The National Alliance on Mental Illness Oregon recently awarded Oregon State Senator Betsy Johnson and State Representative Andy Olson the 10th Annual Gordon and Sharon Smith New Freedom Award.
Created in 2009 to honor the mental health advocacy efforts of former United States Senator 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.
Approximately 300 people attended the dinner and award ceremony at the Portland Downtown Waterfront Marriott in October.
State Sen. Betsy Johnson, D-Scappoose, is serving her third term. Johnson has served on numerous local, regional and national boards and commissions, including the Oregon Health Sciences University Foundation, Doernbecher Children’s Hospital, the Oregon Public Broadcasting Foundation and the High Desert Museum.
Johnson currently serves on a number of regional boards, including the Board of Visitors, Northwestern School of Law of Lewis and Clark College. She also serves as the president of the Samuel S. Johnson Foundation.
State Rep. Andy Olson, R-Albany, is currently serving his seventh term in the Oregon House of Representatives. His legislative district includes portions of Linn and Benton County.
Prior to serving in the legislature, Olson spent 29 years as a state policemen. During his time in the legislature, Representative Olson has served as Co-Chair of the Public Safety Task Force, and co-chairman of the Criminal Justice Commission. He also serves as a member of the Joint Ways and Means Subcommittee on Human Services.
The National Alliance on Mental Illness of Oregon is a statewide grassroots organization with more than 1,700 members in 14 affiliates; it is one of 50 state organizations that comprise the National Alliance on Mental Illness. 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.