Tony Janco honored for work on behalf of Tennessee children
NASHVILLE, Jan. 23, 2009 -- Tony Janco of Gallatin has been named the 2009 CASA Volunteer of the Year by the Tennessee Bar Association Young Lawyers Division. Each year, the YLD selects a Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) volunteer from nominations made by Tennessee's local CASA agencies. The award recognizes a court appointed special advocate who goes the extra mile in his or her work with a CASA program in the state.
In choosing Janco as this year's award recipient, the YLD focused on his volunteer spirit, dedication to the children he serves and commitment to the mission of CASA. Janco has served as a court appointed special advocate with Sumner County CASA for four years -- handling 28 cases, donating over 700 hours of time and putting more than 3,000 miles on his car. In addition to serving children in need of an advocate, Janco has helped the agency with minor structural repairs, office work and fundraising. This past year he helped plan one of the organization's signature events: a dodgeball tournament and fundraiser dubbed "Help a Child Dodge Abuse." Janco is also praised for improving his volunteer service by attending training programs on mental illness, suicide prevention, crisis intervention, stress-induced trauma and school violence.
In nominating Janco for the award, Carole J. Ritter, executive director of Sumner County CASA, said, "Tony is a community servant at heart. He believes in giving back to the community and does it joyfully." Both Janco and Ritter were recognized at the YLD's winter board dinner in Nashville last Friday.
According to his CASA colleagues, Janco also is always willing to take on difficult cases. One case in particular demonstrates his willingness to look past the quick, easy or obvious solution to find the best solution for his client. That case involved a medically fragile infant who was removed from his birth parents due to alleged neglect -- the child was under weight and in need of physical therapy. After being placed in a foster home, the child began to gain weight. The parties involved seized on the development as proof that the birth parents were withholding care. Janco was the only party in the case who took the time to review the child's medical records. In doing so, he discovered that the parents were following their doctor's order regarding the amount of food being fed to the child, but that new doctors had doubled the dosage when the child was placed in foster care. Janco also confirmed that a physical therapist was coming to the parent's home despite allegations to the contrary. In working with the birth parents, Janco was able to address a number of poverty-related issues and secure much-needed services for the family. With these
Finally, what makes Tony Janco a unique CASA volunteer is that he gives his free time to help others after spending his working hours in a dangerous and demanding job that is all about helping others. As a full-time firefighter and chief of the Hendersonville Fire Department, Janco has every right to sit back and take it easy when he gets home from work. The fact that he wants to spend his free time back in the trenches, working to redeem tragic situations, is exactly why he is Tennessee's 2009 CASA Volunteer of the Year.
Janco is married to Felicia Janco, a nurse, who on the heels of the award ceremony was leaving on a medical missions trip.
Both Janco and the Sumner County CASA agency will receive a cash award and be recognized at the TBA Young Lawyers Division's mid-winter board dinner on Jan. 16 in Nashville.