Ginger Zee, ABC News Chief Meteorologist, Receives LSSI’s 2018 True Friend Award

More than 200 people were present to see ABC News Chief Meteorologist Ginger Zee receive Lutheran Social Services of Illinois' (LSSI) True Friend Award at the 37th Amicus Certus Celebration on Oct. 6, 2018 at the Union League Club of Chicago. Emceed by Judy Hsu, news anchor for ABC7 Chicago, the event raised $159,000 for LSSI's programs throughout Illinois, with a specific emphasis on mental health.

LSSI presents the True Friend Award annually to a person or organization that has made a significant contribution to the human community. Zee was honored for her efforts to create awareness for depression and mental illness. She chronicled her own struggle with depression in her poignant and humorous memoir, Natural Disaster: I Cover Them, I am One.

"We are grateful for the courage Ginger took in confronting her depression," said LSSI President Mark Stutrud in presenting the True Friend Award. "More importantly, we appreciate and admire her determination to help others by writing the book and sharing her experience, as well as her willingness, as she has said, to spark a larger conversation about depression and mental illness."

In accepting the award, Zee shared photos and details of her career that put her at the center of some of most devastating natural disasters including floods, tornadoes, and hurricanes all the while dealing with depression. She said she gained tremendous perspective covering weather phenomenon, notably that, "Life is too short to worry about the small things" and that "Clouds don’t last forever."

Zee sought inpatient treatment for depression just 10 days before starting her dream job with ABC News. Zee said that writing about her experience was a way to reach those, like her, who live with depression. "Depression and mental illness don’t discriminate," Zee said. "I want to keep the conversation going."

In addition to the award presentation, the evening featured Wine Reveal and Buyer's Choice raffles and dancing to the music of Uptown Rhythm.

LSSI is grateful to the following corporate sponsors who helped underwrite the event: BMO Harris Bank, Garen LLC, Harney management, Advocate Health Care, Mutual of America, The Aigner Foundation, Baker Tilly, Gallagher LLC, Wintrust Financial, Blue Cross Blue Shield, Ellwood Associates, IntentGen Financial Partners, and Vanguard Archives LLC.

About LSSI

Serving Illinois since 1867, Lutheran Social Services of Illinois (LSSI) is a nonprofit social service organization of the three Illinois synods of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA). LSSI is one of the largest statewide social service providers, serving over 50,000 people across Illinois last year. The organization provides critical programs for Illinois residents including foster care, early childhood education, mental health services, alcohol and drug treatment, affordable senior housing, residential programs for people with developmental disabilities, and programs that help formerly incarcerated individuals integrate back into society.


Barb Hailey