Awards

Honorable Judge James T. Walther Awarded the 2015 Ohio Guardianship “Distinguished Service Award”

Honorable Judge James T. Walther and Nita Bring-Mazurek

Honorable Judge James T. Walther and Nita Bring-Mazurek

Judge Walther was awarded the OGA Distinguished Service Award for his accomplishments and support to improving and enhancing best practices to guardianship services in Ohio. Judge Walther instituted a special project fund of the probate court to independently fund the Volunteer Guardianship Program of Lorain County (VGP). The special funding has allowed the only guardianship program in Lorain County provide an essential service to prospective clients age 40 and over who otherwise have no other advocate. The Judge and his staff are available at all of hours of the day as a team approach to help resolve issues with the VGP staff and volunteers to making sure the ward’s needs are getting met in the least restrictive environment.

Since his appointment Judge Walther has been involved with the Lorain County Elder Abuse Network (LCEAN) which is an “Interdisciplinary Team” approach to create awareness of elder abuse issues and to improve the delivery of services for vulnerable older adults while also being available to consult on difficult cases.

Judge Walther serves on a sub-committee of the Supreme Court of Ohio’s Advisory Committee on Case Management on probate matters. The subcommittee recommends case processing time standards for probate cases. Judge Walther also serves on the Subcommittee on Adult Guardianship through The Supreme Court of Ohio’s Advisory Committee on Children and Families. He also serves on two committees of the Subcommittee on Adult Guardianship, the Rules Committee and the Curriculum Committee. The Rules Committee proposed the new Rule 66 of the Ohio Rules of Superintendence, which was implemented on June 1, 2015. The Curriculum Committee wrote the curriculum for the new Rule 66 and was scheduled for rollout on May 14 and 15 in 2015 at the Ohio Judicial Center in Columbus, Ohio.

Judge Walther publicly speaks about best practices to various groups around the state including the OGA conferences as well as the National Guardianship Association conference. Any chance he gets he will recruit volunteers to become volunteer guardians through the Volunteer Guardianship Program. Judge Walther is very dedicated to promoting best practices in elder law and guardianship issues in Ohio and his involvement proves it so.

 

Honorable Judge Allan H. Davis, Judge Hancock County Probate & Juvenile Court Awarded the Ohio Guardianship Association “Lifetime Achievement Award”

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Judge Allan H. Davis & Brenda Starr-Jude

Judge Davis is retiring from the bench in January 2015 after 41 years of service.

He has been keenly aware of the challenges facing guardians and the needs of the wards coming before him.  Becoming increasingly concerned about the care and supervision being provided to wards, he was also finding it more difficult to find attorneys, family members and friends willing to take on the responsibilities of guardianship, especially for the indigent.  In 2004, Judge Davis called a summit of community partners having a stake in the care of seniors and incompetent adults who were adjudicated incompetent in Hancock County.  The result was to set up a volunteer guardianship program that would recruit, screen and train volunteers to serve as guardians.

For three years, Judge Davis set aside money from the Court’s budget to get it started.  He also successfully lobbied the local Community Foundation for tens of thousands of dollars to hire a director and to provide that person with the resources they would need.  Finally, he convinced the Hancock County Agency on Aging, to house the program.  The first director was hired in December of 2005 and the first class of guardians graduated in April 2006.

Judge Davis has continued his commitment to the program both financially, through the payment of certain of the program’s expenses and personally, by appearing at every new class of volunteer trainees.

 

Brenda Starr-Jude Awarded the 2014 Ohio Guardianship “Distinguished Service Award”

Brenda has been a guardian of several patients living in different setting and has been working with catholic charities for last many years as a staff guardian. She has always displayed a high degree of integrity, responsibility and ambition. Brenda is a leader than follower. In addition to her excellent professional accomplishment.

She is also not the one to let circumstances derail her from her goals and have been most routinely impressed by her consistent effecting of change and constructive improvement in patient’s well being and keeping in consideration of wishes of the patient and their families.

