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Thank You Mr. O’Hara

Nov 5, 2021 | News and Information

After 20 dedicated years as PEACE, Inc.’s Executive Director, Joe retired on August 31, 2021.

Joe’s impact on PEACE, Inc. has been profound, leaving a legacy of program innovation and community responsiveness. Over Joe’s tenure, PEACE, Inc.’s annual revenue nearly doubled, a reflection of the expansion of most of the agency’s programs. More recently during the COVID-19 pandemic, PEACE, Inc. responded to the needs of its community in real time and in novel ways, including Home-Delivered Meals, Housing and Rental Eviction Supports, and Vaccination Outreach.

Joe was especially proud of the agency’s stewardship of its many federal, state, and philanthropic funding streams. PEACE, Inc. has received no audit findings or significant deficiencies for the last fifteen audited financial statements. It has also qualified as a low-risk auditee for the last thirteen years.

Throughout his career, Joe passionately combated poverty and sought to help individuals and families escape from it. They were values that defined his work prior to PEACE, Inc. at Onondaga County’s Social Services and Probation Departments, the New York State Fair as its Director, and Catholic Charities of Central New York. Joe also served as a Common Councilor for the city of Syracuse and participated in countless coalitions, Noteworthy was his work with the Education and Human Development Committee of the City of Syracuse, the Providence College Board of Governors, and the St. Patrick’s Day Parade.

A modest man, Joe was nonetheless frequently recognized for his leadership, receiving awards from the Waterford Crystal Award from the St. Patrick Day Parade Committee, the Outstanding New Yorker Award from the New York State Jaycees, and the Providence College Alumni Association Faithful Friar Award. Upon his retirement, proclamations were given by State Senator John W. Mannion, Onondaga County Executive J. Ryan McMahon, Syracuse Mayor Ben Walsh, and Village of East Syracuse Mayor Robert T. Tackman. PEACE, Inc. also planted a tree honoring Joe at its Merrick Head Start site. Like the African proverb, “When the roots are deep, there is no reason to fear the wind,” the tree will symbolize Joe’s commitment to growing programs with strong foundations.

In retirement now, Joe will spend more time reading, enjoying live baseball at the ballpark, and spending time with his family and grandchildren. We congratulate Joe on his wonderful career and his legacy for improving the lives of all Syracuse and Central New York residents.

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