Herschel Walker to speak at New Horizons benefit; Amos to receive award

lgierer@ledger-enquirer.comOctober 8, 2013 

Walker

When Herschel Walker says, "I have no shame in my game," he is not referring to his career in pro football or as a mixed martial arts fighter. Walker is talking about his struggle with mental illness.

He emphasizes that people with a problem should not be embarrassed and should seek treatment.

He will be discussing how he has dealt with his problem here Tuesday evening at the 2013 New Horizons Annual Benefit Dinner, from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m., in the Columbus Convention & Trade Center.

New Horizons Community Service Board Executive Director Sherman K. Whitfield said Walker has an important story to tell, a great message, and is a great choice for this event.

"He has had some mental health issues and has done a lot of work fighting against the stigma that comes with mental illness. He lets people know they can overcome," she said.

At the event, co-sponsored by Jordan Blanchard Capital, Aflac Chairman and CEO Dan Amos will be honored with the organization's Impact Award of which Whitfield said Amos is very deserving.

"He has been such a great supporter," said Whitfield. "He is someone who really cares about individuals."

Tickets for the event can still be purchased. The price is $125 per seat. For information, call 706-596-5517 or 706-366-9158.

New Horizons is a nonprofit organization that provides services to those with mental illness, developmental disabilities and addictive diseases.

It serves eight counties in west Georgia with an aggregate population of more than 325,000 people. Those counties are Chattahoochee, Clay, Harris, Muscogee, Quitman, Stewart, Randolph and Talbot.

Annually, more than 6,000 children and adults are served. These people suffer from ailments such as depression, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, substance abuse, addiction or a developmental disability.

The guest speaker for the fundraiser was a three-time All American and Heisman Trophy winner at the University of Georgia.

He led the Bulldogs to the 1980 national championship.

Walker has a successful pro football career in both the United States Football League and National Football League,

A mental health advocate, Walker wrote a book in 2008, "Breaking Free: My Life With Dissociative Identity Disorder." Walker has played a key role through the years with the Freedom Care Program, which provides specialized mental health and chemical dependency care for active duty and retired military personnel and their problems.

On a visit to Fort Benning in 2010, he talked to soldiers about what it takes to succeed in life.

"It takes hard work to make something happen," he told the soldiers.

Related stories:

Georgia Chamber of Commerce honors Aflac's Dan Amos

Judge Hatchett talks about creating change at Urban League dinner

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