Lifetime Achievement Award

Lifetime Achievement Award

Ronald Steven Federici

Our next award is the first time we have recognized someone outside our Jasper Mountain family, but in a real sense he is very much a member of the Jasper Mountain family.

Ronald Steven Federici was born into a military family with Italian ancestry, a formidable combination.  He grew up learning structure, personal confidence and the importance of family.  His academic work was interrupted with a family tradition of serving our country in the military in his case the United States Marines.  After his service Ron returned to college and obtained two masters degrees and ultimate two doctorates (one is never enough) from the University of Chicago and the University of Illinois.

For more than a quarter century “Dr. Ron,” as his many clients call him, has gravitated to the most challenging children with the most challenging neurological and developmental difficulties.  His professional career would take too long to fully describe but some highlights are his international consulting with adoptions from primarily Eastern Europe.  In the process of working in Russia and Romania (among the languages he speaks he is fluent in both Russian and Romanian) with some of the most infamous orphanages, he began assisting children coming to the United States and eventually seven of these children he personally adopted.  His work in Romania was noticed by the White House and he had to decline being considered as the Ambassador of Romania.

Dr. Ron and Jasper Mountain were meant to get to know each other due to the many similarities.  Like Jasper Mountain Ron is interested in helping the most damaged children.  Like us he has been faced with a need to speak out on many issues and some have been unpopular with the system at times, and like us he will not back down in speaking out for children regardless of the personal cost.  Perhaps even more than us he has been the target of professional and personal attacks that have been characterized by intentional distortions from small groups of fanatics who take turns smearing his reputation.  Like us he has been a tireless advocate for the overlooked needs of very damaged children who are expensive and not easy to treat or to educate.  He has received considerable media attention and some of it has sensationalized his work in both positive and negative ways.  And like us there is a spiritual core to Ron’s life that helps him successfully face obstacles that appear impossible to overcome.

As impressive as all this is, what I am most struck by with Ron’s career is how he has for the most part been “an army of one” in his life-long efforts to professionally and personally make a difference for children and their families.  While fighting for the needs of children in deplorable orphanages, fighting with systems in the US who look for reasons not to fund the mental health and educational needs of foreign born adopted children, he has weathered family tragedy, difficult economic times personally and in business, and serious health concerns that have him frequently seeing specialists and spending time in hospitals.  He has faced obstacles that few could overcome and when his health has left him with very little energy, he has put all of that energy into helping others.

I believe it is fair to say that on some of Ron’s more difficult days when he knows he is outnumbered in his fights with the international mistreatment of children, with the system of care in the US that wants quick and cheap fixes for children, and with zealots who attack him on the internet, that he has taken some comfort that Jasper Mountain exists and stands for much of what he stands for.  Yes we were meant to have our paths cross and they have on many occasions.  In a very real way Dr. Ron is a member of the Jasper Mountain family, he is the only non-board member to have a treatment room named after him.  I am proud to call Ron my colleague and friend.

We therefore present to Dr. Ronald S. Federici the Lifetime Achievement Award in recognition to his service to children and their families both as a highly respected professional and a resilient committed human being.  

(c) 2014 Dr. Ronald Federici