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Posted Wednesday, June 14th, 2017


Morris County honored three leaders in the field of human services this week for their continuous dedication to the neediest and most vulnerable residents of the county, and their willingness to advocate on their behalf.

photo: (l/r) M.C. Mental Heakth Administrator Laurie Becker, Valerie Fox, Lou Schwarcz, Marcy McMahon, and Pamela Garanger

(l/r) M.C. Mental Health Administrator Laurie Becker, Valerie Fox, Lou Schwarcz, Marcy McMann, and Pamela Garanger

Recognized at Monday’s annual Morris County Mental Health, Addiction and Human Services Forum held in Hanover Township were:

  • Valerie Fox of Parsippany: 2017 Terri Belske Consumer Advocate Award;
  • Pamela Garanger of Rockaway Township: 2017 Morris County Family Advocate Award;
  • Lou Schwarcz of Parsippany: 2017 Morris County Community Leadership Award.

The awards were presented by Marcy McMann, chairwoman of the county’s Mental Health Addictions Services Advisory Board, and Morris County Freeholder Christine Myers.

“These are dedicated public servants who have gone above and beyond the norm to make sure that people in need in Morris County get the benefits and services required to help them live a full and meaningful life,’’ said Freeholder Myers. “They have honored all of us in Morris County with their dedication.’’


photo: (l/r) Valerie Fox and Marcy McMahon

(l/r) Valerie Fox and Marcy McMann

Valerie Fox: She is an author, and was the founder and president of the Morris County Mental Health Coalition, which she ran for 22 years. Through her writings and presentations, she has provided thousands of people with education on mental illness, homelessness and community resources.

Valerie authors monthly writings about the world of mental illness and related issues such as homelessness, loneliness, and coping tactics—all with an encouraging eye.

She works part-time at Greystone Park State Psychiatric Hospital, providing presentations and talking one-on-one with residents, always with hope and concern for their welfare and recovery.

Valerie is a well- known visitor to the monthly Morris County Mental Health Addictions Services Advisory Board, where she frequently provides valuable public comment on priority topics.

photo: l/r) Pamela Garanger and March McMahon

(l/r) Pamela Garanger and March McMahon

Pamela Garanger: She has been a National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) “Family to Family’’ course educator since 2014, when her son, Alex,  was diagnosed with mental illness. Since then she has taught many individuals and family members on how to cope with mental illness and to support their loved ones who suffer with the illness.

In spite of her son’s death from a heroin overdose in April 2016, she continues to be a NAMI volunteer voice in the community. She has spoken at numerous programs for Saint Clare’s Health, the United Way Caregiver Coalition, Jefferson Township Connect, and other organizations.

Because of her life experience, she is a role model who has given hope to many people who, themselves, have lost their way and lost hope about their futures.

photo of Lou Schwarcz and Freeholder Christine Myers

Lou Schwarcz and Freeholder Christine Myers

Lou Schwarcz: Lou has spent his entire 24-year career serving others, most of that time, serving those facing the challenge of mental illness. He most recently was the President and CEO of the Mental Health Association of Morris County.

Lou never wasted an opportunity to educate and enroll anyone and everyone about the challenges of mental health, and about the benefits of his agency.  He was a vocal and unceasing advocate for the needs of the mental health community.

Lou recently provided a very personal example of self-sacrifice on behalf of his community.

To guarantee the continued existence of the Mental Health Association and to protect its Morris County clients, Lou crafted a merger with MHA of Essex County. Doing so, however, meant relinquishing his own position.

“There can be no greater evidence of his care for his clients,’’ said Freeholder Myers, in presenting Schwarcz with the Community leadership Award.