Former employee and friend Joe Deegan improved the lives of many children in West Virginia while working for The Barry Robinson Center (BRC). Deegan returned to the BRC campus recently to take part in a special ceremony honoring his work.
A bench in BRC’s St. Francis Prayer Garden now features a plaque dedicated to Deegan. The November 11 ceremony following the annual Veterans Day Mass was a moving tribute to Deegan.
Deegan’s a clinical social worker with a specialty in addiction. He joined the BRC team about 10 years ago to help develop a dual diagnosis program for teens with mental health and substance use issues.
Around the same time, the Commonwealth of Virginia started taking steps to decrease the number of youth in residential care. In addition, there was an increased focus on decreasing the length of stay in residential programs. The combination of these two events had a significant impact on BRC and threatened the center’s ability to continue providing care to youth in need.
“Joe was instrumental in strengthening our relationship with the state of West Virginia. He succeeded far greater than we had hoped. The fact that BRC is here today is testimony to the work that Joe did,” said BRC’s CEO Rob McCartney.
Deegan visited government agencies in cities across West Virginia to make sure they were aware of a resource available to their constituents. He travelled to many towns to talk with community members and meet with families and offer them hope, McCartney said.
“Joe worked faithfully and loyally to support BRC’s mission. He not only worked with families to help them locate appropriate care for their children, but also kept in contact with them during the child’s treatment to make sure they were receiving the communication they needed,” he continued.
“Placing a child so far from home can be unsettling to a parent, but Joe was right there by the side of each one. Plus, he made sure that aftercare services re in place when their child left BRC to return home.”
Deegan continues his work in West Virginia as a business development liaison with St. Francis Hospital in Charleston, supporting the Addiction Healing Center. He noted the connection of his current employer’s name with the location of his bench in BRC’s St. Francis Prayer Garden.
“I’m very honored by this recognition,” Deegan said. “I’m glad to have been able to make a contribution during a tough transition time for the center.”
Deegan talked about the importance of connecting with people and staying in touch with them over time.
“I’ve had a knack for marketing, networking and business development – engagement and building trust with families and referral sources,” Deegan explained. “I’ve always been part of the treatment team, providing input and staying in touch with people during and after treatment.”
The BRC community is grateful to Deegan for his work helping others and for his years of commitment to the center.