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Billie Johnson, others, are recipients of community advocacy awards


MAY 20, 2011

Billie Johnson, others, are recipients of community advocacy awards

The following article about the 2011 Access to Justice Awards Dinner appeared in The Toledo Journal on May 19, 2011. Read below, or view the contents on the Journal's website.

Billie Johnson, a founder and president/CEO of the Area Office on Aging of Northwestern Ohio Inc., has won the Community Advocacy Award.

Ms. Johnson received the award May 10 during the 2011 Access to Justice Awards dinner at The Pinnacle Restaurant in Maumee. More than 500 people attended the dinner.

She shared her honor with Dr. Elizabeth S. Ruppert. The other Justice Awards recipients were: Paul T. Belazis, who was the Public Interest Law Award recipient; and Laurie J. Pangle, who was the Distinguished Service Award recipient.

The Advocates for Basic Legal Equality In., Legal Aid of Western Ohio and Toledo Bar Association Pro Bono Legal Services presented the dinner.

MAY 20, 2011

Billie Johnson, others, are recipients of community advocacy awards

The following article about the 2011 Access to Justice Awards Dinner appeared in The Toledo Journal on May 19, 2011. Read below, or view the contents on the Journal's website.

Billie Johnson, a founder and president/CEO of the Area Office on Aging of Northwestern Ohio Inc., has won the Community Advocacy Award.

Ms. Johnson received the award May 10 during the 2011 Access to Justice Awards dinner at The Pinnacle Restaurant in Maumee. More than 500 people attended the dinner.

She shared her honor with Dr. Elizabeth S. Ruppert. The other Justice Awards recipients were: Paul T. Belazis, who was the Public Interest Law Award recipient; and Laurie J. Pangle, who was the Distinguished Service Award recipient.

The Advocates for Basic Legal Equality In., Legal Aid of Western Ohio and Toledo Bar Association Pro Bono Legal Services presented the dinner.

During her 30 years at the Area Office on Aging, Ms. Johnson and the agency have served more than 185,000 senior citizens in northwest Ohio.

In addition to her advocacy for senior citizens, Ms. Johnson serves as an advocate for women. She was inducted into the Ohio Woman's Hall of Fame by Zonta International.

Ms. Johnson thanked the organizers of the event and the other award recipients.

Cultivating strong partnerships and personal relationships with many agencies, organizations, businesses, media outlets and elected officials for the benefit of improving services and their families is what she finds most satisfying.

Ms. Johnson was instrumental in establishing the Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program with ABLE in 1998 to advocate on behalf of long term care consumers using a legal, medical and social work model.

Attorney Patricia J. Williams, an author, legal scholar and educator, was the dinner's keynote speaker.

Ms. Williams applauded the efforts of ABLE, Legal Aid and the Bar Association for helping the less fortunate people in Toledo, in particularly the work they've with the homeless.

The annual dinner has honored individuals with extraordinary service in the public interest by attorneys and community leaders in northwest Ohio for more than a decade.

The purpose of the Access to Justice Awards Dinner is to celebrate the great work of legal aid and pro bono programs in our community; to increase critical financial support for legal services to the poor; to recognize individuals and organizations for their extraordinary service in the public interest; and, to hear from a prominent national leader on the importance of equal access to justice in our society.

In an effort to maintain the standard of high-quality legal services for low-income persons, legal services law firms and agencies in northwest Ohio depend on support from a wide array of sources, including foundations, legislators and government officials, the business community, and, most importantly, the legal community.