Congratulations to the 2023 National Awards Recipients

The American Massage Therapy Association celebrates the accomplishments of individuals whose dedication, enthusiasm and leadership have earned high recognition by bestowing a series of national awards. Congratulations to the following national awards recipients for their outstanding service!

Distinguished Service Award Recipient: Maureen Stott

The Distinguished Service Award is given annually to honor someone who has contributed to the massage therapy profession in an outstanding manner and to acknowledge diligent volunteerism done in an altruistic manner. 

Maureen Stott has been a devoted volunteer to the AMTA community and the massage profession for over two decades. Her journey began by passionately serving as a Delegate for the Connecticut Chapter for many years. She then moved to the National level, as a valued member of the Assembly of Delegates Advisory Committee, where she played a pivotal role in successfully transitioning the team from the former House of Delegates.

In 2022, Maureen retired from volunteering with the Advisory Committee, leaving behind a legacy of service. Her many contributions have undeniably made a lasting impact on the committee's work.

President's Award Recipient: Pat Collins

The President’s Award honors someone who has contributed to the massage therapy profession in an outstanding and altruistic manner, and is selected by AMTA’s National President. 

Pat Collins has been a dedicated AMTA volunteer for over 18 years. She served as the New York Chapter Convention Chair as well as Chapter President. She then took her passion for the profession to the National level where she became a member of the Commission on Candidacy, the Government Relations Operational Committee, and Chair of the Slate Selection Commission (SSC).

Her commitment to the profession continued as she went on to serve for the National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork Slate Selection Commission and as a Director on the AMTA National Board. Pat continues to inspire those around her as a valued member of the SSC.

Becky Schwoebel Making a Difference Award Recipient: Steve Albertson

The Becky Schwoebel Making a Difference Award is an honor bestowed on a long-term volunteer who has helped bring positive change and innovation to the massage therapy profession. This award recognizes Becky Schwoebel, a volunteer and valued friend to AMTA who left behind a legacy of integrity, professionalism, leadership, and volunteerism.

Over the course of more than two decades, Steve Albertson’s unwavering dedication to AMTA and the massage profession has been evident at every stage of his journey. Beginning with his involvement in the Illinois Chapter, Steve ultimately joined the National Board of Directors.

As an AMTA National Board member, his dedication was especially evident when he served as the National President during the last half of the COVID-19 pandemic. During those challenging times, he provided guidance and leadership, and went above and beyond to ensure that all volunteers and members felt valued and included. His commitment to the success of AMTA and his support for its members and volunteers are a testament to his genuine care for the AMTA community.

Humanitarian Award Recipient: Deborah Wade

The Humanitarian Award is given to a member nominated by a chapter colleague, who has demonstrated the "heart" of massage in action through volunteer work in the larger community.

Deborah has been a devoted volunteer for the North Carolina Chapter for over 15 years. During her tenure, she has served in many roles, including serving on their Board of Directors for the past 7 years. She has also grown the Chapter’s Community Service Massage Team.

In 2016, she started a health and wellness clinic at the Triad Health Project, which serves those affected with HIV and homelessness. In the clinic, she educates them on various health topics, and offers free chair massages. As a selfless volunteer, Deborah always steps up to help a friend or colleague and the needs of her community.

Government Relations Activist Award Recipient: Briana Cudly

The Government Relations Activist Award is presented to an individual for exceptional accomplishments at the chapter and/or the national level of AMTA for their governmental relations activities.

Serving as the Government Relations Chair for the Nebraska Chapter since 2018, Briana has been a strong advocate for the state and the massage therapy profession. She actively participates in legislative sessions, attends board meetings, testifies at bill hearings, and maintains communication with state board members. Along with creating easy to follow, “Call to Actions” for their members and stakeholders, Briana was instrumental in writing a bill that updated the massage therapy definition in statute.

Briana's efforts have cultivated professional involvement and a strong reputation among Nebraska's massage therapists. Thanks to Briana’s actions and commitment, Nebraska’s Senators can always count on hearing from local massage therapists whenever there is legislation involving the profession.

