By Sue Botos
When Raymond Marvar helped create Recovery Resources’ Exemplar Award in 2006, he never thought he would be named a recipient.
“I was very surprised. I was involved in the creation of the event, and felt it was important to recognize those who give their time to the organization,” said Marvar in a recent phone interview. The Rocky River resident and long-time Recovery Resources Board of Directors member was chosen by Recovery Resources, the umbrella organization for the Rocky River-based Community Challenge, for this year’s honor, which recognizes members of the Westshore community who have demonstrated a distinguished record of exemplary service to the organization. The goal of Recovery Resources, according to information provided, is to keep children healthy and drug-free.
“I will accept the award in the name of the board of directors of Community Challenge,” said Marvar, who has been active on the board for many years, serving as chairman for five years. The organization has thrived, according to Marvar, despite having to “navigate rocky waters.” He continued, “Community Challenge has continued to grow in its programs and services. This is a serious mission and we are passionate about it.”
Community Challenge was founded 26 years ago in Rocky River to address the problem of substance abuse by children and adolescents, and was initially called Rocky River Community Challenge. In 1989, the non-profit organization became a funded agency of the Alcohol and Drug Addictions Services Board of Cuyahoga County. Community Challenge’s grant has been renewed yearly since then. “The services then grew to include other cities and a few years ago (2008) formed a partnership with Recovery Resources,” explained Marvar. Recovery Resources is a well-known Ohio mental health, alcohol and drug treatment/prevention agency. The joint venture allows both agencies to pool resources when it comes to operating costs and competition for grants.
Marvar, who has lived in Rocky River for 24 years, credits Community Challenge Coordinator Jeanne Campanella with being a driving force behind the success of the organization. “Jeanne and I have been friends for many years, also doing some work for St. Christopher (Church). She is truly the backbone, keeping us involved with the community,” he remarked.
General counsel for Premier Physicians Center, and counsel at Tucker Ellis West & Marvar has had a hand in many Community Challenge activities, such as the golf outing, basketball challenge and what was known as the Community Challenge Family Fun Fest during the River Days celebration. He said that the organization did not sponsor the event this year in an effort to “change the character” and attract broader support. Recovery Resources co-sponsored “Taste of River/ Buy River” along with the Rocky River Chamber of Commerce.
Marvar also participated in the creation of Healthy Rocky Rocky River, an initiative founded by Councilwoman Anjanette Arabian Whitman that features monthly speakers focusing on a variety of health-related issues.
“I’m surprised and very humbled by this. I never expected to be so recognized,” stated Marvar, adding, “I love being involved and helping the community as much as I can.”
The sixth annual 2011 Exemplar Award celebration will be held Sept. 13 at Westwood Country Club in Rocky River. According to event planners, the gala usually attracts about 200 people, with proceeds benefiting the services of Community Challenge and additional programs made available through Recovery Resources. The evening will feature hors d’oeuvres and deserts, raffle items and guest speakers. For more information, contact Amanda Hershberger, Development Associate for Recovery Resources, at 216-431-4131, ext. 1126.