COVID-19 Update


Embracing Technology in Order to Celebrate the Past Fiscal Year


Health Care and Rehabilitation Services (HCRS), southeastern Vermont’s non-profit community mental health agency, held its annual meeting on November 12th for the first time via the international video chat platform, Zoom. Attended by 175 board members, staff, clients, and community members, the event celebrated the agency’s accomplishments and impact on clients during its last fiscal year.

Moving to this digital platform pushed the meeting into new creative directions. One of the highlights of the meeting was a COVID-19 time capsule video. HCRS has had many challenges since COVID-19 hit in the spring, but the pandemic also brought about opportunities for changes, many of which have been beneficial. The time capsule video showed brief clips of staff sharing their stories and showing how staying positive during this stressful time can bring about some special moments.

Attendees were also treated to very special and poignant stories of four guest speakers, all of whom have received services through HCRS. These pre-recorded presentations spoke of these clients’ and family members’ challenges with mental illness or disabilities and how HCRS has supported them for a better life.

Every year at its annual meeting, HCRS gives out dozens of awards and this year was no different. The agency’s James Bartley Community Partnership Award was presented to Groundworks Collaborative in Brattleboro for the profound difference they have made in so many lives in partnership with HCRS.

George Karabakakis, Ph.D., HCRS CEO, stated, “Groundworks has supported the people we mutually serve with compassion and spirit; we have witnessed their determination to serve the most vulnerable in our community.”

Encore awards were presented to five staff as part of HCRS’ employee recognition program. These staff were selected by a group of peers as having gone above and beyond in demonstrating the agency’s core values. Recipients of the Encore Awards include: Adam Altshuler, Ben Brewer, Laura Bryant-Williams, Charlene Hjermstad, and Deborah McNeil.

Anne Bilodeau, Chief Human Resources Officer, gave recognition to 49 staff members for years of service, totaling 465 years, as follows:

35 year service award: Margaret Merrill

25 year service award: Ralph Jacobs

20 year service awards: Jan Bellville, Kevin Houston, and Betty Wall

15 year service awards: Alice J. Bradeen, Laura Bryant-Williams, Lance Cutler, Paul Deegan, Deborah McNeil, Teresa Morrison, Ronald Recchi, Zachary Teller, and Timothy Wood

10 year service awards: Nicole Godin, Winonah M. Levine, Sarah Pettengill, Estelle Reynolds, Annette Vagt, Paula Whitney, and Ashley Wohlford

5 year service awards: Roy A. Anderson, Melisa Beaulieu, David Blaine, Clara Bridges, Jennifer Carrington, Emily M. Chamberlin, Andrew M. Connolly, Laurel P. Denny, Patricia A. Eslin, Christine R. Fields, Anne-Sophie Geha, Catherine Haley, Jillian Hill, Whitney Hussong, Tracy L. Jackson, Brooke Kearney, Elisabeth Keith, Mary Lorah, Heather Marquez, Jeffrey A. Mobus, Barbara Parizo, Briana Plante, Christa Porter, Erica Salamy, Miriam A. Schuldenfrei, Deborah Shaw, Danielle Southwell, and Robert Withrow

“Our annual meeting is an opportunity to recognize many board members, staff, and partners,” states Karabakakis. “This year’s event was even more special as we celebrated these recognitions from what has been an exceptionally challenging year.”