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Sen. Betsy Johnson, D-Scappoose, and Rep. Andy Olson, R-Albany, this year's recipients of mental health advocacy nonprofit's New Freedom Award

SUBMITTED PHOTO - Rep. Andy Olson, R-Albany, and Sen. Betsy Johnson, D-Scappoose, are recipients of NAMI Oregon's 10th Annual Gordon and Sharon Smith New Freedom Award for their advocacy efforts on mental health issues. The National Alliance on Mental Illness in Oregon awarded Sen. Betsy Johhson, D-Scappoose, and Rep. Andy Olson, R-Albany, the 10th Annual Gordon and Sharon Smith New Freedom Award, a Nov. 5 announcement from the mental health advocacy agency states.

The award was created in 2009 to honor the mental health advocacy efforts of former U.S. Sen. Gordon Smith and his wife, Sharon, and is awarded annually.

"Both Senator Johnson and Representative Olson are richly deserving of this award," stated former Sen. Gordon Smith in the prepared announcement. "Whether in the State Capitol building or in their home communities, Betsy and Alan have been and continue to be tireless advocates on behalf of those battling mental illness. Sharon and I are proud to call both Betsy and Alan our friends, and we look forward to presenting the award that bears our name."

Approximately 300 people attended the award ceremony and dinner at the Portland Downtown Waterfront Marriott on Thursday, Oct. 4.

NAMI Oregon is a statewide grassroots organization with more than 1,700 members in 14 affiliates, and is one of 50 state organizations that comprise the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI). 

NAMI Oregon is the state's largest grassroots organization dedicated to education, support and advocacy around mental illness and treatment. All proceeds from the dinner will benefit NAMI Oregon's free education, support and advocacy programs.

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