National Meritorious Award Recipient: Kathleen “Cass” Crewdson

The National Meritorious Award is given for diligent volunteerism done in an altruistic manner.

For almost 34 years, Kathleen "Cass" Crewdson has continually stepped up and volunteered at the Chapter and National level with enthusiasm and dedication. She has served in many roles including President of the Connecticut Chapter, and helped usher in licensing massage therapy in the state. She previously received the Chapter Meritorious Award in 1994 and 2009, and the Chapter and National Humanitarian Award in 2020.

Cass is an inspiration and mentor to many. As a quiet leader, she never looks for recognition. She motivates others to get involved because she believes in the power of the massage therapy profession and AMTA.

New Volunteer of the Year Award Recipient: Monica Garza

The New Volunteer of the Year Award is given to honor and recognize emerging volunteers in AMTA.

As a new volunteer, Monica’s tireless devotion has made her a key asset to her chapter and the massage therapy profession. She has done an outstanding job coordinating numerous events for the Texas Chapter ranging from regional education events to the annual state convention. Monica's liaison work, business expertise and commitment to excellence were indispensable in planning this year’s state convention.

Monica embodies the spirit of volunteerism – her friendly and professional demeanor, along with her perseverance to go above and beyond, has earned her respect and admiration throughout her chapter and community.

New Volunteer of the Year Award Recipient: Jenne Wilusz

The New Volunteer of the Year Award is given to honor and recognize emerging volunteers in AMTA.

Over the past two years, Jenne has shown great enthusiasm with her willingness to make a difference in the Connecticut Chapter. In addition to being a valuable member of their conference committee, Jenne has lent her fresh perspective as a young member and utilized her social media and marketing background to enhance the chapter's communication channels. This led to the creation of the first Communications Chair position, which was appointed to Jenne this year.

Jenne has also attended numerous out-of-state training sessions where she gathered ideas and has since incorporated them into her overall messaging to the chapter and community. Jenne’s commitment has made a lasting impact on the Connecticut Chapter as she continues to grow as a leader.

Jerome Perlinski Teacher of The Year Award Recipient: Deborah Hrycaj

The Jerome Perlinski Teacher of The Year Award honors one teacher every year who has gone above and beyond for the profession.

With over 12 years of experience as a massage therapist, Deborah excels in massage therapy education. She is well known for going the extra mile to provide individualized attention to her students and helping them cultivate their unique massage style and confidence as they embark on their professional paths. Her commitment to her students extends beyond graduation as she willingly provides ongoing professional guidance and support.

In addition to her work as an instructor, she volunteers her time as Chapter President for the Wisconsin Chapter and is an active member on their Communications Committee. Deborah's tireless efforts, in the classroom and within the AMTA community, exemplify her dedication and passion for the massage profession.

Chapter Meritorious Award Recipients

The AMTA Chapter Meritorious Award is the highest award bestowed upon an AMTA member by a chapter. This award acknowledges diligent volunteerism done in an altruistic manner.

Arizona: Connie Griffith

Arkansas: Amber Dehn

Colorado: Shelly Cox

Connecticut: Kathleen "Cass" Crewdson

Florida: Kristine Sweatt

Georgia: Miranda Womack

Kentucky: Jo Ann Klein

Louisiana: Diane Navarre

Maine: Anita DeVito

Massachusetts: Merrill Pregeant

Minnesota: Sarah Haar

Mississippi: Stephanie Kennett

Missouri: Esteban A. Ruvalcaba

Nebraska: Steve Carper

Nevada: Sarah McCallum

New Jersey: Heather Dalton

New Mexico: Carl Hime III

New York: Shania Sonneville

North Carolina: Dr. Steven Koehler

North Dakota: Ella Moch

Ohio: Melissa Ryan

Oklahoma: Rocky Chen

Oregon: Jamin Rak

Rhode Island: Kimberly Haskins

South Carolina: Melissa Rusell

Texas: Matthew Manriquez

Utah: Dave Hunter

Washington: Allison Hanelt

West Virginia: Timothy Lisbon

Wisconsin: Deborah Hrycaj