At the Family & Children’s Services June meeting of the Board of Directors, we honored and bid farewell to two long-time members who collectively have served a total of 60 years in support of our work and mission. – Gary Betow and Trish Lieser.
Gary and Trish joined the board nearly 30 years ago – Trish in 1989 and Gary in 1990 – and they have been cornerstones of the F&CS board with a long list of achievements and contributions. During their tenure, they worked with one CEO, Gail Lapidus, and witnessed the unprecedented growth of programs, boards, buildings, funders, financing, clients and employees.
Gary and Trish uniquely served as moral compasses through all the transitions and growth assuring our deliberation and decision making was grounded in our mission, the law and corporate bylaws and fiscal abilities.
Gary served with distinction as our board president in 1995-96. Five years later in 2000, his leadership was especially paramount in the agency’s decision to step up in a community crisis and provide care to those with serious mental illness. The original Tulsa provider of these services got into a contractual dispute with the Department of Mental Health and was unable to reach new terms. At the request of the Department of Mental Health, F&CS stepped in as an emergency provider so the most vulnerable and ill would continue care. The Department of Mental Health then offered the contact to F&CS to become a new community mental health center for Tulsa County, the first new one in over 25 years.
A new board for this service was constituted. Trish agreed to serve on it. Gary agreed to write the F&CS Mental Healthcare bylaws. The minutes report that Trish was the board member who made the motion to accept those bylaws. With that, they leave a legacy of unprecedented mental health excellence that continues to impact the lives of more than 15,000 adult mental health clients at F&CS every year.
Thank you, Gary and Trish, for your dedication and service.