REM Award Honorees (2015) — Diane and Julian Bechard (National Alliance on Mental Illness)

National Alliance on Mental IllnessNAMI Mid Maine honors Diane Bechard and Julian Bechard (1934 — 2014) for their years of work as volunteers at NAMI Mid Maine and the High Hopes Clubhouse in Waterville, and at NAMI Maine. Their work included better services for individuals living with mental illness, support for their families, and a legacy for current volunteers at NAMI Mid Maine of strength, commitment, empathy, and love.

Waterville residents Mal and Barbara Wilson were founding members of NAMI Maine. Diane and Julian joined NAMI years ago prompted by Mal Wilson’s invitation to them after a traumatic mental illness crisis in their family. Together with Mal, they first worked to activate the 24-hour Mental Health Crisis Line in Maine (888) 568-1112), partly by testifying before the Legislature and the Maine Commissioner of Mental Heath.

Julian joined Mal on the High Hopes Board and served for the rest of his life. Owner with Diane of the former Universal Tire Co. and Firestone Store, Julian worked on many of the practical aspects of creating and operating the High Hopes Clubhouse.

Diane joined the NAMI Maine Board and served as its President. She was President when NAMI Maine launched the first NAMI WALK. Diane received NAMI Maine’s highest award, named for Mal Wilson in 2012.

Current members of the NAMI Mid Maine Family Support Group have been deeply affected by Diane’s and Julian’s empathy and wisdom as the Group’s Facilitators until they recently stepped down. Their spirit will always be with us.

For more information about NAMI Maine and NAMI Mid Maine, please visit their website.

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