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Everyday Heroes

Everyday Heroes

Camp Venture honored staff in a belated Dr. Martin Luther King event on May 14, at the Venture Center in Sparkill, New York. With a crowd of more than 200 friends and family on hand, some of Venture’s finest were recognized for their service as everyday heroes.

As agency Executive Director Dan Lukens explained; “Our principal founder and first executive director, Kathleen Lukens created this event in order that we might remember the history that inspired our founding but also to celebrate the work we do, the value it adds to lives of the people in our care and most especially, the people who do it. The event is celebrated in Dr. Martin Luther King’s name because, more than any other American, Dr. King embodied the spirt of liberation and equality,” he said.

This year’s keynote speaker was Dr. John Lukens who recounted his first hand experience at the historic March on Washington 50 years ago, an event that was made famous by Dr. King’s legendary, “I have a dream,” speech. “Something was wrong and though we did not know what to do about it, it was that concern that brought us in buses, 200 of us from Rockland County, to our nation’s capital,” Dr. Lukens said. “ There had never been a march like this before and we had no sense of what it might accomplish but we were there because we cared and because we felt that we needed to do something.”

Honorees for 2014 included Dorothy Cox who received the Kathleen Lukens Award and Team Awards for Thomas House and for the Oak Day Program. First responder medals were offered and awards for staff’s term of service.

In honoring Cox, Dan Lukens said:”In all the years I have been here no one person here in this organization or associated with us has embodied the spirit of Camp Venture and that quality of integrity more than Dorothy Cox.” Cox started with the agency as the Murphy House residence Director but for most of her tenure with the agency she served as the agency’s Director of Quality Assurance.

Accepting honors for Thomas House was Earl Lewis and for the Oak program, was Ann Lamanna and Muhamed Fadl. “The staff at these programs are among our best examples of people working together to make the lives of the people they serve better,” said Lukens. “They are an example to all of us.”

For 2014 there was only one first responder medal offered. That medal was accepted by James G, who is a resident of Hibernian House. As Dorothy Cox explained; “ When the house staff were both vigorously engaged with a resident in a potentially life and death situation, it was James who picked up the phone and made the 911 call that brought emergency services to the house. James is a true hero.”

Lisa Kirrane and the team from Human Resources followed the first responder award and Lisa and her colleagues read the roll for the honorees for the years of service. Sam Leopold offered a musical performance, and a slide presentation by Jennifer Kahn accompanied the presentation. Thanks also to Krista Bilodeau, Barbara Voellinger, Terry Freson and the recreation staff for helping out.


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2008 Rockland County Autism Symposium Venture Foundation Address
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