Houghton Honored with
Governor's Exemplary Service Award
April 28, 2009- Joan
Houghton of Yarmouth was honored by Governor John
Baldacci this morning as a recipient of the Governor's
Exemplary Service Award.
Dennis King, chief
executive officer of Spring Harbor Hospital, echoed the
Governor's recognition and characterized Joan as "an
absolute gem….whose main mission in life is to improve
the lives of those vulnerable individuals who are
struggling to recover from mental illness and other
| l-r: Joan Houghton, SHH Board of
Trustee; Governor Baldacci, Ric Hanley,
Ms. Houghton has served on
the Board of Trustees of Spring Harbor
Hospital and is a member of the Board's Performance
Improvement Committee. Spring Harbor Hospital is a
100-bed psychiatric facility that serves more than 2,500
inpatients each year, and is part of a network that
provides 60,000 outpatient visits annually.
Ms. Houghton played an integral role in shaping the
design and construction of the new hospital that was
opened in March 2004. Throughout the design
development process hers was a constant voice reminding
that the hospital should be constructed with patients'
well-being and safety as an uppermost
consideration. She helped with selection of
interior design features that proved to be very soothing
and therapeutic for the more than 10,000 patients served
by Spring Harbor Hospital since its opening.
During her tenure on the board, Spring Harbor Hospital
has served well over 20,000 patients.
passionate advocate for the rights of those suffering
from serious mental illness, Ms. Houghton truly
understands the delicate balance between the right to
receive treatment, and the right to refuse. Her
focus is consistently on what is in the best interest of
the individual, while she advocates for fair and high
quality treatment for all.
Ms. Houghton has
served for 9 years on the Governor's Mental Health
Advisory Council, including 2 years as Vice-Chair and 2
years as Chair. This group was largely responsible
for prioritizing the numerous mental health bills that
came before the legislature.
In addition to her
work with mental health, Ms. Houghton continues to
volunteer for the Junior League of Portland, of which
she has been a member for 30 years. She is a
long-time church volunteer, teaching religious education
classes, serving on governing councils, doing nursing
home outreach, and supporting refugee resettlement; she
has worked with the Cumberland school district as
an anti-drug facilitator; serves on the Cumberland
County Human Services Board; serves as a board member
and legislative liaison for the Mental Health
Association of Cumberland County; and is a member
of the Women's Committee of the Portland Symphony
Ric Hanley, chief operating officer at
Spring Harbor Hospital who nominated her for the award
shares, "If there were more than 168 hours in a week,
Joan would find a way to fill them with service to
others. If you ask Joan what she does for work, she will
probably tell you that she is "a professional advocate.
Technically, she may retain "amateur" status as an
unpaid volunteer, but Joan is a consummate professional
in everything that she does. Every person whom she
encounters in her volunteer life, as well as every facet
of her life, is greeted with enthusiasm, respect, and
Joan will never know all the people her
life's work of volunteerism has touched, but that's not
her raison d'être. Besides, she moves too fast for
pats on the back.