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NAMI honorees at annual awards ceremony include veterans

ELYRIA — A new program for spouses of veterans dealing with a loved one’s post traumatic stress disorders or traumatic brain injuries will be discussed among mental health professionals at the annual meeting and award ceremony of the National Alliance on Mentally Illness of Lorain County.

The meeting and ceremony, which is themed this year as a “Tribute to Our Veterans,” will be Monday at the Elyria Transportation Center and is not open to the public. Several area veterans, including Arthur Goodman, Sam Felton, Richard Gundlach and Betty Weaver, will be recognized for their service in the armed forces as well as their commitment to mental health services in Lorain County.

The new program NAMI will begin offering in July is known as Homefront. Clare Young, NAMI executive director, said other NAMI offices nationwide offer Homefront programs, and she’s pleased NAMI of Lorain County is coming on board.

Young said the Lorain County program will specifically focus on helping spouses and significant others of veterans dealing with such issues.

“We’re trying to get the word out because NAMI is dealing with more families who are suffering in this way,” Young said.

The free program will run for six weeks, and people who attend also will be encouraged to attend other family support groups NAMI offers or to give back as a Homefront program facilitator in the future.

Those interested in learning more about the Homefront program can call NAMI at (440) 204-4390. In the meantime, family support groups are in Oberlin at Grace Lutheran Church, 310 W. Lorain St., the first and third Thursdays of every month at 7 p.m. or the Nord Center, 6140 S. Broadway, Lorain, on the second and fourth Tuesdays at 6:30 p.m.

In addition to the veterans scheduled to be honored Monday, several other citizens will receive awards. Elyria police Sgt. Dee Bermudez will receive the Crisis Intervention Training Officer of the Year Award, Lorain County Jail Administrator Andrew Laubenthal will receive the Leadership Award and North Ridgeville resident Steven Vernak will receive the NAMI Inspiration Award.

Contact Jon Wysochanski at 329-7123 or jwysochanski@chroniclet.com. Follow him on Twitter @JonWysochanski.

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