Peace River Center Celebrates Success of Outgoing Chief Executive Officer Bill Gardam
BARTOW, Fla., May 11, 2022 – Peace River Center (PRC) will recognize outgoing CEO Bill Gardam on May 16 with a City of Lakeland proclamation as J. William Gardam Day. May is Mental Health Awareness Month and provides a great opportunity to recognize Gardam, an advocate for mental health education, who led the organization in awareness efforts such as Make It OK.
Under Gardam’s leadership, PRC has expanded services and locations, improved outcomes, and secured the organization’s financial stability. Gardam began his role as President and CEO in 2013. During that time the organization was considering a capital campaign to expand crisis stabilization services to Lakeland. Gardam led the organization in raising more than $5 million to expand these services by adding a second crisis stabilization unit in Lakeland. Gardam recently worked with staff to initiate a partnership known as the Community Mobile Support Team, which places crisis counselors at Polk County Sheriff’s district offices.
“Working with the Peace River Center team has been the single-most fulfilling experience of my career, and I am very proud of what we have achieved together. The Executive Leadership Team is focused and driven to continue our positive path forward and will ensure a positive transition for the organization,” said Gardam.
He serves on the Board of the Florida Behavioral Health Association, Florida Alcohol and Drug Abuse Association, Florida Council for Behavioral Health, and is a founding member and Board Chair of Behavioral Health Partners of Florida, LLC and Integrated Care Network of Florida, LLC (an independent practice association of 28 behavioral health providers across Florida).
Peace River Center’s Board of Directors announced in April the appointment of Larry G. Williams, Jr., as the new Chief Executive Officer after an executive search that began in December 2021.
City of Lakeland Proclamation
William “Bill” Gardam Day
WHEREAS, Peace River Center (PRC) was founded in the late 1940s in response to the community’s concern for the emotional and psychological well-being of children. Over time, PRC gradually expanded its services to include adults.
WHEREAS, Peace River Center is now a licensed, independent and nationally accredited, non-profit provider of mental health, substance use, and integrated medical services serving Polk, Highlands, and Hardee counties, providing options for people struggling with mental health and substance use, for children and adults coping with the trauma of abuse and violence, crisis intervention for people in acute need, and housing and community support and integration for people affected by domestic violence or whose recovery requires more support and time.
WHEREAS, Peace River Center’s dedicated and compassionate staff of more than 400 operate 36 programs out of 27 locations and provide 24/7 emergency psychiatric response services to the community through our mobile psychiatric Crisis Response Team. In FY2021, Peace River Center had contact with and provided services to more than 20,000 children, adolescents, adults, and seniors.
WHEREAS, May is Mental Health Awareness Month with the theme of “Together for Mental Health” recognizing that millions of Americans face the reality of living with a mental illness. Together we can fight stigma, provide support, educate the public and advocate for policies that support people with mental illness and their families.
WHEREAS, Since 2013 William “Bill” Gardam has been the President and Chief Executive Officer of Peace River Center. Under his leadership, PRC has expanded services and locations, improved outcomes, and secured the organization’s financial stability.
WHEREAS, Bill Gardam led the organization in raising more than $5 million dollars to expand these services by adding a second crisis stabilization unit in Lakeland. Most recently, Gardam worked with staff to initiate a partnership known as the Community Mobile Support Team, which places crisis counselors at Polk County Sheriff’s district offices.
WHEREAS, Bill Gardam has been the embodiment of PRC’s commitment to engaging, restoring, and empowering individuals to reach their fullest potential. His untiring advocacy for the advancement of the Behavioral Health profession earned him the respect and admiration of his colleagues throughout the state of Florida.
THEREFORE, I, William Mutz, as Mayor of the City of Lakeland, Florida, do hereby proclaim Monday, May 16, 2022:
William “Bill” Gardam Day
in honor of his commitment to Lakeland residents on behalf of Peace River Center.
IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the Official Seal of the City of Lakeland to be affixed this 16th day of May, 2022.