Ecker Center announces 2019 award winners
Ecker Center's sixth annual "Wishes for Wellness" brunch was held at the Elgin Country Club during a spring snowstorm on Sunday, April 14. Pianist Murna Hanseman entertained the guests.
Deserving individuals honored this year were Gretchen Vapnar, executive director of Community Crisis Center, who received the Maureen Withers Award; Lina Schiess-Garibay who received the Outstanding Employee of the Year award; and Gary Kosnoff, recipient of the Friends of Ecker Award.
These individuals are representative of our community's finest.
Schiess-Garibay is currently Ecker Center's Bilingual Intake/Assessment Specialist and was nominated by Ecker employees. They said "Lina is truly compassionate, patient and empathetic with the clients she serves. She has a beautiful heart and makes such an impact in other's lives."
Vapnar is an accomplished speaker and successful fundraiser. She has been the dedicated executive director of Community Crisis Center since 1980. Under her leadership, the center has become a nationally recognized multi-service agency that provides domestic and sexual assault programs, a crisis hotline, an economic assistance, abuse intervention, a children's program, a shelter, and a source for community and professional training.
Gary Kosnoff has been consistently helping Ecker Center for well over 15 years. He began as Ecker's knowledgeable health insurance broker who soon began soliciting his company's sponsorship for Ecker's fundraising events and recruiting his wife, Pamela, and their children, to volunteer to help the center.
The center opened in Elgin in 1955 to provide affordable psychiatric and related services such as therapy, case management and psychological testing. In the first year of operations, it served 59 adults and children. Dene Ecker was the organization's first executive director and the Fox Valley Mental Health Center was renamed the Ecker Center for Mental Health in 1983, a year after he retired. During the deinstitutionalization movement in the 1970s, the center began working closely with adults who were released from the Elgin Mental Health Center. In 2013, the Ecker Center assumed responsibility for the former Larkin Center's adult residential and counseling programs. As a result, the Ecker Center began providing counseling and psychiatry for children and adolescents once again.
The Ecker Center, which has locations in Elgin, Streamwood and St. Charles, provides sliding fee scale services to residents of 10 townships in the northern two-thirds of Kane County and two townships in Cook County (Barrington and Hanover townships).
To request an appointment, call (847) 695-0484. For information, visit eckercenter.org.