It is with heavy hearts that we announce the passing of a remarkable leader and advocate, James Allen Shanks, on Friday, August 18, 2023. Mr,. Shanks was involved in the healthcare industry as an administrator for almost 60 years, dedicating his life to improving the lives of countless individuals, leaving an indelible mark on both the healthcare and local communities.
Serving as the CEO of Park Place Behavioral Health Care since 2002, Shanks transformed the way mental health care and substance use disorder services are approached while providing unwavering support to those in need.
Before his tenure at Park Place, Shanks’ career was a testament to his passion for healthcare and community well-being. His role as the Executive Director of Osceola Regional Hospital in Kissimmee showcased his commitment to elevating medical services and ensuring the highest standards of patient care. Additionally, his position as the Associate Executive Director for Humana Health Plans of Central Florida demonstrated his dedication to making quality healthcare accessible to all.
Jim Shanks’ profound impact extended far beyond the professional realm. His deep connection and dedication to the Osceola County community earned him numerous awards and accolades, each a testament to his outstanding service:
- Humana Club Outstanding Accomplishments Award: Recognizing his exceptional contributions to healthcare and community development.
- Florida Medical Business Award: Acknowledging his pivotal role in the transformation of Orlando Regional Hospital Lucerne into a beacon of healthcare excellence.
- Rotary Foundation Paul Harris Fellow: A testament to his commitment to the values of Rotary and his significant contributions to the community.
- Rotary 4 Way Test Outstanding Rotarian Award: Honoring his exemplary embodiment of the Rotary principles in his actions and leadership.
- Community Trusteeship Osceola Distinguished Leader: Recognizing his outstanding leadership and dedication to the betterment of the community.
- Martin Luther King Award, Osceola Visionaries: Celebrating his tireless efforts in promoting equality, justice, and unity.
- Chamber of Commerce Hall of Fame: Inducting him into the Hall of Fame for his exceptional contributions to the local business landscape.
- Chamber of Commerce Business of the Year: Recognizing his visionary leadership and positive impact on the local economy.
Jim Shanks’ legacy transcends the awards and recognitions he received. He was not only a CEO but also a beacon of hope, compassion, and inspiration to the staff of Park Place Behavioral Health Care and the individuals they served. His commitment to serving the most vulnerable members of the community was unparalleled, reflecting his deep empathy and understanding of the human experience.
Park Place is a multi-site facility offering a full continuum of new and innovative behavioral services designed to meet the diverse needs of those who live in this region. Additionally, Park Place provides mental health counseling in the County schools and offers substance use disorder intervention and prevention in targeted schools.
They are designated as the “single point of entry” to the Osceola County Central Receiving System of Care. As such, they ensure that individuals who are seeking behavioral health services are provided with an assessment and referral to the level of care that best suits their needs.
In May, led by Mr. Shanks and Park Place Behavioral Health Services, along with Osceola County, the City of Kissimmee Government, and Birdsong Housing, held a groundbreaking for the Dillingham Apartments, 30 affordable units off of Martin Luther King Boulevard in Kissimmee as part of a commitment to ensure individuals with mental illness or substance abuse issues have an opportunity to have a permanent place to call home.
Beyond his professional achievements, Shanks was a community pillar, serving on The Osceola Chamber Board of Directors for over 15 years and leaving an indelible mark as a past chairman. His commitment to servant leadership was evident in every aspect of his life, and his legacy will undoubtedly continue to shape the community for years to come.
As we mourn the loss of James Allen Shanks, let us remember his unwavering dedication to improving mental health care, his compassionate service to the community, and his enduring legacy of leadership. Our thoughts and condolences go out to the Park Place team and the Shanks family during this difficult time. May his memory inspire us all to continue his mission of compassion and service in our own lives.