Orchard Place Gives Thanks

On Monday, November 30, more than 300 community members gathered at Orchard Place for the Annual Thanksgiving Celebration. A delicious traditional Thanksgiving meal was provided, followed by recognizing 5 individuals who have helped further the mission of 'building brighter futures' for Iowa's kids. The awards and award winners are as follows:

The 2018 Orchard Place Volunteer of the Year Award Winners:  Neil and Anne  Broderick

Pictured: Anne Starr, Anne Broderick and Neil Broderick.

Neil and Anne Broderick have a record of service to Orchard Place that’s hard to match. Neil served on the Orchard Place operating board for 15 years, serving a term as President. He also served on the State of Iowa Mental Health and Developmental Disabilities Commission for two terms.

Following is what Gail Stutz, Larua Mcpherson and Kristina Smith who teach at the Orchard Place School have to say about Neil and Anne’s volunteer work with the kids:
Neil and Anne are exceptional role models for our students. They are selfless, humble, intelligent, poised and nonjudgmental. They possess a genuine concern for our students and greet them with openness and smiles.

Their work with students does not stop at Orchard Place School. Neil has followed several discharged OP students to Focus and continues to work with them. 

School staff appreciates Neil and Anne's consistent presence, which is vital to developing a connection with our students. On the flip side, the Brodericks are sometimes asked to adjust their schedules to accommodate our students' therapy or school specials (art and PE). The school staff sincerely appreciates their flexibility.

It is not unusual for the kids at the Orchard Place School to ask, “Will Neil and Anne be here today?”

Orchard Place Voice for Children Award - State Representative Michael Bergan

Michael Bergan is a lifelong resident of Winneshiek County. He was raised on a dairy and beef farm and his roots are deeply planting in the farming community. 

Michael has served his community in many ways, both as an elected official and volunteer. He served eight years on the Winneshiek County Board of Supervisors and was active in a number of local organizations, including Aase Haugen Homes and Foundation, The Spectrum Network, Wellington Place, Northland Area Agency on Aging, and the Winneshiek County Solid Waste Agency. His experience also includes service on three state-level boards and commissions, including the Early Childhood Iowa State Board and currently serving on the Children’s Mental Health State Board. 

Representative Bergan was chosen for this year’s Voice of Children award for many reasons, but mainly for his dogged determination to do what’s right for Iowa’s children. During the 2018 legislative session, Representative Bergan was a key person for us at Orchard Place. We visited with Representative Bergan several times over the course of the session regarding several important issues, including working to keep our Integrated Health Home serves, which are vital to many of the families we serve. He sits on many important committees, including the House Health and Human Services Budget Subcommittee. Representative Bergan utilized his position to help Orchard Place, as well as children’s mental health providers across Iowa. 

Orchard Place Voice For Children Award - State Representative John Forbes

John Forbes is a native Iowan, born and raised in Eagle Grove and attended Drake University, earning a degree in Pharmacy. After graduation, John started his career as a pharmacist in 1980 and his Medicap Pharmacy has been a fixture among Urbandale businesses for decades.

Even as a busy small businessman, John has been very active in his community. He is a member of the Urbandale Chamber of Commerce and has served as its President. In 2005, he was elected to the Urbandale City Council, where he served as Mayor Pro Tem during his tenure. He is currently the President of the Urbandale Library Foundation Board.

John was elected to the Iowa House of Representatives in 2012 and, since his election, has risen within the ranks of House Democrats, becoming an issue expert among his colleagues in many areas, most importantly health care. During every key legislative debate in the areas of health care, including the legislature’s recent passage of significant Opiod legislation, John has been a trusted, impartial voice for Republicans and Democrats. John’s commitment to his constituents was recently rewarded when he was re-elected, without opposition, to his fourth term in the Iowa House. 

Like his colleague Representative Bergan, John was a frequent “go to” person for Orchard Place during the 2018 legislative session. John has always made time to learn about our concerns and take those concerns to his colleagues in the Iowa House. John is not only a great voice for children but also an excellent listener on their behalf. For that reason, we have selected him as the 2018 co-recipient of the “Voice of Children”.

2018 Michele A. Moore Award of Distinction - Paul Houston

The Michele A. Moore Award of Distinction dates back to the year 2000. It was created by the Child Abuse and Neglect Prevention Council to recognize an outstanding advocate for children in Polk County. Michele Moore served for 18 years as a supervisor in the Child Assessment Unit of the Iowa Department of Human service.  

She provided insightful consultation to endure that children were being provided with appropriate services. Ms. Moore's passion for protecting children extended beyond her work with the DHS. She taught parenting classes to Sudanese immigrants in Des Moines and traveled to Africa to work with ill children at a remote hospital. Ms. Moore lived and worked the social work code of ethics: "Compassion, dignity, and respect. Above all else, do no harm."

This year's Michele A. Moore Award of Distinction winner is Paul Houston. Paul served as an investigator for the Polk County Attorney’s Office for 37 years, beginning in 1980 and retiring in April of 2017. He was the founding member of the Polk County Child Abuse trauma team. 

When a hospital staff member or DHS staff suspected a child had been physically or sexually abused, the team was activated for an immediate investigation, day or night. This was a revolutionary concept for 1980. Paul and the team quickly formed essential relationships with pediatricians, radiologists, and other medical personnel.

Paul was nominated for this award by Ray Blasé, who wrote:

"Paul’s contributions to child safety in Polk County, in Iowa and nationally cannot be understated. Some of the high profile cases included the Siemer/Simmons cases which led to two life sentences for the kidnapping and torture of Tracey Simmons. The Jonathan Waller case which led to convictions for child endangerment and eventually murder and the Tonya Reid case which was Iowa's first high profile Munchhausen by proxy case and which was featured in the book Cruel Intentions. That investigation led to a child endangerment conviction in Iowa and a murder conviction in Texas.”