2017 distinguished service award

  • Awarded:
  • September 23, 2017

This award is presented to an individual or an entity who is not a member of our organization, but who has made a substantial contribution to improve the quality of life for the blind of Montana. This award will be given by the National Federation of the Blind of Montana at our annual state convention, but only as often as circumstances merit. This recognition represents the highest honor that can be given by our affiliate. The recipient of this award will be an individual or entity that we regard as a true friend of the blind, supportive of our progressive philosophy of blindness, instrumental in championing programs that will benefit the blind community of Montana, and dedicated to initiatives that will generate hope and promise for the blind of Montana in innumerable ways.

Our Second Distinguished Service Award

This year’s recipient of the Distinguished Service Award has had a long career in public administration, including as the Regional Director of both the Eastern and Western Divisions of the American Cancer Society of Oregon, and the Assistant Administrator of the Community Hospital in Pendleton, Oregon. This person began working in the state of Montana in 1995, in the Governor’s Office of Community Service. This person has been the supervisor of a department that we know her best from since 1998. This department had six full time employees and one hundred volunteers, serving an estimated 3 to 4 thousand Montanans.

She is a longtime supporter of all blind and low vision consumer groups, both in Montana and nationwide, including as a past Chair of the Western Region Conference of the National Library Service (NLS) of the Library of Congress, and as a past member of both the NLS Digital Transition Advisory Committee and the Collection Development Committee. She has served on many advisory boards and committees addressing special needs for Montanans. She is the current President of Low Vision Montana. In 2010, she received the Governor’s Award for Excellence for implementation of a digital conversion project for the local audio collection of the Montana Talking Book Library. She has edited and recorded the Bits Of Gold newsletter for the Montana Talking Book Library. She was there for the unveiling of their new talking book studio, funded entirely by patron donations.

She lives in Helena with her husband, Charlie, and has five grown children, nine grandchildren, and one dog, a Bichon, named Gracie.

Her position as supervisor/regional librarian of the Montana Talking Book Library was a casualty of the recent budget cuts. In a recent email to me, she said something that I think shows where her heart is, and her love and care for all of us.

“I have come to believe that everything happens for a greater reason that I often cannot visualize. Whether it is for the benefit of a cause I champion (talking book library, etc.) or for my personal journey I do not begin to understand. I can tell you the amount of stress I was under has declined since leaving. I still have a passion to advocate for the rights of those who cannot read standard print and will find a way to stay active in that regard. However, first I need to decompress, rest, and focus on my immediate family and surroundings.”

“Life is oh so very short. Although I’m maintaining my health well enough, I do need to step up my regimen to better secure the time I have left, which I hope will be years away.”

“I will continue to advocate for the blind, low vision, physically and reading disabled in the best way I know how for as long as I can. I wish you all the best and will always remember each and every patron as long as my brain is intact!”

“I pray that you take good care of yourselves and one another and value the time you have. Take care.” Fondly, Christie

So for her dedication to us as individual patrons, her excellence as a librarian, her personal warmth and friendship, and her advocacy and passion for reading and literacy for the blind of Montana and the nation, it is my pleasure to present the 2017 Distinguished Service Award of the National Federation of the Blind of Montana To Christie Briggs.