Hemet Valley Recovery Center and Sage Retreat today announced Jerry McDonald, ACATA, as recipient of the 2011 Dr. Joseph L. Galletta Spirit of Recovery Award. The 2nd annual award will be presented at the treatment center’s annual holiday luncheon on December 8th, 2011. Jerry recently retired after 18 years of service at Betty Ford Center with over 32 years in the addiction field. he also has over 34 years of sobriety.
“On February 13th, 1977, my illness was flat lined by AA and I haven’t had a drink since four o’clock that afternoon,” explains McDonald. “This award presentation is remarkable because I am someone who should be thanking and honoring AA.”
Jerry’s career began as the Program Director for the country’s first inpatient program for the treatment of eating disorders at San Pedro Peninsula Hospital in San Pedro, CA in 1978. Jerry then moved to South Bay Hospital in Redondo Beach, CA in 1980 to establish its chemical dependency and eating disorder program while working under Dr. William Rader. Not long after, Jerry became Executive Vice President for the Rader Institute, a national healthcare corporation for the treatment of eating disorders. In his time there, Jerry opened the organization’s first six centers in California. Throughout his more than three decades in the field, Jerry has held director-level and VP positions at several California-based chemical dependency centers, and in 1995 joined The Betty Ford Center, where he was the National Business Development Representative. He retired in March of this year, but continues on in a consulting role. Prior to his work int he addiction field, Jerry was an accomplished volleyball player and has remained highly involved in the sport. He served as the Vice President of Operations and Chairman to the USA Women’s Olympic Volleyball Committee and latter was Assistant Coach for the 1972 Olympic Women’s Team. Jerry earned a spot int he YMCA’s Volleyball Hall of Fame in 1988.
Those who know Jerry professionally, describe him as someone who has fulfilled each and every position in his career with energy, compassion and skill – and personally, a generous and popular fellow and a master story teller. “If you’ve heard his stories, you may agree that it seems like and episode of Happy Days, complete with his own nostalgic cast of characters, which are just legendary,” said Michela Sands, Corporate Director of Business Development and Admissions at the BFC.
Hemet Valley Recovery Center and Sage Retreat named Jerry McDonald as its recipient of the 2011 Spirit of Recovery Award because he embodies the spirit of the award’s namesake, the late Dr. Joseph Galletta. Like Dr. Galletta, Jerry is a noted, respected, trained professional in the field of addiction and has assisted and touched thousands of people over the years, helping them find the courage to recover.
As last year’s award recipient Ed Spatola, Founder and CEO of New Found Life puts it: “There is no way to count the contributions he has made, like the ripples in a pond, they keep spreading out. So do his efforts and words. He is the finest example of the twelve step program that I have seen and I am proud to know him. he demonstrates the ‘Spirit of Recovery’ every day.”