Previous Winners

We've presented the Voice of Recovery Award seven additional times. The honored recipients are: Trillium Drop-In Center(2012); Cynthia Dudley, Executive Director of Trillium Drop-In Center(2013); Mary Presler(2014); Phil Ross(2015);  The Cognitive Enhancement Therapy Team(2016);  Rita Romano(2017); Vicki Hutman(2018); and  Lynn Fritz (2019) 


Trillium Drop-In Center is a non profit 501(c)(3) organization whose mission is to provide a stress-free, stigma-free atmosphere for people 18 and over who are mental health consumers. It opened its doors in September 2007. 


Cynthia Dudley co-founded Trillium Drop-In Center, Inc., which has served
individuals with mental illness in Prince William County for the past six years. As the Executive Director she oversees the day to day operations. After suffering for years with her own mental illness, through hard work she has transformed her own life and devoted herself to mentoring others to achieve stability, recovery and success in their own lives. She is constantly looking for ways to empower, provide opportunities and support individuals with mental illness. Cynthia is a visible and valued community partner and liaison.


Mary Presler has worked side by side mental health consumers and employers as a job coach for over 20 years. She is currently a job coach with the PWC Supported Employment Program. As a job coach, Mary is a fearless advocate and community partner. She is well respected both in the mental health community and the community at large for her work. Mary Presler embodies the qualities of the “Voice of Recovery Award”.


Phil Ross, Former President, NAMI-PW, Former Board Member of Trillium Center, Inc.

            Phil Ross has dedicated years to mental health services and advocacy in the Northern Virginia Region.  He firmly believes in mental health recovery, encourages recovery oriented systems of care and reaches out to individuals living with mental illness to encourage and empower them.

After years of having been active in NAMI-NoVa, he started NAMI PW.  He and others created NAMI-PW to serve people in Prince William County who have loved ones with a mental illness.  He also served on the NAMI Virginia Board of Directors. He was very active with the former Regional Recovery Work Group (RRWG) which advocated for mental health services in the Northern Virginia Region.  When RRWG created a grant program, Phil knew that the timing was perfect to bring more much needed peer-delivered services to Prince William County, and took the time and effort to spread the word about the grant program. 

He automatically earned the Godfather title to Trillium Drop-In Center when they opened their doors after receiving money from that RRWG grant program. 

            Phil has been a strong cheerleader and source of support to many mental health consumers in the Prince William area and in the larger Northern Virginia area. He is quick to get involved and clearly sees the advantage of services for mental health consumers.  He's been a part of a former committee that worked on getting more peer support at our local CSB.  Phil is active in CIT and DIVERT, both programs that enhance services for mental health consumers who get involved with the police and judicial system.  He is quick to attend Town Hall Meetings with local and state politicians and is frequently making his voice heard about the necessity of mental health services to those who are in the legislature.

Recently, because of his hard work and dedication, he was invited to join the Evidence-Based Decision Making Committee with the Department of Corrections.  It is our understanding that he is the only private citizen on the EBDM Committee.

Phil always goes above and beyond when working on mental health service issues.  He genuinely cares about the well-being of those he comes in contact with, including total strangers.  He is passionate about creating positive change for those living with mental illness. Phil Ross is an exceptional advocate and champion for mental health in Prince William County.


The Cognitive Enhancement Therapy (CET) Team began a group for individuals with serious mental illness and has been running it for about a year as of this writing. CET improves processing speed, cognitive thinking (attention, memory, problem solving), increases self-management of mental health & physical health and encourages adjustment to and acceptance of disability. 

  The Prince William Community Services CET Team received extensive training in this new program and has worked tirelessly over the past year creating this program and working with individuals. Their success has been incredible and had had a huge impact for some people living with SMI, creating real change in their lives.


Rita Romano 

Capturing all that Rita Romano has done for mental health recovery in Greater Prince William is simply impossible.

During the last decade and longer Rita Romano has been a true champion for change to a Recovery Oriented System of Care in GPW.  She has consistently gone out of her way to share information and resources with people who are interested in the mental health system in GPW and even Region 2 in Virginia and lighting a fire under those people who themselves have become true champions.

Her compassion, commitment, networking and never-giving-up approach has been respected and admired by many.  Over the last ten years mental health services have improved phenomenally in Prince William County.  Rita was a catalyst in the creation of at least 3 mental health NGOs in Prince William County by caring enough to introduce the right people to the right groups.  Many other existing programs we now see exist because of the persistence and vision that Rita Romano has shared with this community.

Rita Romano has consistently exhibited the characteristics which define this award:  Honesty, Respect, Collaboration, Teamwork and Advocacy. 

Rita is a constant Voice of Recovery and deserves this award.


Vicki Hutman In her extensive work in CS Emergency Services before transferring to New Horizons, Vicki always championed normalizing the experiences of consumers who were in crisis, making sure to advocate for them with private hospitals, ER staff and law enforcement.  Vicki works to reduce stigma, and encourages consumers that there is life after mental health illness and/or crisis, as she continues to do with the children she works with in New Horizons.  Outside of her work for CSB, Vicki is a loud presence in the advocacy world, spending countless weekends and weeknights at rallies, and attending community meetings.  Vicki fights for the rights of the marginalized, including women, the LGBTQIA community, and those with chronic mental health conditions (especially Alzheimer’s & dementia), whether it be by march attendance, urging others to vote, or writing letters/making calls to legislators.  Vicki cares deeply about her fellow man, and goes above and beyond the call of her clinical work to facilitate the betterment of our country at large.




Prince William County's Mental Health Awareness Event mission is to bring together the mental health community with the community at large to educate, inspire and dispel myths about mental illness.

Contact Us Today!

Mental Health Awareness Event


Like us on Facebook

Print | Sitemap
© Mental Health Awareness Event Planning Committee