Breaking down the Stigma of Addiction at De Paul’s Freedom Award Luncheon
On September 24th, 2015 De Paul Treatment Centers presented its 16th Annual Samuel C. Wheeler Freedom Award to Richard “Dick” Withnell. The Freedom Award, named after former De Paul board member Sam Wheeler, is an honor given to those who help battle the stigma of addiction by being open about their recovery and giving back to the community in significant ways. Dick Withnell is an influential yet humble leader throughout Oregon. Throughout his decades of sobriety, Dick has been active in public policy for youth safety and education, and is dedicated to ensuring the well-being of the greater community.
The luncheon’s inspiring speakers—Governor Kate Brown, past honoree Bill Dickey, Ted Wheeler, Harry Wilson, and honoree Dick Withnell—shared a common message about the importance of investing in treatment for the disease of addiction.
Over 300 guests gathered at the Sentinel Hotel’s Governor Ballroom to celebrate Dick’s achievement and raise funds for the De Paul Youth & Family Center. The event raised nearly $200,000 through sponsorships, tickets, and in room gifts. All event proceeds will go toward De Paul’s lifesaving addiction treatment programs for youth ages 13 to 17, funding the gap between the actual cost of treatment and what is covered by the Oregon Health Plan.
To all those who sponsored, made a gift, or attended the Freedom Award Luncheon this year—thank you! Your support helps us provide young people in Oregon the second chance they deserve.