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Nov 20, 2014

City Commissioner Nick Fish Honored with David G. Fitzpatrick Spirit Award at Janus Annual Dinner

Left to right: Michael Buonocore, Home Forward Executive Director and Janus Board Vice President; Nick Fish, Portland City Commissioner; Steve Rudman, Retired Home Forward Executive Director

Every year at the Janus Annual Dinner we take an evening off to recognize our dedicated staff and those in the community who are making a difference in the lives of the children, youth and families we work with every day. 

Dennis Morrow, Janus Youth Programs’ Executive Director, recognized more than 20 staff members reaching a length of service milestone including Debbie Mead, Payroll Manager, who has worked for Janus for 30 years.

“For three decades Debbie has filled our lives with joy and always made sure that everyone got paid. Not because it’s her job, but because of the level of caring and commitment she has for each staff and her deep understanding of the profound impact they are having on the youth we serve,” said Morrow. 

In addition to Mead’s 30 years of service, nine staff were recognized for five years of service, six for 10 years, four for 15 years and one for 20 years adding up to 215 years of service working on behalf of children, youth and families in Oregon and Washington.

Janus’ Board of Directors also honored Linda Murphy, Human Resources Director, with the Helen Reser Bakkensen Award presented by Helen’s son John Bakkensen. Named after Helen Reser Bakkensen who lead the charge in the mid-1980s to ensure Portland’s homeless youth would have a safe place to sleep and help to get off the streets, the award is inscribed with “Take Care of My Children.” With Linda set to retire next year, this award could not have come at a better time to recognize her contributions over the past 23 years taking care of the staff that take care of the children, youth and families Janus serves.

Left: Dennis Morrow recognizes Debbie Mead for 30 years of service. Right: Linda Murphy receives the Helen Reser Bakkensen Award.

Stars for Kids Awards for 2014 were presented to Eileen Priebe, a substitute teacher for the Evergreen School District who has become an invaluable asset to our Oak Bridge Youth Shelter while working on-site to tailor educational experiences for youth in the program, and Catalyst Partnerships NW for bringing together 100 volunteers who donated 530 hours of labor for several construction projects at our Cordero program.

The Suburban Southwest RE/MAX Equity Group branch office received The John P. Zuercher Champions for Children Award. For more than 15 years, they have shared the holidays with youth in our Imani program, making sure they each have a gift to open for Christmas.

The David G. Fitzpatrick Spirit Award, which honors the memory of long-time Janus board member Dave Fitzpatrick, was presented to Portland City Commissioner Nick Fish by Janus Board Vice President, Michael Buonocore, Executive Director of Home Forward, and Dave Fitzpatrick’s wife, Maryalice Russell, Superintendent of the McMinnville School District. Nick was recognized for his enthusiastic support of Village Gardens and for his years of service as a member of the Portland City Council where his passion for civic engagement can be seen in everything he does on behalf of Portland and its citizens.

Left to right: Michael Buonocore, Home Forward Executive Director and Janus Board Vice President; Nick Fish, Portland City Commissioner; Maryalice Russell, Superintendent of the McMinnville School District

Before the evening concluded, Janus board member Karen Schartman deviated from the program to recognize a special attendee, just-retired Executive Director of Home Forward, Steve Rudman. In addition to shaping Home Forward as one of the best housing authorities in the country, Steve has been committed to creating more affordable housing in Portland for over 30 years.

“Steve has been a partner, innovator, leader and generous supporter of Janus’ Village Gardens program. In 2011, Janus’ Board had the privilege of recognizing Steve with its Champions for Children Award, but with Steve here tonight, we just couldn’t let this evening happen without saying thank you for all he has done,” said Schartman. 


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