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Shepherd Family Receives Buckhead Rotary's Highest Honor

Members of the Shepherd Family, whose gifts have helped to rehabilitate thousands of people who suffered spinal cord and brain injuries, are this year's recipients of the Robert Ross Johnson Humanitarian Award. Harold, Alana, and James Shepherd were on hand to receive their award, presented by the Rotary Club of Buckhead at its meeting today.

"The contributions the Shepherd family has made to the field of rehabilitation are immeasurable," said Jim Breedlove, who chairs Buckhead Rotary's award committee. "They are well deserving of our highest honor."

Alana and Harold Shepherd founded what would become Shepherd Center in 1975 after their son James suffered a spinal injury in a bodysurfing accident, and they became frustrated with the lack of rehabilitation options in the Southeast. The center grew rapidly, and last year admitted 947 people to its inpatient programs and 538 to its day programs. It also sees more than 6,000 people each year on an outpatient basis.

The Rotary Club of Buckhead created the Robert Ross Johnson award in 2000 in honor of its late member, Rev. Robert Johnson. The club presents the award annually to a non-Rotarian who exemplifies the Rotary motto of “service above self” and who has made a significant contribution to humanitarian efforts in our community. Previous recipients include Former Atlanta Mayor Andrew Young, Home Depot founder Bernie Marcus, and real estate developer Herman J. Russell, Sr.

About Shepherd Center

Shepherd Center, located in Atlanta, Georgia, is a private, not-for-profit hospital specializing in medical treatment, research and rehabilitation for people with spinal cord injury, brain injury, multiple sclerosis, spine and chronic pain, and other neurological conditions. Founded in 1975, Shepherd Center is ranked by U.S. News & World Report among the top 10 rehabilitation hospitals in the nation. In its more than four decades, Shepherd Center has grown from a six-bed rehabilitation unit to a world-renowned, 152-bed hospital that treats more than 740 inpatients, nearly 280 day program patients and more than 7,100 outpatients each year in more than 46,000 visits.