As a society, and particularly one facing the historic challenges of the heroin and opioid epidemic, our greatest resource is people. And while so many in the St. Joseph’s family believe in, and act in service to others, I take this opportunity to recognize and to thank a champion in our community, Deacon Steven DeMartino, for his commitment to “healing individuals, restoring families, and strengthening communities” through his service and devotion to St. Joseph’s as our Board Chair from 2009 until March of this year.
Steven’s spirit of service is deeply embedded in the recovery culture and has been fundamental to St. Joseph’s success since his assuming the responsibilities of Board Chair ten years ago. His active engagement and thoughtful guidance throughout the past decade reflect the deeply meaningful tenet that we are all our brothers’ and our sisters’ keepers.
Over the last ten years, I have enjoyed Steven’s friendship, his leadership, and his guidance. And, while his contributions to our mission are far too many to recount, I am compelled to provide the following highlights:
Just prior to Steven assuming responsibilities as our Board Chair, he served as a member of the Board during the historic transition of St. Joseph’s governance from the Friars of the Atonement to our becoming an independently administered agency. Also that year, St. Joseph’s determined to pursue, and in fact, received $3 million in funding to construct the Col. C. David Merkel MD Veterans Residence.
In 2009, St. Joseph’s earned recognition as One of the Best Places to Work for in New York State, and as many of you know, 2019 marks our 7th such acknowledgment.
In 2010, the Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services (OASAS), awarded St. Joseph’s $13,000,000 in capital funding to acquire and renovate our main, 53,000-square-foot building.
In 2014, the Saranac Lake Chamber of Commerce designated St. Joseph’s as the community’s “Best Business of the Year”.
St. Joseph’s acquired our Rose Hill adolescent addiction treatment program in 2016 and has since then grown its capacity to serve young clients from 14 to 28 beds.
We have increased our Outpatient and Community Service capacity from five sites to eight with the addition of locations in Tupper Lake, Massena, and Keeseville.
In 2016, St. Joseph’s received a $5.56 million capital grant from the New York State Homeless Housing and Assistance Corporation to establish a 20-unit supportive housing facility in Malone, NY. The Empire State Supportive Housing Initiative also awarded St. Joseph’s $1,500,000 for staffing for the project.
In 2019, we received $1,327,000 (to be expended over 5 years) to open similar facilities in Massena, Malone, and Saranac Lake.
Later this year, St. Joseph’s will open a detoxification unit, a 24/7 Open Access Center to help direct people to addiction treatment services, and the site of our expanded St. Joseph’s Saranac Lake Outpatient Clinic. We received $3.3 million in capital funding for the project with assistance from the Primary Care Development Corporation (PCDC) which will result in a savings of time of more than 18 months from concept approval to the opening of the doors of this much-needed facility.
The agency has progressed from a $5 million operating budget to one of approximately $16 million over the past decade and today generates an estimated $30 million in positive economic impact for the local economy.
This measurable growth, including the implementation of the Sanctuary model into our culture and the introduction of St. Joseph’s Leadership Academy as a reflection of our investment in and appreciation of our employees, is impressive and reflective of Steven’s acumen and determination, yet belies his many other qualities – patience, love for others, resilience, and compassion to name but a few, and which have all combined to offer the countless promises of sustained recovery for so many individuals and families; people who have come to St. Joseph’s for care during his tenure as our Board Chair and who have left us with renewed faith in themselves and with the promise of brighter days ahead.
And I am most pleased to share that Steven’s service to St. Joseph’s will continue as he assumes the role as Vice Chair, a decision for which I am truly grateful. Steven, along with Vince Connors, as Chair, and Hal Schmidt as Treasurer, continue as an extremely effective Executive Committee of our Board.
On behalf of all in the family of St. Joseph’s, I thank Steven most sincerely for his continuing commitment to our mission of providing hope and healing.