Thursday July 08, 2010 | 08:48 PM

More than 200 people turned out tonight for a party honoring Rev. Robert Howes and his contribution to mental health services in Maine. Held on the gorgeous stone wall enclosed back lawn behind the Counseling Services, Inc. offices in Saco, the occasion marked the presentation of the first annual Rev. Robert M. Howes Founder Award.

The award, which this year went to its namesake, recognizes Rev. Howes' deep commitment to providing community-based mental health services. While he was pastor of the South Congregational Church in Kennebunkport, Rev. Howes was a driving force behind the founding in 1963 of the Community Child and Family Guidance Association, which would later become Counseling Services, Inc.

As a member of the clergy, he frequently ministered to the mental wellness of parishioners, yet he often encountered folks whose needs warranted support from a professional. His work, along with that of many other like-minded individuals around the country, paved the way for the reform of the mental health system and the move away from institutional care.

In my opinion, there's really nothing better than a fun cocktail gathering for keeping our spirits up, and this soiree didn't disappoint.

In the midst of Maine's heat wave, the party attracted an enthusiastic group of Rev. Howes' friends, colleagues and former parishioners.


It also attracted many of his children, grandchildren and nieces, including the lovely members of the Howes family pictured here.

I'll have many more snapshots from the party and details about who was there and what they had to say in the July 11 edition of the Maine Sunday Telegram.

Until then, I hope to see you out and about.

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Avery Yale Kamila dishes about southern Maine's hottest parties.

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