Doug and Mary Mozelle "Mo" McSwane turned personal tragedy into public awareness of the severity of mental illness. The McSwanes, founders of the Smith County Behavioral Health Leadership Team, received the T.B. Butler Award on Tuesday night as the city's most outstanding citizens for 2015.
The couple received the award at the Tyler Area Chamber of Commerce's annual meeting at Harvey Convention Center.
"Our recipients this year are a shining example of a family that has taken an unimaginable pain and turned it into a personal message and ministry," said Tyler Morning Telegraph editor Allison Pollan. "Following the suicide of their son, Patrick, who suffered from schizophrenia, they could have withdrawn, and no one would have questioned that reaction. Instead, they have become a beacon to elevate the dialogue surrounding the pain many families deal with alone."
In 2014, the McSwanes helped organize a mental health awareness conference featuring powerful testimonies of clergy, psychologists and advocates.
Peace of Mind Tyler aimed to get people talking in a transparent way that hadn't been done before in East Texas. In 2015, the conference returned with just as much interest and fervor.
The McSwanes, with the help of Samaritan Counseling Center of Tyler Executive Director Fonda Latham, began mulling ways to put talk to action.
The Smith County Behavioral Health Leadership Team was born. The group gathered for its first meeting in June, with more than 20 people attending.
"In the aftermath of the first Peace of Mind Conference, it became a movement for all the stakeholders in the mental health field to come together in a collaborative effort to see what we could do to improve the delivery of the behavioral health services," McSwane said.
The needs are great.
"There is a shortage of psychiatrists nationwide," Ms. Pollan said as the award was announced. "In East Texas that shortage is severe. Our providers are overwhelmed with their caseloads, and the topic in general is not simple."
What the McSwanes accomplished was "putting a face and personalizing the message needed to call attention to the mental health crisis we face in East Texas."
Doug McSwane is an attorney with the Potter Minton law firm. He was named a 2013 Top Rated Lawyer in Intellectual Property by American Lawyer Media and Martindale-Hubbell. He's active in a number of nonprofit agencies, including Living Alternatives and the National Association on Mental Illness.
Mo McSwane owns an antique business, and serves on the board of Womenary, a group that provides theological studies for women.
The McSwanes also have children Marcie and Ryan, and attend Bethel Bible Church.
W.C. WINDSOR AWARD
Garnett Brookshire received the Chamber's W.C. Windsor Award for 2015. Brookshire is president of the People's Petroleum Building LLC, and led the complete restoration of the historic building in downtown Tyler.
A graduate of Texas Christian University, Brookshire has been a banker, a manager for Brookshire Grocery Co. and a philanthropist. The award was presented by last year's recipient, Patrick Willis.
"Our honoree's efforts have led to the restoration of Tyler's most prestigious business address where luminaries such as Dub Riter, D.K. Caldwell, Samuel Lindsey and H.L. Hunt officed," Willis said. "Our honoree has breathed new life into The People's Petroleum Building - once a beacon of hope during its construction during the Great Depression. It was the largest building project west of the Mississippi during that time."
Small Business of the Year Award for 2015 went to Ramey & Flock PC, a Tyler law firm that traces its roots back to 1922.
The Large Business of the Year Award for 2015 went to VME Fabricators, which manufactures custom parts and equipment for the oil and gas industry. It was founded by local businessman Jim Goodwin in 1985, and was bought by staff engineer Michael Thomas in 2000.
Volunteer of the Year for 2015 went to Jim Snow of the Texas Council of Chapters, Military Officers Association of America.