`Driving force' behind Carroll center resigns

After 18 years as director, head of rape crisis service to take job in defense field

July 29, 2004|By Mary Gail Hare | Mary Gail Hare,SUN STAFF

Jo Ann Hare never left her office without her pager. She made herself available nights and weekends. She counseled and comforted victims of sexual violence in an anonymous telephone call or personally in a hospital emergency room or court of law.

Soon, she will have a 9-to-5 job as an analyst for a defense contractor. She is looking forward to dinners at home with her husband, restful weekends and long vacations.

After nearly 25 years with the Rape Crisis Intervention Service of Carroll County, 18 of them as director, Hare is changing careers. She told the center's board members Tuesday that she was resigning and plans to work as an analyst for Lockheed Martin Corp. in Gaithersburg. Her resignation is effective Aug. 13.

"It was really time for me to leave, but hard to leave, too," she said. "I needed a new opportunity, another field where I could make a difference. This is the kind of job that you can't do for a lifetime."

Hare spent six years as a grass-roots volunteer, mostly staffing a hot line for the fledgling organization before assuming its leadership. As director of the center, she oversees professional treatment and intervention services, community awareness activities, and education programs, some of which are in the county schools.

The agency, based in Westminster, provides free services to more than 300 clients and their families each year. Last year, the center scheduled more than 800 individual therapy sessions and conducted 526 educational presentations.

"I have admired Jo Ann's sensitivity to people in crisis," said Sandra Ferguson, past president of the center's board of directors. "She certainly has left her imprint on the organization. She is leaving it in a good position."

Hare carried a pager home with her every night, Ferguson said. Although as director, she could call on any number of volunteers, she often went to the hospital at 2 a.m. to help a victim.

"Jo Ann would often encourage victims to talk to us at board meetings," Ferguson said. "They were always so appreciative of what Rape Crisis had done for them. She helped us see how important it was to help even one person."

Board member Sam Andalora said Hare will be difficult to replace.

"She developed and built this program," he said. "She also is an excellent fund-raiser and grant writer."

Ruth Gray, another former president and now a board member, said she cannot imagine the center without Hare.

"She was the one constant, driving force through all the Rape Crisis history," Gray said. "She gave birth to this organization and mothered it through all these years. She is the best executive director I have ever worked with."

Hare plans to use her experiences in a new profession.

"It is a very different field, but a lot of my skills will translate," she said. "I will miss working with clients, especially those who find the positive out of a horrendous experience. I also will miss people working in this field and the many private donors we have had. It is amazing how generous people have been."

She is leaving the board guidelines to help it find a successor.

"She has mapped out for us how we can proceed," Gray said. "That does not surprise me in the least."

Hare said, "There are a lot of good, talented people out there with the heart for this work. Someone of them will step right into this spot."

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