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Former Prestera CEO earns award of excellence

Apr. 19, 2013 @ 09:56 AM

Prestera Center bestows the prestigious Michael Prestera Award of Excellence each year to one person whose contributions result in improvements in mental health and/or substance abuse issues. Prestera Center and the award are named for Michael Prestera, an original member of the founding Board of Directors in 1967 who fought for funding to open Prestera Center.

Mr. Prestera unfortunately perished in the nation's worst sports tragedy that also killed the Marshall University football team, coaches, staff and other boosters. The Center was re-named in his honor and the Award of Excellence is given each year to honor advocates and contributors to behavioral health services.

The 2013 Michael Prestera Award of Excellence goes to Robert H. Hansen. Mr. Hansen retired as the President and CEO of Prestera Center on September 30, 2012. Over the 22 years he served in this leadership role at Prestera Center, he worked tirelessly to improve the lives of people living with mental illness and substance abuse. He dedicated his professional career to expanding services to meet growing needs of individuals in our community. He is genuinely invested in the people Prestera serves and to the employees, and he has built partnerships and collaborations among other organizations in our community.

During his tenure, Prestera Center grew to a $44 million company that employs 850 staff, and served more than 21,000 adults, children and families last year in 53 service locations across eight counties in West Virginia. Mr. Hansen's faithful service to the organization has resulted in explosive growth from the time he took command of Prestera Center in 1990. When Mr. Hansen joined Prestera Center, it was financially insolvent verging on bankruptcy. Staff morale was low. Mr. Hansen was hired for the job because of his unfailing commitment to caring, his high energy level and his creative ideas.

Mr. Hansen has left an indelible mark on our community, our clients, and our staff. Prestera Center's strong tradition of providing the highest quality services dedicated to helping people achieve their full potential will continue. Mr. Hansen joins past Michael Prestera Award Winners: Mildred Bateman, M.D. (1996), Joan E. Ross (1997), Betty Barrett (1998), William Dotson (1999), Delegate Margarette Leach (2000), Francie Roberts-Buchannon (2001), William Wright (2002), Maurice Cooley (2003), Senator Robert Plymale (2004), James Weiler (2005), Delegate Don Perdue (2006), Scott Finn (2006), Linda Pleasants (2007), Jack Clohan (2007), Debby Hibbard (2008), Dr. Ron Duerring (2008), Frank Markun (2009), Karen Yost (2010), Dan Hedges (2011), Delegate Jim Morgan (2012). This year's winner was honored at the Prestera Center Annual Board of Directors Meeting held on Tuesday, March 26, 2013 and at the Annual Benefit to be held on Saturday, April 13, 2013.

Kim Miller is the director of Corporate Development at Prestera. She can be reached at kim.miller@prestera.org.