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Posted on: September 1, 2021

Commissioner Linda Hynes awarded Member of the Year honor by Coalition of Healthy Communities

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Burlington County Commissioner Linda Hynes was honored as Member of the Year by Prevention Plus of Burlington County and the Burlington County Coalition of Healthy Communities for her work to reduce substance use and stigma surrounding addiction.

The award was presented to Hynes Tuesday evening during the County’s annual candlelight vigil and remembrance ceremony at the Burlington County Amphitheater in recognition of her support of their programs and advocacy.

“We chose Commissioner Hynes to receive this award because during the past year and even before that, she supported our coalition prevention programs, attended programs we conducted across the county, spoke at our virtual events, recruited businesses to host our Sticker Shock program, reached out to volunteers to expand attendance, provided support and guidance to our members and helped families who have lost loved ones to overdose,” said Joe Conlin, director of community relations for Prevention Plus, a nonprofit group dedicated to preventing youth tobacco, alcohol and drug use.

Past recipients of the Coalition Member of the Year are: Brina Sedar, professor of Human Services at Rowan College at Burlington County, 2015; Ric Carpenter, Burlington County youth coordinator, 2017; Kelly Kultys, Burlington County Times reporter, 2018; Scott Coffina, Burlington County Prosecutor, 2019; Eric Gremminger, author and motivational speaker, 2020.

Hynes said she was honored to be included in such company and to work with the Coalition’s leaders and volunteers.

“The work that Prevention Plus and the Coalition does is so important, and I am proud to support them and their missions in as many ways as possible,” said Hynes, who is now completing her second year of service as a County Commissioner. “Preventing even just one youth or teen from experimenting with drugs, smoking or alcohol is worth the effort and I’ve seen first-hand how our Coalition has successfully reached thousands of kids. Just as important, they’ve shared information about recovery programs and helped dispel the stigma that frequently prevents those that are suffering from getting the help that they need. Their leaders, staff and volunteers are on the frontlines of this ongoing crisis every day and are nothing short of heroic.”

In addition to the awards presentation, Tuesday night’s vigil also featured remarks from Acting New Jersey Department of Human Services Commissioner Sarah Adelman, Burlington County Prosecutor Scott Coffina and other speakers, live music and a reading of names of those who died from overdoses.

Burlington County Commissioner Director Felicia Hopson and Deputy Director Dan O’Connell also attended the vigil, and the Burlington County Hope One mobile outreach team was also present.

Hope One is run by the Burlington County Sheriff’s Department in partnership with the Burlington County Human Services Department and Burlington County Health Department. Virtua Health, Maryville and the Deborah Heart and Lung Center also contribute staff to the unit, which regularly goes into county communities to help link residents with recovery specialists and treatment facilities. The unit also trains people on how to administer overdose antidote, known as Narcan.

So far this year, Hope One has had more than 950 contacts with county residents and distributed more than 109 Narcan kits. They have also helped 18 people enter treatment and provided 130 residents with information about treatment resources.

“Long before COVID-19, the addiction epidemic was claiming lives and unfortunately it still is,” said Hopson. “Our Board hasn’t lost sight of that and will continue to provide resources to assist those struggling with the disease of addiction get the help and supports they need to recover. Hope One is a critical part of that response and has proven itself to be an incredible resource for our communities. The unit has helped save lives, so we’re actively looking to expand its operations.”

Vigil 3

Burlington County Commissioner Linda Hynes, center, was presented the Member of the Year award from Prevention Plus of Burlington County and the Burlington County Coalition of Healthy Communities Tuesday evening during the County’s International Overdose Awareness Day vigil. Appearing with Commissioner Hynes is Burlington County Commissioner Director Felicia Hopson, Commissioner Deputy Director Dan O’Connell, Shouting4Shelby President Christine Hoff, Evesham Deputy Mayor Heather Cooper, State Senator Dawn Marie Addiego and Joe Conlin, director of community relations for Prevention Plus.

Vigil 2

Burlington County Commissioner Linda Hynes was presented the Member of the Year award from Prevention Plus of Burlington County and the Burlington County Coalition of Healthy Communities Tuesday evening during the County’s International Overdose Awareness Day vigil. Attending the event with Commissioner Hynes were Burlington County Commissioner Director Felicia Hopson, Commissioner Deputy Director Dan O’Connell.

 Vigil 9

Commissioner Linda Hynes speaks during Tuesday night’s International Overdose Awareness Day vigil at the Burlington County Amphitheater in Westampton.

 Vigil 7

Burlington County Sheriff Anthony Basantis and Burlington City Police Chief John Fine present a wreath memorializing those who lost their lives due to addiction.

 Vigil 4

Acting New Jersey Department of Human Services Commissioner Sarah Adelman visited the Hope One mobile outreach vehicle Tuesday with Burlington County Sheriff Anthony Basantis and Sheriff Officer Wayne Wolverton and Lt. Mike Ditzel Tuesday before the vigil. 


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