”.  He has published two books about his own journey through clinical depression and his mother’s mental illness.  With courage, humor and compassion, Joe Pantoliano has put a face on the mental health issue.