Howard Center will present its 2019 Help Is Here Award to U.S. Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt. The award will be presented at the fourth annual Help Is Here Award celebration Oct. 11 at the University of Vermont Alumni House.
The award honors a person whose contributions personify Howard Center’s mission and demonstrate a passion for those served by the organization.
“This recognition from Howard Center is an honor, and it’s personally so meaningful to me,” Leahy said. “Like all Vermonters, I’m grateful for its commitment to helping thousands of Vermonters who are affected by mental health conditions, substance use and developmental disabilities. Howard Center has long been a leader in meeting the needs of our communities, and those needs are far more diverse and challenging today than they were even a decade ago.”
The Howard Center said Leahy “made it a priority to deliver significant funding to Vermont — and the nation — to address substance use disorder and to support those who are providing critical substance use and mental health services.”
At a hearing of the Senate Appropriations Committee, Leahy said, “It is no coincidence that Vermont has a higher number of residents in treatment programs, per capita, than any other state, and that those seeking treatment in the hub-and-spoke system have lower rates of incarceration, hospitalizations and emergency department use. It (was done) through years of work to reduce the stigma surrounding treatment, educate health care providers, make federal investments in Medicaid and develop a treatment and recovery infrastructure that works for rural communities across the state.”
Leahy was elected to the Senate in 1974 and is vice chair of the Appropriations Committee, the senior-most member of the Judiciary Committee and the Senate Agriculture Committee, and the ranking member of the Appropriations Subcommittee on State Department, Foreign Operations and Related Programs. He’s been in the Senate since 1975 and ranks first in seniority.