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The First Mark Hamilton Award for Service Goes to
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Mark Hamilton


In a tribute to former AMHCA Executive Director & CEO W. Mark Hamilton, PhD, who retired from AMHCA at the end of August after 15 years of service, AMHCA’s board of directors created a new AMHCA award. AMHCA’s current president, past president, and president-elect all bestowed the first Mark Hamilton Award for Service on its namesake, with President Judith Bertenthal–Smith, LPC, ALPS,saying, “Mark Hamilton has made AMHCA what it is. He has taken us as an organization from toddlerhood into full adulthood.”

Obviously touched, Hamilton thanked AMHCA’s board members, staff, and members, and then joked, “Now we’ve got to get back to work.” In a more serious vein, he noted that, “My father told me, ‘Don’t ever take a job you don’t like, and I’ve followed his advise. Retiring from AMHCA has been a difficult decision to make. I only wish the best for the organization.”

Those who gave tributes to Hamilton included several leaders Hamilton has worked with over his 10 years at the American Counseling Association (ACA) and 15 at AMHCA. Jim Messina, PhD, NCC, CCMHC, AMHCA’s 1978–1979 president, said Hamilton, “worked his magic over the years, working behind the scenes.”

ACA President Cirecie West–Olatunji, PhD, LPC. LMFT, NCC, noted that, “We really value Mark Hamilton. He is a legend as you already know.” 

AMHCA’s 2004–2005 president, Jim Blundo, LPC, CCMHC, NCC, said Hamilton was, “the best thing that AMHCA could ever have had.” Tom J. Ferro, LCPC, AMHCA 2010–2011 president, said AMHCA’s three past presidents from Montana, of which he is one, all “have a special place in our heart for Mark.” 

There was also a video tribute from AMHCA’s 1998–1999 president, Bob Bakko, DMin, LCPC, CCMHC, PC,who recalled heading the executive search committee in 1997 that selected Hamilton as AMHCA’s executive director. “We have been lucky to have him. … We owe Mark a great deal of thanks.”