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Sheila Forsner Award

This award is given in memory of Sheila Forsner who rose above her own tragedy and triumphed in educating and inspiring others.

​The 2022 Award was presented to: Dr. Charles Nozicka

In 2014, Chuck contacted AAIM with an interest in traffic safety, risky adolescent behavior, and a passion to advocate for responsible driving. Being a pediatric emergency room physician, he had taken care of too many victims of intoxicated motorists. So, Chuck became an AAIM Board member. Without hesitation, he jumped into public speaking and assisting with the AAIM grief support group. Representing AAIM, he's presented to hundreds of parents and students about the dangers of underage drinking, substance misuse, the parental influence on the use of alcohol, and provided expert brain research on the effects of alcohol on the developing teenage brain. In addition, he gives open discussions on proven skills to prevent the tragedies of impaired driving and underage drinking.

Chuck spends countless hours volunteering his time, working community events that bring awareness to victims' rights, and assists in raising funds for needy crash victims suffering financial hardship. 

Chuck’s work and life-saving efforts pave the way for safer roads in Illinois and will definitely contribute to future safe travels for his four young grandchildren.

Congratulations, Chuck!

​The 2021 Award was presented to: 

​Gary “bogie” Bogolin

Sheila Forsner Story

​​Sheila, her husband, stepson and baby were traveling to our mom’s house when
they were hit by a drunk driver.  Three and half month old Alex, although strapped
into his car seat, was killed instantly by the impact.  Sheila’s stepson remained in a
coma for several days and recovered physically over the following several months. 
Sheila’s husband remained conscious throughout, witnessing the unimaginable
destruction of his family caused by one man’s choice to drive while intoxicated
​and impaired by alcohol and drugs. 

Sheila remained in a coma for several months and, over the next five years, faced not
only the intense grief of losing her son, her independence and the life she had with
her family, she also faced the myriad of challenges caused by the traumatic brain
​ injury (TBI) she sustained in the crash.  She endured countless hours of physical, occupational and speech therapies.  She had to re-learn many of the things we take for granted: how to literally breathe again after being taken off of a ventilator, how to eat, how to talk and find the most effective way to be understood as a result of her speech impairment, how to use the very limited movement she fought to regain in order to be as independent as possible.  This consisted mainly of using her right arm as the TBI affected all of her motor skills and left her virtually a quadriplegic.  She faced so many trips to the hospital as a result of complications due to her injuries, went into kidney failure and had to go on dialysis. Sheila died before she could receive the kidney transplant that had been scheduled. 

A drunk and drug impaired driver killed Alex, Sheila’s first child, our parent’s first grandchild and our first nephew (in a family of six girls!). Alex was with us for what seems like the blink of any eye but his smile and ability to make others smile and feel such overwhelming love spans the years since the crash and defies the passage of time.  One man’s choice decimated so many lives but ultimately did not take away Sheila’s independent character, strength, humor and compassion.  These are the memories we keep of Sheila and Alex.  There have been many additions to our family, nieces and nephews Sheila never met and who never had the chance to know Sheila.  Alex will never know his older brothers and his cousins; his cousins will never know him.  We talk about Sheila and Alex so the children in our family who never met them will know their names, hear about their lives so they can have the opportunity to have a sense of who they were and to know they are an integral part of the tapestry of our family.  Sheila’s work with AAIM and her work with Pat Larson, which was so important to and valued by Sheila, resonate to this day and her family is so honored every year with the presentation of the Sheila Forsner Award.  Sheila often told me that if, through her work with AAIM, she could prevent just one person from going through what she and her family experienced, then she would feel she had contributed something very worthwhile.

I believe she succeeded in her mission.

Patrice Heelan (Sheila’s sister)

​Past Sheila Forsner Award Recipient

Cathy Armstrong          1997

Nancy Foy                      1998

Twyla Blakely                1999

Sally Hoffman                2000

Linda Irwin                     2001

Bill Crowley                   2002

Dave Perozzi                 2003

Pam Kelleher                  2004

Shelly Anderson             2005

Charlie Wooley              2006

Rita Kreslin                     2007

Chet Stanley                   2008

Lucy Romero                   2009

Joel Mains                       2010

Bob Cebrzynski              2011

Claudia Corrigan           2012

Randy Lounds                 2013

Lisa Lilly                          2014

The Olmsted Family      2015
Margaret Borcia            2016

Heather Lopez               2017
Leeslyee Huerta            2018

​Doug Petit                      2019

​Meg Garcia                     2020

Gary “Bogie” Bogolin   2021

Volunteer Service


The Faces of Tragedy

From left: Shelly Anderson, Bob Cebrzynski, Chet Stanley, Gerry Olmsted, Rita Kreslin, and Charlie Wooley. Cindy Huerta, Claudia Corrigan, Sandy Olmsted, and Heather Lopez.

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