She has extensive training and tremendous experience in many different situations and has worked with difficulty families and has proven an expert communicator, problem solver and act very professionally in adverse situation.

She has been always excellent in her availability and communications regarding out mutual patients.

 

Attorney Chris A. Schrader (posthumous) Awarded the Ohio Guardianship Association “Distinguished Service Award”

2013 Award Winner

 

Julia Nack Receives the Ohio Guardianship Association “Distinguished Service Award”

Julia Nack

Julia Riley Nack, M.Ed., MG  has been a member of OGA since 1994.  When the individuals, who mentored her, during her Volunteer Guardian Program’s infancy, went on to other endeavors, she recognized the value of that support and provided mentoring to others.  As this organization has gone through considerable changes in the last decade Julia has been a steadying force.  She served on the OGA Board for many years and has been both theVice President and the President of the Association.

Julia sits on the Board of Directors of both the NGA and the CGC and brings the insights she gains there, to help guide OGA in its growth.  She has followed the NGA Board’s Leader Track and is currently the Immediate Past President.  She adheres to the NGA Standards of Practice on a daily basis and has served as Chair of the Ethics Committee and the Conference Committee and represented NGA as a delegate to the National Summit on Aging in 2012.

At the state level Julia sits on the Supreme Court’s Subcommittee on Adult Guardianship as part of Children Families and the Court.  This committee has three work groups which make recommendations, on guardianship reform, to the Ohio Supreme Court.  Julia leads the minimum standards and certification for guardians work group.  She has assisted the Honorable Thomas A. Swift in his work to establish the state-wide Interdisciplinary Guardianship Committee.

Julia has done guardianship work for over thirty years.  She readily shares her knowledge and insights on guardianship with others.  Julia has made a positive impact on guardianship at both the state and national levels.

 

Wanda Bevington Receives the National Guardianship Association “Outstanding Affiliate Member Award”
Wanda BEach year NGA Affiliates (OGA) select one of their members to receive this honor.

Wanda Bevington has been active in the field of guardianship practice since 1995 when she started a guardianship program in Butler County, Ohio at what was then called Family Services.  Family Services later became LifeSpan and this guardianship program still exists and making a difference in the community to this day.  In 2003, Wanda started her own non-profit agency, Personal Guardianship Services, which she continues to operate with her husband Tom and 4 other dedicated employees.  Currently serving approximately 80 open guardianship cases herself (not including those handled by others in her agency), she has exhibited dedication and compassion as she has worked to advocate for those who are unable to meet their own needs.  She has worked tirelessly to see that as many people as possible are served by the agency she leads and has continuously looked for opportunities to expand into other surrounding counties where no guardianship program exists.  The company most recently has been developing a canine visitation program as they visit wards in nursing home, a program that has been warmly received.

Wanda has also worked to assist families and friends who have been appointed guardians of their loved ones to negotiate the guardianship system in Ohio.  She speaks regularly to local groups and agencies about guardianship practice in an effort to promote a positive image of guardians and to emphasize the need for caring and ethical guardians to serve the many wards who are in need of them.

Becoming involved with the Ohio Guardianship Association over a decade ago, Wanda began serving as a member of OGA’s Board of Directors in 2007 which position she retains and served as the President of the OGA in 2009 and 2010.  Under her leadership, the organization began to take concrete steps toward becoming more than just a loose-knit association by overseeing the rewriting of the organization’s By-Laws, oversaw the contracting for the first paid administrative assistant to the organization and helped establish the first OGA scholarships both to the OGA’s Annual Educational Conference and also to the NGA’s Annual Conference.

Wanda received her Bachelor of Arts Degree from the College of Mt. St. Joseph and a Master of Science in School Psychology Degree from Miami University in Ohio.  She is a National Certified Guardian and a Licensed Social Worker.  In addition to her husband, Wanda has 4 children and 8 grandchildren and resides in Hamilton, Ohio.

