The presentation of the 2019 John J. Baldi Award for Excellence was delayed by the pandemic. But last week, staff and advisory board members from Lackawanna-Susquehanna Behavioral Health/Intellectual Disabilities/Early Intervention (LS BH/ID/EI) recognized former Susquehanna County Commissioner MaryAnn Warren for her work with agency.
The award, which has been presented to 26 people since 1999, recognizes outstanding research, evaluation and development efforts within Lackawanna and Susquehanna counties that have made an impact on the quality of life for persons with mental illness and those in recovery or persons with a developmental disability.
Warren is the first county commissioner to be honored with the John J. Baldi award. Susquehanna County Sheriff Lance Benedict is among past award recipients.
In the presentation Friday at Bingham’s Restaurant in Lenox, LS BH/ID/EI advisory board chairman Marty McGurrin said Warren has “made a profound impact upon the lives of individuals with mental illness and intellectual disabilities by virtue of her dedication and compassion to all persons interacting with the Human Service System, especially residents of Susquehanna County.”
Warren first joined the program’s advisory board in 2004 and served until the end of December 2019. “She worked tirelessly to identify needs,” McGurrin said. “Over the years, she was at the forefront of creating programs and services to address those needs, most recently she tackled suicide by co-sponsoring the Susquehanna County Suicide Awareness Initiative.”
Warren also spearheaded the Substance Use and Recovery Initiative in 2018 with a focus on reducing and eliminating alcohol, opioid and other drug-related overdoses and death in Susquehanna County. She also founded an annual Resource Day event in the county, which was held for three years, and provided a forum for residents to access human services information, as well as other county resources.
McGurrin said “MaryAnn is the epitome of this award.”
Warren said she was humbled to be included among the past-recipients. She acknowledged the support of Commissioner Alan Hall in putting together teams and resources for the programs. “I never wanted Susquehanna County to be left out,” she said.