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Dedication of John Donovan Memorial Walking Trail 

Commissioner James S. Reinhard, M.D., assisted with the dedication of a walking trail to the memory of John J. Donovan at Central State Hospital Campus, Petersburg, on Wednesday, October 18, 2006. The event was planned and organized by the staff of Central State Hospital to memorialize their friend, John J. Donovan, and to recognize the dedication of staff whose mission in life is service to others.

Along with Dr. Reinhard, others present included Rev. Cheryl Ivey Green, Member, State Mental Health, Mental Retardation and Substance Abuse Services Board, Hon. Rosalyn Dance, Member, House of Delegates, members of the Old Dominion Appalachian Trail Club, staff of the hospital and friends of Mr. Donovan.

The .88 mile Donovan Trail awaits its official dedication.

The .88 mile Donovan Trail awaits its official dedication

Members of the Old Dominion Trail Club Heidi and Chris Hook talk with a reporter, and Greg Wolber, Ph.D., and Renay Durham of CSH, about their friend and fellow hiker, John Donovan.

Members of the Old Dominion Trail Club Heidi and Chris Hook talk with a reporter, and Greg Wolber, Ph.D., and Renay Durham of CSH, about their friend and fellow hiker, John Donovan.

State Board member Rev. Cheryl Ivey Green spoke with Dr. Ronald Forbes, CSH Medical Director, as everyone gathered to honor Mr. Donovanís memory.

State Board member Rev. Cheryl Ivey Green spoke with Dr. Ronald Forbes, CSH Medical Director, as everyone gathered to honor Mr. Donovanís memory.

Dr. Forbes, CSH Medical Director, was the Master of Ceremonies for the ribbon cutting.

Dr. Forbes, CSH Medical Director, was the Master of Ceremonies for the ribbon cutting.

Ms. Renay Durham, CSH Medical Records Manager, and Commissioner Reinhard cut the ribbon on the Donovan Trail.

Ms. Renay Durham, CSH Medical Records Manager, and Commissioner Reinhard cut the ribbon on the Donovan Trail.

On April 19, 2005, John Donovan retired from a 30-year career as a social worker with Central State Hospital. On the day of his retirement, he set off on the hiking trip of his dreams, the Pacific Coast Trail in California. On May 6, 2005 a blizzard dumped eight inches of snow on Mount San Jacinto and John was trapped on the mountain and lost. One year later, Brandon Day and Gina Allen were hiking the same trail and ventured off course to take pictures. They got lost and found a yellow backpack containing matches and other supplies that allowed them to summon help and be rescued.

John Donovanís body was found about 50 yards from the backpack. Johnís friends and colleagues at Central State Hospital were not surprised that John was able to help someone even after his death. He is remembered as a generous and gentle person. John walked everywhere--to work, from work, rain or shine, summer and winter. He believed that his mission in life was to help others, and he did just that with the patients at Central State.


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