By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support local journalism.
Avita board member recognized for 12 years of service
Joe Hirsch
Joe Hirsch, center, was recognized Nov. 17 by the Dawson County Board of Commissioners for serving 12 years on the board of directors for Avita, a public agency that serves those with behavioral health and developmental disabilities. From left, he is joined by commissioners Sharon Fausett, Chris Gaines, Billy Thurmond and Julie Hughes Nix. - photo by Allie Dean

The Dawson County Board of Commissioners last week recognized one local man’s longtime service to the community through work on the board of directors for Avita Community Partners.

Joe Hirsch, who spent 12 years on the board representing Dawson County, received special recognition and a plaque during the commission’s Nov. 16 meeting.

“As your term on the Avita board of directors ends, we are reminded that it is leaders like you who have made and continue to make Dawson County a place where quality of life matters,” said BOC Chairman Billy Thurmond. “We are thankful for your lifetime of volunteer service and countless contributions to so many of our county and state organizations and nonprofits, including among others, Legacy Link, Lions Club and R.E.A.D. Dawson. Your dedication to being a foster parent and a mentor also is a testament to your selfless character.

“Our county is eternally grateful for your dedication to family and community.”

After he was presented with the plaque, Hirsch said he was humbled and grateful for the presence that night of many of his friends and community family members, including representatives from Avita, R.E.A.D. and the Dawsonville Lions Club.

Hirsch also thanked the commission for all of the support they had given the associations over the years.

Formerly Georgia Mountains Community Services, Avita is a public agency that was created by the Georgia Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities. Avita opened up new offices in Dawson County in February.

There are two offices at the agency's location at 671 Lumpkin Campground Road; one is a facility for behavioral health services, the other for developmental disabilities services.

The area Avita serves includes 13 counties in north Georgia, and focuses on community-based services, such as finding housing for clients, helping them find employment and working to improve their daily living skills.

Programs offered include counseling, medication management, case management, community support and psychological rehabilitation, crisis stabilization, substance abuse outpatient programs, community housing programs, host family services, women's treatment and recovery support and more.

The Behavioral Health Services office can be reached at (678) 866-8777 and the Developmental Disabilities Services office can be reached at (678) 866-8616. For more information go online at