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Business

Ecker Center announces award winners

Community Crisis Center's Vapnar receives top award

Ecker Center for Mental Health Board Chairman Alan Kirk presents the Maureen Withers Award to Gretchen Vapnar, executive director of the Community Crisis Center in Elgin, which also serves St. Charles, Campton Hills and Geneva. Ecker Center serves all residents of Kane County with mental health needs.
Ecker Center for Mental Health Board Chairman Alan Kirk presents the Maureen Withers Award to Gretchen Vapnar, executive director of the Community Crisis Center in Elgin, which also serves St. Charles, Campton Hills and Geneva. Ecker Center serves all residents of Kane County with mental health needs.

ELGIN – Ecker Center for Mental Health in Elgin announced those who were recognized for their service to the organization, the agency announced in a news release.

Ecker Center is a nonprofit agency that serves those with mental health needs throughout Kane County.

Gretchen Vapnar, executive director of the Community Crisis Center in Elgin received the Maureen Withers Award.

Under Vapnar’s leadership, the center has become a nationally recognized multi-service agency that provides domestic and sexual assault programs, a crisis hotline, economic assistance, abuse intervention, a children’s program, a shelter and a source for community and professional training.

Vapnar has been the executive director since 1980. The center's service area includes St. Charles, Campton Hills and Geneva.

“Withers was one of the first social workers at Ecker in 1959 and a leader in the mental health field,” spokeswoman Karen Lebuhn said.

Lina Schiess-Garibay, a bilingual intake and assessment specialist, received the award for Outstanding Employee of the Year.

“Lina is truly compassionate, patient and empathetic with the clients she serves,” according to her nomination by fellow employees. “She has a beautiful heart and makes such an impact in other’s lives.”

Gary Kosnoff, who is a principle at One Digital, an employee benefits company, and has been volunteering at Ecker Center for over 15 years, received the Friends of Ecker Award.

Kosnoff began as a health insurance broker, who began soliciting his company’s sponsorship for Ecker’s fundraising events and recruiting his wife and children to volunteer as well.

The awards were announced at the center’s sixth annual Wishes for Wellness brunch, held at April 14 at the Elgin Country Club, the release stated.

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