Tri-County Board honors Judge Wall, presents Directors’ Award, holds open house


By Sheryl Roadcap

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TROY — The Tri-County Board of Recovery & Mental Health Services honored Miami County Court of Common Pleas Judge Stacey M. Wall Wednesday evening with its Geraldine B. Nelson Advocacy Award. Also, throughout the day, the board held an open house for the public to tour the organization’s new facility, provide a viewing of the numerous pieces of art included in the 2023 Art of Recovery and then its annual meeting later in the evening, during which Wall was honored.

Annually, Tri-County Board of Recovery & Mental Health Services holds a meeting to recognize those in the community who have “gone above and beyond” in the realm of mental health and addiction recovery. At this year’s annual meeting, Wall was recognized for her “exceptional advocacy” for those struggling with mental health with the presentation of the 2023 Geraldine B. Nelson Advocacy Award. Also during the meeting, the board presented the Directors’ Award to the artist whose work best represented the essence of recovery and mental health new beginnings. This year’s Directors’ Award was presented to Cathy Jeffers, of Centerville, for her textile/sewing/needle-craft quilt entry entitled, “Outside my Window.”

Wall’s work as an advocate for mental health, said information provided by the board, came after seeing a “significant number of cases coming through her court where mental illness played a major role in the defendant’s court involvement.” This prompted her to form an advisory team, and in June 2022, institute the Miami County Common Pleas Mental Health Court.

The Geraldine B. Nelson Advocacy Award has been given out by Tri-County Board of Recovery & Mental Health Services since 2000. Gerry Nelson served as the community relations director at the Tri-County Board for 25 years, retiring in 1995 and then passing away in 1996. According to information provided by the board, Nelson “touched many lives with her inspiring poetry and passionate advocacy for those suffering from mental illness and addiction. Her advocacy was recognized both locally and nationally. In memory and in honor of Gerry, we present this award to individuals or groups who demonstrate exceptional advocacy in the realm of mental health and addiction issues.”

The Mental Health Court is an intensive probation program offering targeted treatment to offenders who have been diagnosed with a serious mental illness and whose illness was a primary factor contributing to their involvement in the criminal justice system. The program is designed to provide participants access to treatment and resources to achieve stability of mental health symptoms, improving quality of life for participants and reducing likelihood of re-offending.

Soon after formally starting the Mental Health Court docket, Wall recognized an opportunity to promote and connect the many agencies and services in Miami County that support mental health, said the Tri-County Board’s information on why Wall was honored. In September 2022, in conjunction with National Mental Health Month, she hosted a Mental Health and Community Services Fair on the Courthouse Plaza in Troy, with more than 50 agencies present. The second fair, in September 2023, was even larger. In keeping with her holistic view of wellness, attendees were treated to chair massages and free haircuts, in addition to a wealth of resources and information.

The Art of Recovery gallery is annually presented at Edison State Community College for a few weeks, Brad Reed, the Tri-County Board’s associate director and chief of community engagement, said, but now with the space available at the board’s new facility, it is then moved to the art gallery in the board’s new building. The timing of the art show lines up with the timing the Tri-County Board’s annual meeting and the presentation of the awards.

Jeffers said of her art, which was posted in the gallery next to her work, “This art quilt was created after a major surgery. It is so hard to be creative when you are in physical pain, and can’t do what you want. Suffering from depression adds another layer of my pain. But I know, I need to start creating, because doing so gives me purpose and eventually helps me to heal.”

The organization’s new building is located at 1280 N. County Road 25A, Troy; it serves as the Tri-counties of Miami, Shelby and Darke Counties’ headquarters office. Tri-County Board of Recovery & Mental Health Services moved into the new facility in November 2022 from its prior location on the fourth floor of the Stouder Center (previously known as Stouder Hospital) on Wayne Street in Troy. The new building houses the board’s administrative offices, community housing offices, a small library, several conference rooms and guest offices, a training center and also a space to be used as an art gallery for the annual Art of Recovery art show.

Reed explained that they waited to invite the public to tour the new facility because they were waiting on some parts of the security system to be implemented. The training center now is ready to be fully utilized by the community.

“This is the first time we have been able to hold (the annual meeting and art gallery) in our new facility. We are very excited,” Reed said. “We have received a good reaction (on the new facility); we’ve heard great feedback so far.”

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