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Karen Brown Honored with BIAV’s 2017 Weinstock Award

On Saturday March 11th 2017, at their annual conference, the Brain Injury Association of Virginia honored Brain Injury Services’ Executive Director Karen Brown as the winner of the 2017 Weinstock Award. This annual award recognizes individuals who have demonstrated “a commitment to people with brain injury and promoted awareness of their needs.”

One of the quotes Anne McDonnell, Executive Director of Brain Injury Association of Virginia, read as the award was presented stated, “Karen Brown exemplifies leadership. She leads with integrity, passion and courage and her work is innovative and collaborative. She responds to accolades by acknowledging other team members’ contributions. Her enthusiasm is as limitless as her compassion is for others.”

Everyone in the Brain Injury Services community is proud of Karen Brown for this marvelous achievement. The award is well-deserved.

Below is the full statement from Anne McDonnell about the award:

The Weinstock Award was established in 2006 by the Brain Injury Association of Virginia (BIAV) in honor of Harry Weinstock who served sixteen years with BIAV, fifteen of them as executive director. Harry demonstrated a passionate dedication to helping individuals and their families’ journey through life after a brain injury and to improving and increasing services and supports available to them.

Nominees for this award are citizens of the commonwealth who have made unique and lasting contributions to the brain injury community.

Individuals are nominated and then voted on by the BIAV Board of Directors. This is the eighth time we’ve presented this award; previous recipients include Harry Weinstock, Dr. Nathan Zasler, Teresa Ashberry, Irv Cantor, Virginia Department for Aging and Rehabilitative Services Commissioner Jim Rothrock, Patricia Wilkins Harrison, Fred and Evelyn Esposito, Jason Young, Jeff Kreutzer and Martin Donlan.

With over 40 years dedicated to the rehabilitative field, Karen Brown has worked at state and local levels to ensure families connect with the services and resources they need. Last summer, she celebrated her 20th anniversary with Brain Injury Services. As Executive Director, she has made a tremendous impact, expanding program services and broadening the organization’s service area throughout Northern Virginia, as far south as the Rappahannock area and as far west as Winchester. During her tenure, Ms. Brown has introduced a number of innovative rehabilitation programs, and its model for brain injury rehabilitative services has been replicated in communities across the Commonwealth of Virginia and around the world. She is the past Chair of the Virginia Brain Injury Council, the Virginia Alliance of Brain Injury Services Providers and the Fairfax County Long Term Care Coordinating Council. She serves on George Mason University’s College of Health and Human Services Advisory Board and Ohio Valley Center for Traumatic Brain Injury Advisory Council.

Patti Goodall, the Director of the Brain Injury Unit with the Department of Aging and Rehabilitative Services had the following to say about working with Karen: “As a leader, Karen is always seeking new and innovative ways of serving individuals with brain injury, and Virginia has benefited from her strength, knowledge, expertise, and fearlessness.”

Jason Young said “Under Karen’s leadership, Brain Injury Services has developed an array of services and supports and shared their model with providers around the state, offering guidance and consultation, and living, in a very visible way, her philosophy of sharing innovative models and ideas.”

One of her staff shared that “Karen’s greatest strength and her biggest lesson to us all is to always, always put the client first.”

Joann Mancuso, another colleague from Virginia Beach said “After 20 years of working with Karen Brown there are three words that come to mind: mentor, colleague, and friend.

And Krystal Thompson, the Executive Director of Brain injury Services of Southwest Virginia had this to say – “ Brain Injury Services of Southwest Virginia would not be the organization it is today without Karen Brown’s mentorship more than 17 years ago when BISSWVA founders, Greg and Fran Rooker, met with Karen and modeled their new organization after hers.”

Karen Brown exemplifies leadership. She leads with integrity, passion and courage and her work is innovative and collaborative. She responds to accolades by acknowledging other team members’ contributions. Her enthusiasm is as limitless as her compassion is for others.

And when I attended my very first Brain Injury Council meeting, there was this really smart, very striking woman leading it, who seemed to everything and everybody, and I thought to myself, “I want to be Karen Brown when I grow up.”

The award reads…for demonstrating a commitment to people with brain injury and promoting awareness of their needs, the Weinstock Award is presented to Karen Brown in honor of her dedicated service to the brain injury community.

The award also includes a scholarship in her name, funded by BIAV, for a deserving individual to attend Camp Bruce McCoy.

I’m very happy to be the one who gets to stand here and hand this award to someone I respect immensely and to whom I am eternally grateful. Please join me in expressing our great gratitude to Karen.”

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Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day by Going Green

St. Patrick’s day is this week, which means green is everywhere—green clothes, green decorations, even green food. But the biggest question is: are you going green? Now more than ever, our Earth is under stress from the pollution, waste and harmful chemicals humans release into the environment.

This week, celebrate St. Patrick’s Day by taking simple steps to go green in your home and community. By going green, we create a better environment for ourselves and future generations. Check out these easy ways you can live an altruistic—and green—lifestyle.

1. Reduce, reuse, recycle.
We’ve all heard this phrase, but how many of us actually put it into consistent use? Recycling materials is a simple step towards building a healthier, happier planet. Before you throw out your garbage, check to see if it’s recyclable. If you haven’t already, get in contact with a recycling company in your community to work with. Of course, if you’re ever confused or unsure about whether or not a product is recyclable, check online or call the recycling service.

If you want to be even more efficient, check products before you buy them to see if they’re recyclable. By making a conscious effort to buy recyclable products and restore them afterwards, we can all come together to create a greener world.

2. Chuck the bottled water.
For water drinkers, one easy step towards a green lifestyle is simply chucking the bottled water. According to Sustainable Baby Steps, nearly 30 billion plastic water bottles are sold in the U.S. annually, with less than 20% of them actually being recycled. You can help break the cycle by drinking from a reusable water bottle. The water bottle can even save you money by drinking from your home tap or filtration system.

3. Turn it off (and save money).
If you want to save even more money while going green, get into the habit of turning off any and all electronics which are not in use. Turn off the lights when not in a room, unplug electronics—e.g. the toaster, fan or curling iron—when you leave the house or even take shorter showers. By practicing these simple, everyday steps, you can potentially cut your energy bills in half (Sustainable Baby Steps).

4. Try new transportation.
Going green on your commute can sometimes be easier than expected. Bicycling, walking, carpooling or public transportation are all great ways to save money and help save the Earth. When you do have to drive somewhere, combine multiple trips into one, drive slower and make sure your car tires are inflated to save gas money and gas emissions. Green transportation can be pretty easy to do when we take the initial steps and follow through.

5. Buy local and organic.
One of the most important ways to go green is through the food you eat. When food travels in from around the world, its transportation emits negative chemicals into the air and can have a harsh environmental impact. Buying local, organic food ensures that your food is healthier than products commercially grown, and is brought in from a shorter distance, reducing the environmental effect. Organic and locally grown food is better for your health, better for the community and better for our planet.

6. Educate others in the community.
Finally, you can help improve the Earth by educating others in your community and those around you. Through gentle education and encouragement, together we can positively influence those around us and build a more altruistic society.

This St. Patrick’s Day, make an impact by truly going green. Put these steps into practice and see how you can do your part to make the Earth a happy and healthy place for everyone.