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Mike Flood, a longtime supporter of Child and Adolescent Behavioral Health (C&A) reminds us in his favorite quote, “Children are the living messengers we send to a time we will not see.” This quote from the book, The Disappearance of Childhood by Neil Postman, sums up Mike’s philosophy of caring for children’s physical, mental and spiritual health.

Mike retired from The Timken Co. as corporate director of human resources in 1999 after 32 years with the company. When asked about a retirement party he stated that he would only have one if it benefited someone else and specifically C&A. Invitations for an Irish themed celebration were sent to family, friends and co-workers with the request to donate to the Mike Flood Endowment Fund for Children’s Mental Health instead of personal gifts. The $25,000 raised at the party became the seed money for the endowment fund that is held at the Stark Community Foundation. Today, the endowment has grown to more than $200,000 and income is available to C&A for special program projects. The long-term goal is to build the fund to $1 million ensuring future availability of needed programs and services to benefit children's mental health.

Chris' Story

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Mike began his quest to help children with mental health issues because his son, Christopher, struggled with mental health issues from early childhood. He was diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder (ADHD) at an early age and was placed on medication. At around age eight that medication was discontinued by someone in the medical community. At age 11, he began using marijuana and throughout his life he experimented with a variety of substances as he self-medicated trying to feel “normal” as he put it. Chris was a good looking, blonde-haired young man who tried to beat addiction many times.

Mike and Kay convinced him to go to a six-week inpatient treatment program with a six- week outpatient continuance when he was 18. He was able to complete his senior year of high school. After high school, he returned to experimenting with a variety of substances. Chris was involved in workplace and motor vehicle accidents and became dependent on opioids for pain. Sadly, following a surgery in 2013, he added heroin to the pain medications he was given after a surgery. Chris died at age 48 of an opioid overdose. At the time of his death, he was back to his faith and in Alcoholics Anonymous but the pull of the opioids for pain was too much of a draw for him.

Mike's affiliation with C&A

In 1981, Mike and his wife Kay continued to seek treatment and help for Chris. Chris’ addictive behavior led to a court appearance where Mike met Rick DeHeer, long-time Stark County Family Court Administrator, who encouraged Mike to join the C&A Board. Mike was on the board from 1985-1995 and served as board president for four years continuing to be supportive after leaving. Mike’s tenure at C&A led to his joining the Stark County Mental Health Board from 1995-1999 and a period of service as board chair. He was chair of the Mental Health Levy in 1998. Mike also served on the Stark County Children’s Services Advocacy and Advisory Board, the Traumatized Child Task Force, St. Michael the Archangel Parish Council (president for multiple years), the Fatherhood Coalition and the Avondale Community Improvement Association (president for three terms). In 2016, Mike received the Gold Key Award from United Way of Greater Stark County.

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The Floods give back to the community

Mike and Kay believe their mission in life is to be involved in their community and both have been active in organizations that help children and families. During Kay’s career, she coordinated the Displaced Homemaker Program at Pyramid Career Services in Canton and worked as a Career Consultant for Russel-Rogat and Right Management outplacement firms of Cleveland. Her community involvement includes Aultman Women’s Board, JRC, Meals on Wheels, YWCA, volunteered at St. Michael’s and she is the editor of the Help Guide, a community resource directory that helps people in crisis and transition find needed services.  Mike and Kay are currently honorary chairs of the JRC Capital Campaign for the Meyers Lake Campus.

“We have been given much,” said Kay. “We are not here a long time; we have an obligation to give back, to leave the earth a bit better than we found it. Her favorite quote is “What do we live for if not to make life less difficult for each other” by George Elliott, aka Mary Ann Evans.

According to Mike, “Stark County has a reputation for caring for children and for their physical, mental and spiritual health throughout the spectrum of childhood. The key to helping children achieve their potential is to recognize barriers to success early and finding the tools to help them succeed.” He believes C&A has the staff and necessary tools to achieve that wherever possible. While many still believe that seeking help for mental health issues carries a stigma both Kay and Mike believe that idea is waning as more and more people like them are open about their own issues and those of family members who have sought and benefited from mental health treatment.

How can you help grow the endowment?

To be part of the Stark County movement to help children achieve their potential and succeed through access to behavioral health counseling and programs please consider donating to the Mike Flood Endowment Fund for Children’s Mental Health.

Donation options include check, payment through PayPal and estate planning.

For more information please contact Dan Mucci, director of mission advancement, at 330-454-7917, ext. 145.

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Mike & Kay United Way
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