Robert Hawkins Tribute Dinner

Every year, Mental Health America of Pueblo hosts a dinner to honor and award individuals in our community who demonstrate significant achievements or advancements in the mental health community. This dinner was held in the month of May, which is Mental Health Month, until the COVID-19 pandemic altered our scheduling.  The date, time, and location are to be determined for 2022. However, we are currently accepting nominations! You can find more information about the different awards and how to nominate by clicking -->

The Robert Hawkins Award is in honor of Robert Hawkins, who served as Superintendent of the Colorado Mental Health Institute of Pueblo until his untimely death in July 2002.  Robert Hawkins is remembered not only for his strong leadership as a mental health professional but also for his extensive volunteer service and his ability to demonstrate, both professionally and personally, his love of mankind and advocacy for individuals with a mental illness.  The criterion for this award is an individual that has demonstrated significant achievements or advancements in the mental health community during his/her career that compliments MHAP's mission.

The Gil Sanchez Mission Award is named after the President and CEO of the Spanish Peaks Mental Health Center who served for many years. He is credited for his innovative approach to insuring poor and minority mental health consumers had their mental health needs met regardless of cost. Mr. Sanchez passed away at the age of 82 in 2012.  This award is designed to recognize an outstanding individual, group, or agency that has made a significant achievement or advancement in the mental health field through treatment, advocacy, policy, exploratory program models, or professional standards.  

Our final award is the Robin Hill Phoenix Award and was established in 2017. Robin Hill is the founder of Friendly Harbor and served as the president for many years. According to Greek mythology, the phoenix bird lives a very long life and when it passes it is reborn from its own ashes. This award honors an individual living with a mental illness that has demonstrated significant achievements or advancements in the mental health community.  

Special Award Categories

For 2021, we created a special award category to honor a Behavioral Health Pandemic Hero.

We noticed that the media recognized many of the medical professionals, hospitals, and nursing homes providing care to those affected by the COVID-19 public health emergency. However, there was another set of frontline staff not often mentioned, the army of behavioral health workers who continued to provide support to those in need despite the risk. The winner of this award was Judy Solano of the Southern Colorado Harm Reduction Association.

Judy Solano quickly adjusted the operations of Southern Colorado Harm Reduction Association (SCHRA), a critical public health service, open throughout the pandemic in a way that kept both her staff and her clients safe.  Early in the pandemic, she and her staff manufactured homemade facemasks for clients during the severe shortage of PPE. She also collaborated with the Community Commission on Housing and Homelessness, to provide handwashing stations outside of SCHRA for individuals who might otherwise not have access to basic hygiene.  Judy then successfully applied for grant funding to purchase $20,000 in cold-weather supplies for homeless individuals that she shared with other community nonprofits such as the Pueblo Rescue Mission. 


After the COVID-19 vaccine was available, Judy collaborated with local community services to bring low-barrier vaccination clinics for those individuals who were unable to access the drive-through vaccination clinics. These first several clinics were able to vaccinate over 1000 Puebloans. To continue to reach our most vulnerable community members, Judy is working with the Pueblo County library district to bring additional “Equity Vaccination Clinics.”  


Judy Solano has dedicated her life to saving lives in our community through her selfless dedication to reducing harm and stigma for individuals who have substance use disorders and went above and beyond to continue that work throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.

Recent Robert Hawkins Tribute awardees include:

2020/2021- Dr. Robert Tonsing, Southern Colorado Psychiatric

2019- Senator Leroy Garcia 

2018- Michael George, MSW, Friendly Harbor 

2017- Anne C. Courtright, MD, Retired Psychiatrist, CMHIP

2016 - Elizabeth "Libby" Stuyt, MD - Psychiatrist, Circle Program, CMHIP

2015 - Christine Nevin-Woods, DO, MPH, Medical Officer, Pueblo City-County Health Department

2014 - Julie Meeker, M.D., Chief Psychiatrist, CMHIP

2013 - Carlos Rodriguez, Ph.D., New Beginnings 

2012 - James Cameron, Ph.D., Colorado State University-Pueblo

2011 - Musharraf Nizami, M.D., Psychiatrist, Front Range Psychiatric Associates

2010 - Former Chief District Court Judge, Dennis Maes, 10th Judicial District


Recent Gil Sanchez Mission Award recipients include:

2020/2021 - Teah Miller, Director of Crisis Services, Health Solutions

2019- Jason Chippeaux, LCSW, Health Solutions 

2019- Parkview Behavioral Services 

2018- Dr. Michael Nerenburg, MD, Southern Colorado Harm Reduction Association 

2017- Drucilla Pugh, BSW, Program Manager at CASA

2017- Maureen White, EdD, MA, LPC, Director of Youth and Family Services at Health Solutions

2016 - Rob Archuleta - Addicts 2 Athletes

2016 - Dorothy Perry, Ph.D.- CEO of Health Solutions

2015 - Elizabeth "Libby" Stuyt, MD, Psychiatrist, Circle Program, CMHIP

2015 - Kathleen Camblin and Karen Camblin, Volunteers, NAMI Southeast CO

2014 - Cindy Jimenez, LCSW, Pueblo Community Health Center

2014 - Detention Bureau Staff, Pueblo County Sheriff Office

2013 - Nicholas Rodriguez, LCSW (Post Humulously), Pueblo Community Health Center

2013 - Stephanie Haney, MSW, Steel City Behavioral Health

2012 - Ami Gorsky, MSW, Sangre de Cristo Hospice

2012 - Haydee Kort, MD, and Gregorio Kort, MD, Retired Psychiatrists, CMHIP


Recent Robin Hill Phoenix Award recipients include:

2020/2021- Dominique Mundt, NAMI Southeast Colorado 

2019- Joseph Bowers, Friendly Harbor 

2018- Brett Cozza, Friendly Harbor

2017- Robin Hill, MA, Founder of Friendly Harbor