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Spirit of Meridian awards honors community partnerships

Jun 11

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Monday, June 11, 2012  RssIcon

MUNCIE -- The annual Rialzo gala and fundraiser for Meridian Health Services isn't only about getting on the dance floor and jamming to the Pointer Sisters, Kool & the Gang or the Fifth Dimension.

It's also a time to celebrate the partnerships between the health agency and the East Central Indiana community.

"We like to brag about our employees and the people in the community who help Meridian succeed," said Hank Milius, the agency's president and CEO. "In front of some of the most influential people in our community, it's great to honor people with more than a memo, but with an award ceremony. That's the idea behind the Spirit of Meridian awards."

Deceil Moore, the clinical regional manager for MHS, and David Chastain, the director of special education for Jay Schools, will be honored during Rialzo III on May 19 with the Spirit awards.

Moore has been an employee of Meridian for more than 18 years, managing the medical and behavioral needs of clients in a multi-county area.

Although she's not certain, Moore believes her work with Connections is the reason for her award nomination. Moore and others on the staff created Connections, a program to assist people with both disabilities and mental disorders, in 2004. While she's proud of many things accomplished at Meridian, she believes the creation of this program, unique to the behavioral health industry in Indiana, stands out as something noteworthy for the community.

"It's really an honor to be thought of for this award," Moore said. "Connections has been a collaboration of a lot of people's work. We started in three counties and now serve 25 counties and 900 people. It's an important program and I'm pleased to be a part of it."

Meridian also uses Rialzo to honor efforts outside of the organization.

Honoring someone from the community has been important to Milius and others at the agency due to what he calls "successful collaborations" with school corporations, local hospitals and community nonprofits.

Honoree David Chastain has assisted Meridian with school collaborations in recent years, increasing the number of academic partnerships to 50 as of 2011.

"People like Dave help us tell our story. People like him know where the most work needs to be and they help us get there," said Scott Smalstig, a Meridian employee and a Rialzo coordinator. "It takes a team to do the work we do and we're happy to have Dave on our team."

Throughout the Rialzo gala, visitors will have the opportunity to see videos about the honorees to learn more about their efforts. Award winners will be on hand to speak to the audience about their work.

Previous award winners honored at Rialzo said they were encouraged by the community members who thanked them for the work they do.

As social workers, educators, medical professionals, counselors and others in the "giving" industry, their work is focused on others, never on them. But it's nice to get a "thank you" every once in a while, especially at a gala.

"I'm definitely excited about Rialzo this year. I'm all set with my dress and everything," Moore said. "I'm really honored to be a part of this as an award winner. And I hope it bring more attention to the work we do and the people we serve."

Source: TheStarPress

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