VCPEA presents the award at our annual conference every other year.  Nominations are now being accepted for the May 25-27, 2022, conference.  Nominees must have made substantial contributions to the prevention of and/or response to the abuse, neglect, and exploitation of older Virginians.  They must demonstrate moxie, integrity, attitude, and adaptability in their actions.  Please find the nomination form and instructions on how to submit here; nominations must be received by April 8, 2022.  The winner will receive free conference registration and a two-night hotel stay to the VCPEA Annual Conference at the Kingsmill Resort in Williamsburg, May 25-27, 2022.  The winner will be recognized at the conference.

The Helen J. Napps Award of Excellence, established by the Virginia Coalition for the Prevention of Elder Abuse (VCPEA), recognizes professional excellence by individuals who work in the area of elder abuse prevention and/or elder abuse protection. VCPEA presents the award at its annual abuse prevention conference in Virginia Beach in odd-numbered years.


Helen Napps

 A Tribute to Helen Napps

From the blog of Joy Duke,

Retired Virginia APS Specialist

(Used with permission)

The radiance which was once so bright is now forever taken from our sight; though nothing can bring back the hour of splendor in the grass, of glory in the flower; we will find strength in what remains behind, in the primal kindness, in the soothing thoughts that spring out of human suffering, in the faith that looks through death. (William Wordsworth)

Helen Napps’s time on this earth ended on March 22, 2017, at her home in Abingdon, Virginia, after a prolonged illness. It is my privilege to have known Helen for more than 30 years. She was my colleague and my friend. When I joined the Adult Protective Service staff at the State Department of Social Services more than 30 years ago, Helen did not immediately “take to me.” Her biggest concern seemed to be that she would get me molded the way she wanted me and I would then leave the job leaving her to start over and mold the next person. I was in the position twenty years so I probably satisfied her in that regard.

We became good friends and confidants. When I passed through Abingdon I knew there was a bed at 155 East Main Street with my name on it and I was not hesitant to use it. I stayed at the Napps home when the trips from Memphis to Richmond got too long to go all the way in a single day; when Helen invited me to be her guest during the Highlands Festival held in August in Abingdon (especially when writing classes were offered); and to attend something special at the Barter.

Helen was good at her job. If she had a skill set that stood above her other skills it would be her excellence as an educator and trainer. She loved training and she was an exceptional trainer. Helen was a charter board member of VCPEA. She also offered workshops and seminars as part of the VCPEA’s annual conference. At her retirement the organization established in Helen’s honor an award in the form of a free registration to the VCPEA conference for a conferee who made substantial contributions toward the prevention of abuse, neglect and exploitation as well as support of vulnerable older Virginians. The award is given every two years; i.e. odd numbered years.

Helen’s humanitarian interests were not restricted to elders and adults with disabilities (her professional responsibilities) but encompassed people of all ages who had special needs. Some she served through her church and others through civic organizations and others who just came to her attention.

A memorial service was held for Helen at Sinking Spring Presbyterian Church, the church where she worshiped since her relocation to Abingdon from North Carolina in 1970. Her family and friends were there to celebrate her life and its many accomplishments and her plethora of interests.  The presiding minister aptly, I thought, referred to Helen as “woman on fire.”

I will always remember Helen. The wind will whisper her name.  Her aura has survived the dastardly illness she suffered these last years.

From Ecclesiastes: 12

The golden bowl is broken indeed, but it was golden…

Life, lovely while it lasts, is soon over.

Life as we know it, precious and beautiful, ends.

The body is put back in the earth from which it came.

The spirit returns to God, who first breathed it.

Rest in peace Helen Napps. Your work will live on. You will not be forgotten. 


To view previous winners follow this link.