Rosecrance honors recovery with scholarships and commemorative bricks

Dave Gomel speaks to crowd
President of Rosecrance Inc. Dave Gomel speaks at the Honoring Recovery event September 18, 2019.

Rosecrance recently hosted its Honoring Recovery event at the Rosecrance Harrison campus during the month of September to align with recovery month. With nearly 100 staff, donors, clients and alumni in attendance, the event truly celebrated recovery with an evening ceremony on the patio, followed by dinner.

Erin Jagels speaks to crowd
Erin Jagels speaks at the Honoring Recovery event as her father Cliff Gillette stands by her side.

During the ceremony, Rosecrance leaders presented inspirational remarks and awarded memorial education scholarships to seven young alumni seeking higher education. The John Mink Memorial Scholarship, presented by George Bates of Bates Financial Advisors Inc., is given in memory of John Mink, a long time Rosecrance Board member who exemplified extreme compassion and commitment to the organization. The Donna Gillette Memorial Scholarship, sponsored by family and friends of Donna’s, honors the memory of Donna Gillette, who worked as Director of Nursing at Rosecrance for decades. Both scholarships support Rosecrance alumni as they attend college classes.

One recipient and former Rosecrance client, Marcus I., attended the ceremony and shared how Rosecrance propelled him to a whole new way of living.

After experiencing a series of rock bottoms from his drug use, Marcus finally admitted the words he’d been building up to for years, “I need help.”

Marcus began treatment at the Rosecrance Griffin Williamson Campus and then lived at both the Rosecrance Hillman and Greendale recovery homes.

Marcus credits Rosecrance and Alcoholics Anonymous for helping him get his life back and praises Rosecrance staff for helping him turn his failing high school status into graduating four months ahead of schedule.

“Rosecrance is where my life changed,” admits Marcus. “It’s where everything started to shift … Rosecrance was my silver lining in the clouds, the true turning point of my life.”

He adds, “Rosecrance was phenomenal for me and my family. They put us at ease when no one else could … and I learned that recovery always has to come first, before anything else. It’s a way of life.”

Marcus is now working full-time and attending Rock Valley College with hopes of becoming a mechanical engineer. He explains how supportive, motivating and valuable the scholarship has been in helping cover the cost of his books and part of his tuition for the year.

Marcus’s story of inspiration and transformation was echoed by the other scholarship recipients too. This year, there were 7 total scholarship recipients and several of them were able to attend and share their hopes and visions for the future.

Additionally, more than a dozen newly-installed commemorative bricks were on display at the event to serve as a testament to the support of the community of those in recovery. Some bricks featured personalized engravings, ranging from brief messages like: “We surrender to win” to “It works if you work it.” Others included names with dates to honor and memorialize those who’ve lost their lives to substance use and mental health disorders.

commemorative brick
A commemorative brick at Rosecrance Harrison Campus

Bricks are currently on sale and the next installation will take place at the Honoring Recovery event next year. Please contact The Rosecrance Foundation at 815.387.1601or visit to leave a legacy, support recovery and reserve your brick today.

Rosecrance Director of Development, Emily Lipinsky, summed up the event with these words, “To be at the event was to witness the miracle of recovery in action. I am so grateful that people are moved to support our mission and celebrate recovery with us; it’s such a gift.”