Sen. Gordon and Sharon Smith Honor Sen. Avel Gordly and Judy Cushing with Award

September 21, 2012 – Sen. Gordon and Sharon Smith will present former Oregon State Sen. Avel Gordly and Lines for Life CEO Judy Cushing with the Gordon and Sharon Smith New Freedom Award at a dinner to be held at the Portland Downtown Waterfront Marriott on October 9.

“NAMI Oregon is proud to honor these two individuals who have made such an impact in mental health advocacy and suicide prevention,” said Chris Bouneff, executive director of NAMI Oregon. “They are very deserving of the Gordon and Sharon Smith New Freedom Award.”

Created by NAMI Oregon in 2009 to honor the mental health advocacy efforts of former U.S. Sen. Gordon Smith and his wife Sharon, the New Freedom Award is presented annually and recognizes an individual or individuals for their leadership on mental health issues.

Former Sen. Smith said, "NAMI Oregon has chosen very wisely.  Sharon and I are delighted that Avel and Judy will receive the award that bears our name. Both Avel and Judy have been courageous and eloquent leaders in the effort to bring mental health's subordinate status and suicide's brutal toll out of the shadows.  They are most deserving recipients of the New Freedom Award, and of the gratitude of all Oregonians. Sharon and I are privileged to call them our friends, and we look forward to celebrating their accomplishments this October."

About NAMI Oregon

The National Alliance on Mental Illness of Oregon (NAMI Oregon) is a statewide grassroots organization with more than 1,500 members in 15 affiliates; it is one of 50 state organizations that comprise the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI). NAMI's  mission is to improve the quality of life of individuals with mental illnesses and their families through education, support, and advocacy. Our statewide toll-free Helpline (800-343-6264) is answered by trained volunteers and staff who provide information and referrals to mental health resources. NAMI Oregon is the state’s largest grassroots organization dedicated to education, support and advocacy around mental illness and treatment. All proceeds from the dinner will benefit NAMI Oregon’s free education, support and advocacy programs.

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