Alcohol and Drug director retires after more than 20 years with county
Beard, who is the department director, will be moving to Central Point, Ore., toward the end of this month allowing him to be closer to his mother, daughters, son-in-law and grandchildren.
His wife, Chris, died on Oct. 3 and Beard said he made the decision to be closer to family.
“I’ll get to help my mom, do some things with her, take her out for lunch whatever she needs and I’ll be able to be more in my grandson’s life,” Beard said.
Beard was born in Susanville and said he spent a part of every year here in Lassen County as he divided his time with his father and mother, who lived in Montana.
After being a heavy drinker for more than 20 years Beard had his last drink on Dec. 27, 1982 and in 1984, went to work as a substance abuse aid I an Alcohol and Drug Department recovery house.
“As my sobriety progressed, I came to the realization that I really wanted to give back. I really wanted to help people like I had been helped,” Beard said.
When he first started at Alcohol and Drug, Beard said his only goal was to become a substance abuse worker II in five years, he also didn’t want to be in a management position because he only wanted to work with people.
After resigning for a time due to concerns regarding his wife being his superior at work, Beard went to work for a private for-profit counseling center.
However, Beard said the counseling center didn’t have the same interest in the clients that the county did and in his opinion, people weren’t getting the level of service that they needed.
He stayed there for two months before resigning and in 1987 Beard was hired as Alcohol and Drug program director, while his wife was transferred out of the program and into the fiscal department.
With his history, Beard said Lassen County is a forgiving county and is amazed by the position he is in and the responsibility given him.
Beard said he has had the opportunity to grow with the program and expand it.
“I know the program, I’ve had some wonderful opportunities to sit on numerous state committees,” he said.”
He served as a liaison for the Native American Constituent group, had a position on the state-wide drinking and driving committee and served as liaison for the native American constituent.
Beard also helped develop the CADS program and is on the board of directors for the Alcohol and Drug Policy Institute.
He is not only a certified counselor in the state of California, but in Nevada and nationwide.
Throughout his time as director, Beard received glowing references from people he has worked with.
In a letter, Dr. Lloyd Crawford, a former staff psychologist at High Desert State Prison, described Beard as being “honest, dedicated and very knowledgeable about alcohol and drug recovery and programming.”
Under his leadership, another reference described the department having a warm, respectful atmosphere not only among the staff, but also among the adolescent clients.
On July 1, 2001 Alcohol and Drug opened its Proposition 36 facility and in order to open its doors, Alcohol and Drug, Promises and Prop. 36 had to be certified by the state and a plan had to be submitted to justify how the funds were to be spent.
However, Beard credits his staff for all of its hard work.
“There (accomplishments) not just mine. I’ve had the opportunity to be at the top of this, but it’s the people that I’ve hired that have done the work,” he said.
“It’s getting good people that put their hearts and their souls into this,” he said. “They have just done a fantastic job.”
During his time as director, Beard said he looked at how services could be improved.
Through research and the comparison of other counties, the department learned what science has confirmed, Beard said, “The longer people are in services the better chances they have of making it, so we put a lot of energy into continuing our programs,” he said.
In addition, Lassen County participated in a contract with Plumas County, Alcohol and Drug started the Help Educate Adolescents Rural Treatment program from 1993 to 1996.
The program served teens in Herlong, Doyle, Bieber, Westwood and Susanville and the department opened up 360 new cases.
The grant was not renewed, but Alcohol and Drug realized there was a need for adolescent services and Beard said the department focused on adolescent treatment.
By the end of 2004, Lassen County was number one in the state for serving adolescents.
Beard said he does not believe its because Lassen County has a bigger substance abuse problem, rather the department has made itself available to other agencies including the courts, probation, education, designed programs for adolescents and the department is looked at as a resource.
Beard said leaving will be bittersweet, “But its time for me to move on and for younger, people who have fresh energy and maybe visions that I don’t have. I think the program will ultimately only benefit from me leaving because it will create change,” he said.
He said he is thankful for the opportunities he has had and the support he has received from the county and other departments.
“That’s probably the best way you can close out a career … feeling good about what you’ve accomplished and recognizing other people have helped you get where you are and has supported you. It feels really good to leave that way,” he said.
Lassen High wrestling hosts Purple and Gold Scrimmage
The Lassen High School wrestling team held its annual Purple and Gold Scrimmage on Wednesday, Dec. 4 in the Lassen High gym. The wrestling team broke up into two teams, purple and gold, and faced off in a night of wrestling that gave fans a taste of what they can expect in the coming season. Lassen...Read More...
Cougars face tough teams to prepare for a victorious season
TJ McCauley attempts to keep the ball away from a Fresno City College player during the championship basketball game of the El Camino Tournament on Sunday, Nov. 24. The Lassen Community College Cougars have been competing in pre-season tournaments and have earned several wins. Photo by Scott Nordstrom Dec....Read More...
Susanville native to play in college bowl with Boise State
Darren Lee, a Lassen High School graduate and former Lassen High football player, now plays football for Boise State and will be going with the team to a college bowl game in late December. Photo by Boise State Media Relations Dec. 6 — A Susanville native is making strides in his football career...Read More...