John O'Leary will recount his on rise from personal tragedy at the Aug. 27 Tri-County Phoenix Gala.
The 22nd Tri-County Annual Meeting and Phoenix Gala VII will honor Northland leaders in efforts to promote mental health and combat substance abuse Aug. 27.
Featured speaker will be John O'Leary, who was burned over 100 percent of his body at the age of nine and given less than a one percent chance to survive. But after months of hospital care, years of therapy and dozens of surgeries, he did far more than survive. Now a college graduate, business owner and hospital chaplain, he is an international speaker, husband and father. With emotion and humor, O’Leary challenges every audience to dream again, re-ignite their passion and take positive action.
The Phoenix Gala also celebrates the accomplishments of local leaders and community members who have helped those with mental illness to “rise again” by rebuilding their lives. The 2012 honorees include Tom Brown, Phoenix Award Winner for Community Achievement; Terry Edwards, Outstanding and Retiring Public Official; Prevention Volunteer of the Year, Christal Milligan; and Prevention Partner of the Year, Eric Zahnd.
Brown is chief of staff for Rep Sam Graves, a former Board member of Tri-County, and long time chair of Saint Luke's Northland. He is also a Northland representative on the Saint Luke's Plaza Hospital, Saint Luke's College and the American Hospital Association Committee on Governance. His other leadership positions have included chair of SafeHaven, secretary of the Clay County Economic Development Council and vice president of the Clay/Platte Development Corporation.
Edwards is retiring as Platte Public Administrator where she served for eight years. She previously served as Deputy Public Administrator of Clay County for more than 10 years. She served as a Tri-County Board member for six years, including as board chair and vice chair. She remains on Tri-County’s Executive and Nominating committees and serves as immediate past chair. She has chaired the Missouri Association of Public Administrators and founded the association of family guardians.
Milligan has been an instrumental volunteer for the past 10 years, helping to coordinate substance abuse and related violence prevention programs throughout Ray County. Like all true leaders, she "leads from the front" and is usually the first to volunteer to take on specific tasks. In addition to coordinating multiple programs, as the President of the Ray County Coalition, she has served as the Northland Coalition’s (serving Clay, Platte and Ray Counties) Vice President of Advocacy.. Milligan was also a catalyst in the development of the Ray County Youth Advisory Council (YAC) and is always eager to volunteer her time and talent in working with these dedicated youth.
Zahnd is Platte County Prosecutor and has worked closely with the four prevention coalitions in Platte County, as well as the Northland Coalition, for the 10 years he has been in office. His commitment to prevention includes assigning staff to actively serve on these coalitions, attending trainings and conferences to learn more about the role his office can play in preventing underage drinking and substance abuse, and hosting press conferences and pursuing charges that serve as a strong deterrent to underage drinking and illegal substance abuse. Zahnd also assisted in the recent establishment of the Clay and Platte County Synthetic Drug Task Force.Scheduled to begin at 6 p.m., the Gala will be held at the Hilton Kansas City Airport, 8801 NW 112th Street Kansas City. For additional information, call (816) 468-0400 or visit www.tri-countymhs.org.
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