Local Probate Courts have called on Ms. Bevington to serve in a number of cases and in one recent published court opinion called her “a highly experienced independent guardian”.  The OGA is proud to nominate Wanda Bevington for this year’s award for making a positive impact on guardianship in Ohio.

 

Kelly C. Patton, Esq Receives the Ohio Guardianship Association “Distinguished Service Award”
KellyEach year OGA bestows this honor on someone who has made a significant impact on guardianship in Ohio.

Kelly was nominated for this award by Susan Wasserman, Esq. & the COAAA Volunteer Guardian Program

As a former magsitrate at Franklin County Probate Court, Kelly Patton was instrumental at paying attention to the special needs of the guardianship population.  Because of these pressing problems her membership and speaking at the NGA conferences reinforced the need for the courts understanding of these problems.  Many counties have public guardians.  Franklin County does not.  Kelly took steps to insure legal services to individuals as required by Oho & made all of the difference to many of our wards.

Our office also had a positive experiences with Kelly Patton.  She served as Magistrate in Franklin County for over ten years.  During part of that time our office did pre-screening for those who were indigent and in need of guardianship services.  Kelly was our liaison.  When a case seemed appropriate we forwarded the information to Kelly.  She would then select an attorney to apply for guardianship.  She was always thoughtful in her selection based on the needs of the individual.  Kelly also carefully scrutinized whether an individual under guardianship could benefit from the personal involvement a volunteer guardian could offer.  She encouraged attorney guardians to transfer appropriate cases to volunteer guardians freeing them up to work on more complicated matters.  In her private practice Kelly now serves as a volunteer attorney on volunteer guardian cases.

Kelly has presented at the National Guardianship Association conference on more than one occasion as well as being a presenter for this year’s OGA Conference.

Brenda has been a guardian of several patients living in different setting and has been working with catholic charities for last many years as a staff guardian.  She has always displayed a high degree of integrity, responsibility and ambition. Brenda is a leader than follower. In addition to her excellent professional accomplishment.

She is also not the one to let circumstances derail her from her goals and have been most routinely impressed by her consistent effecting of change and constructive improvement in patient’s wellbeing and keeping in consideration of wishes of the patient and their families.

She has extensive training and tremendous experience in many different situations and has worked with difficulty families and has proven an expert communicator, problem solver and act very professionally in adverse situation.

She has been always excellent in her availability and communications regarding out mutual patients.Brenda Starr-Jude Awarded the 2014 Ohio Guardianship “Distinguished Service Award”

Brenda has been a guardian of several patients living in different setting and has been working with catholic charities for last many years as a staff guardian.  She has always displayed a high degree of integrity, responsibility and ambition. Brenda is a leader than follower. In addition to her excellent professional accomplishment.

She is also not the one to let circumstances derail her from her goals and have been most routinely impressed by her consistent effecting of change and constructive improvement in patient’s wellbeing and keeping in consideration of wishes of the patient and their families.

She has extensive training and tremendous experience in many different situations and has worked with difficulty families and has proven an expert communicator, problem solver and act very professionally in adverse situation.

She has been always excellent in her availability and communications regarding out mutual patients.

Brenda Starr-Jude Awarded the 2014 Ohio Guardianship “Distinguished Service Award”

Brenda has been a guardian of several patients living in different setting and has been working with catholic charities for last many years as a staff guardian.  She has always displayed a high degree of integrity, responsibility and ambition. Brenda is a leader than follower. In addition to her excellent professional accomplishment.

She is also not the one to let circumstances derail her from her goals and have been most routinely impressed by her consistent effecting of change and constructive improvement in patient’s wellbeing and keeping in consideration of wishes of the patient and their families.

She has extensive training and tremendous experience in many different situations and has worked with difficulty families and has proven an expert communicator, problem solver and act very professionally in adverse situation.

She has been always excellent in her availability and communications regarding out mutual patients.