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Robert Bermudez Receives David Lewis Award
Mental Health and Substance Abuse Recovery Commission

Article Terri Oliva, Program Supervisor, Pathways Mental Health Court

Each year, the San Mateo County Mental Health and Substance Abuse Recovery Commission (MHSARC) recognizes outstanding contributions towards recovery with the David Lewis Award. The award is named for the late David Lewis, co-founder of the recovery organization, Free at Last, whose lasting contributions to the recovery community cemented his legacy as a true leader.

The honor is made to the individual or organization that has made an extraordinary difference in the lives of people with substance abuse disorders and the San Mateo County community.

On September 4, the MHSARC presented Pathways case manager Robert Bermudez with the David Lewis Award. Robert was also presented with a special commendation from the San Mateo County Board of Supervisors, thanking him for his contributions to the community. Robert’s supporters proudly cheered him on, including a few of his colleagues and clients, who spoke about Robert’s hard work and dedication.

Robert Bermudez has transformed the BHRS provision of Alcohol and Other Drug (AOD) services in the Veteran’s Treatment Court/Military Diversion and Pathways Mental Health team—and was integral in creating the welcoming, empathic and dedicated team environment that exists today.

Robert began at Pathways in 2017 and from the moment he started, his deep understanding and empathy for those in recovery, veterans within the diversionary court system and those experiencing co-occurring disorders could be felt. Robert has been an advocate and has modeled courageous humility using his own family/life experiences and years of recovery to provide hope to clients and staff alike.

His reputation as a recognized, trusted and caring community partner preceded him among clients and staff alike. He has brought the combination of personal fortitude from experience and strong counseling and case management skills to a position that is often crisis driven and reliant on strong interpersonal connections with clients. Robert took the initiative to connect with the AOD team and provides assessments for clients and potential clients within all three diversionary programs under the Pathways umbrella. Robert’s vision of building and integrating recovery approaches to groups has created a foundation for Pathways programming that will benefit our clients moving forward.

His willingness to share his story and connect with individuals reaches beyond San Mateo County, as he also conducts outreach in San Francisco County. He is a dedicated speaker and contributor to the Resolve to Stop the Violence Project in-custody program for violent offenders. He’s made significant contributions to these groups.

With his infectious laugh, kind camaraderie and high attunement to others and their needs, he is a valued and cherished member of the Pathways team. His strong relationships with community partners has assisted our clients greatly and ensured that they are placed in programming that fits their specific needs. Robert is a true inspiration and joy to work with.