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A Holiday Message from Dr. Kathleen O'Brien

Posted on: December 3, 2013 2:38 pm
Tags: News, Walden events, Friends & alumni activities, Behavioral health
A Holiday Message from Dr. Kathleen O'Brien

December 1, 2013

Dear Friends:

What a year 2013 has been at Walden!  Close to 3,000 lives were touched by our services as we marked our 40th anniversary providing “help for today; hope for tomorrow.”   We have been delighted and honored by the numerous community members who have helped us celebrate turning 40!  Many attended our 40th anniversary signature event, Navigating the Waves of Change, on September 27th at Olde Breton Inn.  Those present enjoyed a gorgeous sunset over the water and were entertained by our singing pirates, tarot card readers, & caricature artist.  We also reminisced over our intertwined history with the growth of St. Mary’s County and were reminded of the importance of our work in mental health, psychiatry, substance use, trauma/crisis and recovery support.

We have been amazed and humbled by the reflections on Walden’s role in the community through a video blog established by the Lexington Park Leader in honor of our 40th year.  Ernie Bell, local attorney, recalled that there wasn’t “a family in the county untouched by drugs when Walden began.”  Dan Raley, former St. Mary’s County Commissioner, credits Walden’s success to “the people who work and have worked there” and describes the designation of Walden as St. Mary’s County’s public provider of substance use services as one of the “greatest things I had the opportunity to play a role in” while in office.  Former Commissioner President Barbara Thompson describes Walden as a “critical provider for people suffering” and reflects that, after 40 years, the need for Walden continues.  Congressman Steny Hoyer thanked Walden “for doing God’s work” and being “such an extraordinary example of an effort critically important to the community” as behavioral health issues are “no longer something to be hidden away” in shame and silence.

These reflections on our past and present have inspired us as we move toward 2014 and strive to meet the new challenges and community needs that await us.  In 2014, we plan to continue to expand our behavioral health services, develop new partnerships, while continuing to provide the service excellence that all of us deserve.

Former Commissioner Ford Dean remarked that the community we serve is “much better off” because we are here. I hope you agree!  Your support is vital to helping us serve the most vulnerable.  We thank you in advance for your goodwill and generosity.

Wishing you and yours a wonderful holiday season and an inspiring New Year,

Kathleen O’Brien, Ph.D. Executive Director