AUGUSTA — Crisis & Counseling Centers’ community partners and staff commemorated the agency’s 45th anniversary at the annual Celebration & Art Reception May 14 at Governor Hill Mansion in Augusta.

“This is our community, and it will succeed or fail based on our commitment to nurture our better dreams,” said outgoing Board President Dana Hamilton, who opened the evening, according to a news release from the centers. “These ideals have sustained C&C for four-and-a-half decades, and they will continue to sustain us for many decades to come — as long as there is a need, and unfortunately the need is greater today than it has ever been.”

The annual Celebration & Art Reception highlights relationships that help the organization meet its mission, applauds vital public service providers and recognizes the important work partner agencies do in the community.

CEO Michael Mitchell presented the CEO Special Recognition Award to Patrick Wright, executive director of Gardiner Main Street, citing Wright’s embodiment of the mission and spirit of C&C through his leadership in the Gardiner community.

Sergeant Vicente Morris of the Augusta Police Department earned this year’s Public Safety Appreciation Award for his approachability, collaboration with crisis workers and dedication to providing the best possible services to local residents.

The Red Barn was named C&C’s Organization of the Year Award for the restaurant’s dedication to helping local people and businesses, and the willingness of owner Laura Benedict to act as a champion for behavioral health disorders.

This is the first year the agency’s annual event also incorporated an art reception to promote the therapeutic benefits of creativity. More than 40 pieces of artwork from local middle- and high-school students were on display as a gesture of support for community members facing behavioral health concerns, according to the release.

Thirty-four businesses sponsored the event, including: VIP Sponsors, the Kennebec Journal and Norton Financial Services; Art Sponsors, Budget Document Technology and Kennebec Savings Bank; and Music Sponsors, PFBF CPAs and Riverside Disposal.

For more information about C&C, call Central Access at 626-3448 or visit crisisandcounseling.org. If in crisis, call 888-568-1112.