The National Council on Problem Gambling recognized Sandra (Sandi) Brustuen, of Project Turnabout’s Vanguard Center for Compulsive Gambling, as the winner of the Dr. Robert Custer Lifetime Award for Direct Service, at the 26th National Conference on Problem Gambling in Milwaukee, Wis., on Friday, July 13.
This esteemed award is given to honor a person for exceptional long-standing achievement in the direct provision of services to problem gamblers and their families. Named after the problem gambling pioneer Dr. Robert Custer, the Custer Award for Service is only bestowed in exceptional times and circumstances, to individuals who exemplify at least twenty years of service on behalf of problem gamblers. Only eight have been previously awarded, making Sandi the ninth recipient.
Sandi is a Nationally Certified Gambling Counselor and is recognized as a leader in the field of compulsive/problem gambling treatment. She has been part of Project Turnabout Addiction Recovery Center, in Granite Falls, since 1984, where she helped establish the Vanguard Center for Compulsive Gambling program in 1992.
Sandi has also been an instrumental figure in proactively advocating to the Minnesota legislature for the support of gambling treatment services.
The Vanguard Center for Compulsive Gambling program is one of the few residential treatment programs available for gamblers nationally. Increasing its rarity, the Vanguard program is designed exclusively for the needs of the gambler and operates independent of the other addiction treatment services offered on campus. Since it began, the Vanguard program has helped more than 3,000 individuals and families struggling from gambling addictions.