On the Retirement of a Dedicated Public Servant

As Mental Health Awareness Month draws to a close, we celebrate the career of a truly dedicated public servant to whom we are deeply indebted for years of tireless advocacy in service to Putnam County and its most vulnerable residents.

Mr. Joseph (Joe) DeMarzo, Deputy Commissioner of Social Services, Mental Health, and Youth Bureau, is concluding a 30-year career in Human Services through which he has touched countless lives and forged enduring bonds with similarly dedicated individuals with whom he has shared his life’s mission.

Joe previously served Putnam County as its Youth Bureau Director and Director of Mental Health, Alcohol, and Substance Abuse Services.  He has also held positions at Bronx Municipal Hospital, Beth Israel Medical Center, Montefiore Medical Center, and Westchester County Medical Center.

Impressive as his résumé is, it reveals little of the other attributes that have distinguished him and his impact on our community.

Joe radiates kindness, humor, empathy, and care with abundance.  In doing so, he reminds us of that which is most important…our collective humanity and the welfare of those entrusted to our care.  He has been a fixture within the Putnam behavioral healthcare community for many years and integral to its success in fostering a genuine esprit de corps among its service providers, recipients, family members, and the many other who aim to enhance the social safety net on which we depend.

I recently reached out to Joe and asked if he would permit us to celebrate his career through a formal “farewell” event.  True to form, he thanked me for the invitation but graciously declined and said he would prefer to “quietly ride off into the sunset.” 

This did not surprise me in the least.  For Joe, it was never about him. It is about those he serves.

His absence will surely be felt, but his example and legacy will sustain us.

We thank Joe for doing his job and for doing it extraordinarily well, and we wish him and his family every blessing in the years to come.