ATLANTA - Willingway Hospital Chairman James Mooney was awarded the prestigious Georgia Hospital Heroes Lifetime Achievement Award at the Georgia Hospital Association's (GHA) annual Hospital Heroes Awards luncheon Dec. 4 in Atlanta.
, who was the only individual statewide to receive the award, was recognized for his
work in helping alcoholics and addicts find sobriety.
Founded by Mooney's parents and often called the "Betty Ford Center of the South," Willingway
has been in operation since 1971 and is the first free-standing specialty hospital treating alcoholism and drug addiction in Georgia.
Having gone through the recovery process themselves, Mooney's parents knew the best way to help patients heal was to treat them as part of the extended family.
Patients thrived under the supervision and interaction with the Mooney family as well as their recovering friends and co-workers.
himself has been alcohol-free for over 25 years.
Because of the many trials he
family have faced, Mooney
embraces life with great enthusiasm and has a passion for helping others.
began working for the hospital in 1980.
He held many positions, including data processing manager, accounts payable manager, business director, administrator and chief executive officer.
During his tenure as CEO from 1996 to 2011, he ensured the family atmosphere and philosophy begun by his parents was retained at the hospital.
As the hospital's current chairman of the board, he
continues to ensure staff sensitivity and close, personal staff-to-patient interactions, which aid tremendously in recovery.
was also honored with the Deen Day Smith Service to Mankind Award in 2010, which recognizes the community service of individuals in Statesboro and Bulloch County.
"Jimmy Mooney is an outstanding role model and a pioneer in our state for helping so many hurting people find sobriety," said Joseph Parker, president of GHA.