Portland, September 12th, 2013. The 14th Annual Samuel C. Wheeler Freedom Award drew 400 supporters to the Governor Hotel. The event was inspiring with a full room of people supportive of reducing the stigma surrounding addiction and recovery; it raised $190,000 for De Paul Treatment Centers. Pictured are Executive Director Sheila North, Freedom Award honoree Mark O’Donnell, and De Paul Board President Jay Minor. (photo credit, Andie Petkus)

Portland attorney Mark P. O’Donnell was awarded this year’s Freedom Award for his commitment to AA and his work in the community. “Mark is an inspiration for many, and the support of his friends, family, and colleagues at the event made it clear that he has made an impact in our community,” leaders

Mark O'Donnell receives a standing ovation

Mark O’Donnell receives a standing ovation



Ted and Tom Wheeler share a memory of their father, Sam.

Ted and Tom Wheeler share a memory of their father, Sam.

This year, the Freedom Award was renamed to honor Samuel C. Wheeler, a long-time supporter and friend of De Paul Treatment Centers and the first Freedom Award honoree. Sam Wheeler’s dedication to the recovery community and commitment to the De Paul Treatment Centers makes him a prime example of the traits the Freedom Award recognizes. Sam’s sons State Treasurer Ted Wheeler and Tom Wheeler spoke about their father at the event. 

De Paul Board Secretary & Treasurer Harry Wilson makes a pledge

De Paul Board Secretary & Treasurer Harry Wilson makes a pledge


The funds generated from the 14th Annual Samuel C. Wheeler Freedom Award enable the nonprofit to continue to live out its mission of creating freedom from addiction for men, women, youth, and families. 

De Paul Treatment Centers is one of Oregon’s oldest and largest providers of residential and outpatient chemical dependency treatment for adults and youth. Our mission is to create freedom from addiction for individuals, families, and communities. Founded by the Portland Society of St. Vincent de Paul in 1974, De Paul became an independent, secular 501(c)3 nonprofit agency in 1978. More than 30,000 people have been served since De Paul’s inception. De Paul Treatment Centers uses proven and effective treatment strategies to fulfill its mission.

Initially, De Paul served only adult males. In 1984 we expanded our programs to work with women, and in 1985, De Paul opened the De Paul Youth & Family Center to provide treatment to adolescents aged 13 to 18.

De Paul was one of the first organizations in Oregon to use evidence-based practices to treat substance use disorders and treat co-occurring mental health disorders. In 2005, De Paul became one of the first agencies in the area to implement an electronic medical record.

Approximately 2,000 men, women, and youth participate in substance use disorder treatment each year through our three residential and outpatient treatment facilities in the Portland Metropolitan area- the De Paul adult center in downtown Portland, De Paul Youth & Family Center in NE Portland, and De Paul’s Hillsboro outpatient center. All locations offer mental health treatment for clients with co-occurring disorders. Our clients are culturally diverse adults, youth and families with substance use disorders. We serve clients from across Oregon and the surrounding states, with most residing in the Portland Metropolitan area.