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Good afternoon!  The work and service of our next All Together One Award winner, Dr. Lennie Echterling, depict the phrase “All Together One” perfectly.  

The first word in “All Together One” is “all”, and Dr. Echterling sure does seem to do it “all”.  As the Director of the Counseling program in the Graduate Psychology Department, Dr. Echterling serves on three department committees, three councils and committees for the university, and on the Board of Directors for the Virginia Association for Counselor Education and Supervision.  He collaborates with JMU’s Counseling and Student Development Center to ensure that JMU students receive the best service in crisis counseling.  In the local community he is a part of the Rockingham Disaster Planning Committee and the Regional Disaster Task Force.  To top it off he is a member of ten professional organizations, is a guest teacher at EMU’s Peace-Building Institute during the summer, and is often a guest lecturer in many of JMU’s academic departments.   

In every facet of his service Dr. Echterling works “together” with others.  What I find most striking about his service is his involvement on the state, national, and international stages.  The Governor’s Terrorism and Disaster Behavioral Health Advisory Council sought Dr. Echterling out to provide assistance to Virginia’s Departments of Health and Mental Health and other state response organizations.  He has educated numerous firefighters, police officers, and EMS teams, and has assembled a team of JMU students and staff to provide service to families of National Guard members deployed in Iraq.  He has assisted in relief and rebuilding efforts following Hurricanes Katrina and Rita and serves as a Disaster Mental Health Volunteer for the American Red Cross.  He even helped to launch a website “Creating Hope and Resilience in Troubled Times,” broadening the impact his message of resilience can have.  Last year, in the wake of the tragedy at Virginia Tech, Dr. Echterling was in Tech classrooms the day that classes resumed.  And his work does not stop there, as he has traveled to Ireland, Poland, and India to educate individuals about crisis and disaster response. 

Lastly, by joining together his work and his passion for service, Dr. Echterling has shown how “one” person can help to build “one” world community.  One of his nominators, Dr. Anne Stewart, a former All Together One award winner herself, described Lennie’s contributions well: “His accomplishments show an extraordinary commitment to healing, helping, and community-building across the JMU campus and around the world.  Lennie changes minds and lives with his inspirational message of the resilience of survivors of natural and human-induced disasters.”  She continues, “These extraordinary efforts emerge from a seemingly total commitment to, and belief in, service to others.  Lennie does not seem to make a distinction between what he is doing for his service to JMU and what he does with his ‘personal’ time; the boundaries blend.  Service to JMU’s mission, his student’s education and to those in desperate need is Lennie’s chief preoccupation not only in work, but in life.”  That is “one” impactful life.

It is for this dedication to building community while inspiring others that we recognize Dr. Echterling today.  On behalf of the JMU community and Omicron Delta Kappa, I am honored to present Dr. Lennie Echterling with this year’s All Together One award. 

Written by: Jacqueline Bryant

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