The Emerald Spirit Award
Honoring Professionals Working with Families in Recovery

The 2016 Emerald Spirit Award was awarded to Patricia O'Gorman, an author, psychologist, former executive, and international speaker known for her presentations. A NYC native, she holds her doctorate from Fordham University. Dr. O'Gorman is the author of 9 books and a former Director of the Division of Prevention for NIAAA, Founding Director of the Dept of Prevention & Education for the National Council on Alcohol and Drug Addiction (NCADD), National Office. Dr. O'Gorman has directed a rape crisis center, co-founded the National Assoc for Children of Alcoholics (NACoA) and worked in child welfare. She is on the board of the NYS Coalition Against Sexual Assault (NYSCASA) and on the Advisory Board of the National Association for Children of Alcoholics. Learn more at  where you can subscribe to her blog:

Who are recipients of the Emerald Spirit Award?
The Emerald Spirit Award was first presented at the inaugural Sober St. Patrick's Day® in New York City. It is a key component of the day's party and program.

The 2014 Emerald Spirit Award was presented to Father Bill Hultberg of Caron Treatment Centers. Father Bill is a beloved spiritual advisor; humble, inspirational and unconditionally positive. He has the ability to connect with all people, especially those who are sick, in despair, or feeling unloved. Each month, Father Bill records a spiritual message of hope, healing, recovery and love, available to anyone who chooses to listen to it at We presented this loving, generous, untiring man with the Emerald Spirit Award on Monday, March 17, 2014.
Bill Hultberg
Emerald Spirit Award - 2014
Fr. Bill Hultberg
Vice President and National Director of Children’s Programs, Jerry Moe is nationally and internationally known as an author, lecturer, and trainer on issues for young children from addicted families. He is also featured in the documentary Lost Childhood: Growing Up in an Alcoholic Family. This hero was presented with the second Emerald Spirit Award on March 16, 2013. 
Jerry Moe
Emerald Spirit Award - 2013
Jerry Moe - Betty Ford Center Children's Programs
In Sis Wenger’s 20 years as NACoA President and CEO, she expanded the organization’s programming and reach, building a national and international mission and establishing NACoA as the unequivocal voice for children and families impacted by alcohol and drug use problems. This untiring champion received the inaugural Emerald Spirit Award in 2012.
Sis Wenger
Emerald Spirit Award - 2012
Sis Wenger - National Association for Children of Alcoholics (NACoA)
What is the Emerald Spirit Award?
The Emerald Spirit Award is presented annually to honor extraordinary dedication and devotion to improving the lives of family members of alcoholics and addicts. It is presented on St. Patrick’s Day at the New York City Sober St. Patrick’s Day® party.

This unique award is for professionals active in the field of family recovery from addiction. As such, it honors an under‐recognized community of dedicated professional and advocates who work with family members, including children and adult children of alcoholics, collaterally affected by the family disease of addiction.


"To reclaim the true spirit of the day and to change the perception and experience of what St. Patrick's Day can be by providing family-friendly, alcohol free events that celebrate the depth of Irish culture, as well as year-round educational and cultural activities."
Frances Black
The 2015 Emerald Spirit Award was awarded to Frances Black. A Dublin native and the youngest of 5, in a very musical family, Frances is a world-renowned singer and the founder of The Rise Foundation.  The RISE Foundation is a registered charity focused on family members of those with addictive behavior (alcohol, drugs, gambling, food or sex addiction). RISE (Recovery In a Safe Environment) is dedicated to working towards helping family members to free themselves from the stress,anxiety and worry of having a loved one with addictive behavior and to understand the nature of addiction and the profound effects it has on relationships.
Emerald Spirit Award - 2015
Frances Black
Emerald Spirit Award - 2016
Patricia O'Gorman, PhD
On March 14, 2012, Linda Ventura tragically lost her son, Thomas, to the disease of addiction. Linda channeled her grief by creating Thomas’ Hope Foundation. This foundation is dedicated to promoting drug addiction awareness, prevention, and achieving victory for those individuals seeking sobriety through education, advocacy, research and treatment. Ms. Ventura is a strong advocate in Albany to create change in legislation. Although she has a full time demanding job, she dedicates her time volunteering and speaking to people in recovery at various treatment facilities and at FIST educational events. Ms. Ventura is a board member of St. Joseph’s Treatment Center in Saranac Lake, NY, and Families in Support of Treatment. Linda is on the Long Island Council on Drugs and Alcohol Dependency and the Nassau County Heroin Task Force. Thomas’ Hope Foundation produces a weekly television show “Resolutions for Recovery” formerly known as “Long Island in Crisis”. The premise of the show is to educate and empower families and patients struggling with Substance Use Disorder.
Emerald Spirit Award - 2017
Linda Ventura