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Hope, Recovery, and Wellness Awards

Home » Hope, Recovery, and Wellness Awards

The Hope, Recovery, and, Wellness Community Awards are presented to community organizations or individuals that continually support Meridian’s commitment to enhancing Hope, Recovery, and Wellness in the lives of those we serve.

At our annual meeting, we unveil our latest annual report and recognize individuals and businesses that have made a difference in the mental health community. This year, we recognized six individuals during our virtual 42 Minutes presentation. Below are the 2020 Hope, Recovery, and Wellness Award winners!


Sheriff Sadie Darnell with Meridian President/CEO, Don Savoie

Sheriff Sadie Darnell is a long-time supporter of Meridian and mental health initiatives. She also recently played a key role in the mobilization of a Co-Responder team in Alachua County. In only a few months, the results have already been impressive, diverting 80% of individuals who would have been Baker Acted or arrested to more effective and less costly treatments. Sheriff Darnell is passionate about mental health and shares freely her commitment to helping those affected by mental illness in the community.


Ken and Denise Bennett

Ken and Denise Bennett were essential benefactors in the renovation and creation of the Family Center at William Manor at our Lake City location. Additionally their gifts this year helped to launch the much-needed tablet program, providing tablets and data to individuals receiving care remotely during the pandemic. Ken and Denise are committed to the community and have an incredibly strong affinity for mental health. We are grateful that they continuously partner with us to help move the needle on care. Thank you, Ken and Denise!


Kelly Waters

Kelly Waters and Debra Land are both employees of the Suwannee County School District and are committed to the mental healthcare of their students. Kelly and Debra were instrumental in securing funding from their board to continue mental healthcare for their students with no insurance or that had prohibitive insurance deductibles to ensure their mental health needs were met. We are grateful to Kelly Waters and Debra Land for modeling best practices in supporting community-based mental healthcare to students in the face of uncertainty. Thank you, Kelly and Debra!


Commissioner Robert “Hutch” Hutchinson

Commissioner Robert “Hutch” Hutchinson supported the development of reduction efforts of jail for those with behavioral health issues and the creation of a strategic plan to address these types of issues. He is a vocal advocate in the commission for Meridian’s efforts and funding, he prioritizes mental health funding, and he is a vocal initiator of Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) being in the community. We are filled with gratitude for all the ways Hutch has made an impact on the mental health, the reach is broad and deep. Thank you, Commissioner Hutchinson!

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