Mediation Center Recognizes Community Partners Volunteers and Supporters Receive Awards at Velvet Gala Celebration

Staff Report From Savannah CEO

Thursday, January 30th, 2020

For the third year, the Mediation Center recognized volunteers and community leaders who support the mediation services, legal resource center, and youth and family programs of the Mediation Center. This year’s award winners were announced at the Velvet Gala annual fundraiser on Thursday, Jan. 23. 

Awards were announced by Kurt Hetager of the Savannah-Chatham County School System, a key partner for the Mediation Center’s Peer Mediation Program, and event chairpersons Susannah Pedigo and Amanda Love. Executive Director Jill Cheeks shared remarks noting, “Volunteers are crucial to the success of the Mediation Center. The over one hundred people and organizations that contribute their time and resources each year deserve our appreciation. The select few honored tonight go above and beyond on a regular basis to serve the community and support our work.”

Award recipients included:



2020 Business Partner of the Year

International Paper for their commitment to the community and nonprofit activities. The Mediation Center appreciates the International Paper team recognizing the importance of youth receiving conflict-resolution skills.

2020 Youth Collaboration Award

Park Place Outreach, Inc and Executive Director Julie Wade, a collaborative partner willing to work on grants, brainstorm, and stand united for youth in Chatham County

2020 Stellar Advocate for Youth

Kathy Davis as a Guardian ad Litem and representing children in high-conflict divorce cases; she does a tremendous job with her GAL cases and helping children that would not normally have a voice. She is always there to take a paid or pro bono case. 

2020 Attorney Appreciation Award

Jessica Lill of The Manely Firm and All Family Law; Jessica had a 71% settlement rate in family law cases and mediated 14 family law cases in 2019.

2020 Attorney Appreciation Award

Adam Russo of Lefkoff, Rubin, Gleason, & Russo, PC. Adam has a 75% settlement rate in general civil mediation cases. 

2020 Life Time Achievement Award – 600 Cases Mediated

Bob Neumann – Over 600 cases mediated in his 20 years at the Center and over 2,000 hours in mediations

2020 Mediator Award –
 Most Cases Mediated

Larry Kopczak – mediated 98 cases in 2019! He volunteers countless hours in mediation and teaching the Transitional Parenting class

10 Years of Dedicated Service

Chuck Koepke and his commitment to the organization’s mission as served in the capacity as a board member, Chair of the Finance Committee and as the Treasurer of the Board of Directors