After evaluating 14 nominees, an eight-member committee has selected mental health and suicide prevention advocate Judy Battista as the 2023-2024 Warwick Citizen of the Year.
Plus, Bill Lindberg and Wayne Patterson were selected as this year’s Outstanding Community Service award recipients.
The three will be honored Wednesday, Oct. 25, at The Landmark Inn. The event, sponsored by the Warwick Valley Rotary Club, will begin with a one-hour open bar social at 6 p.m., followed by the awards program. Tickets are $60 and are available at warwickvalleyrotary.org.
Co-chairing this year’s event are Cindy Vander Plaat and Patti Lurye Dempster.
Proceeds from the evening will be donated to Rotary International’s PolioPlus project to eliminate polio worldwide. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation will match the donation two-for-one. So what made these local citizens worthy of this annual honor? In its announcement of the honorees, the committee shared the following information about each winner:
Judy Battista became a mental health and suicide prevention advocate after the loss of her son Daniel in 2008. She and her family founded “Tista4Life” in memory of Daniel, offering outreach, music scholarships, support groups, art exhibits, and annual blood drives in his memory.
As a board member volunteering for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, Battista advocated for legislative bills focusing on suicide prevention. This contributed to the nationwide implementation of 988, the three-digit number for a suicide and crisis hotline.
Battista is also a board member of Warwick Cares, which provides information, helps distribute messages of hope, and offers suicide prevention training. This year, with the support of Warwick Town Supervisor Michael Sweeton, Warwick Mayor Michael Newhard and a team of volunteers, Warwick Cares launched May as Mental Health Month. This collaboration with the town and villages of Warwick brought awareness to suicide prevention through the placement of signs sharing the 988 number and messages of hope throughout the community.
A resident for roughly 25 years, Battista and her husband, Rocco, raised three children here and are now grandparents. She has been the owner and director of Jubilee Dance Events and Entertainment for the past 14 years. Each year she contributes her talent to help the Village of Warwick Music Series with “Latin Night.” She also volunteers for the local Hispanic community and organizes Spanish services and celebrations at the Church of St. Stephen, the first Martyr.
Wayne Patterson, a resident of Warwick since 1999, was honored last year with the Robert J. Uplinger Award, which honors those who provide a significant service to their club, district, and community. The award is the highest available to Lions.
He was a board member for the Warwick Valley Central School District from 2009-2012. In 2011 he joined Warwick Valley Prevention Coalition and is the current president of Team Up for Hope, Inc. These organizations focus on wellness, youth, and community awareness of mental health.
Patterson is also involved with We the People Warwick, Students Against Destructive Decisions, Warwick Valley High School Sit & Chat, National Alliance on Mental Illness, WVHS Interact, American Foundation for Suicide Prevention and the Warwick Community Center.
An active member of the Warwick Lions Club since 2007, Patterson has helped with Lions Club fundraising activities and community service events. He has served as past director, membership chair, and club secretary. Patterson has also been a member of Warwick Valley Rotary since 2006 and served as president from 2011-2012. He currently is a community services representative on the Rotary Board of Directors and secretary of the Warwick Rotary Foundation.
While Patterson loves to volunteer, he says that his greatest accomplishments are his children, Tiffany Patterson and Portia Dolfinger, and granddaughters Shania and Kenisha.
Bill Lindberg has been a Warwick resident for 32 years. Professionally, he worked for Aramark for 36 years, 20 as a district manager. His wife, Judy, worked at St. Anthony Community Hospital for 26 years as a nurse and administrator.
“I am glad and grateful I am in a position to help out as a volunteer in our community,” said Lindberg.
A partial list of his extensive list of civic accomplishments include: being a member of the Warwick Fire Department for 26 years, past president and current treasurer of Goodwill Hook & Ladder Company, past vice president and current treasurer since 2011 for the Warwick Fire Department, being a member (ambulance driver) of the Warwick Community Ambulance Service, a Meals on Wheels volunteer driver for the past 15 years, founder of the Senior Fitness program for seniors in 2013, a Village of Warwick Trustee from 2010 to 2022, assisted the Playground Dreams Committee for three years to design/plan the current playground at Stanley-Deming Park, a member of the executive committee with Mayor Newhard and Mary Collura planning all events for Warwick’s Sesquicentennial yearlong celebration in 2017, a coach and umpire for Warwick Little League for 10 years and board member for four years.
“Certainly, one of my proudest volunteer activities is spending time with our five grandchildren,” added Lindberg.