MIAMI COUNTY — Recognized for more than 35 years of serving people with developmental disabilities, Troy resident Steve M. Baker received the 2019 Ohio Association of County Board Serving People with Developmental Disabilities Distinguished Service Award in Columbus on Dec. 5.
Known for his work as the WHIO-TV Northern Bureau Chief, Baker began his service with the Miami County Board of Developmental Disabilities (also known as Riverside of Miami County) by serving on the board of the Riverside Training Industries (RTI) in 1984. RTI provides employment opportunities for adults with developmental disabilities.
Baker, who is the current president of the MCBDD, was nominated by Riverside Superintendent Brian Green.
Baker shared how he first got involved in serving those with disabilities. Baker was invited to join the RTI board after graduating from the inaugural class of Leadership Troy, which encourages participants to be involved in the community through service at local agencies.
After serving on the RTI board for several years, Baker said he accepted an invitation to fill a vacancy on the Board of Riverside of Miami County which operates the entire program and serves as a funding agency. Having to step down from the board for a period of time due to state mandated term limits, Baker returned to the board as its current president and his current term expires December 31, 2020.
“I was fascinated by the clients who are served and the dedication of the men and women who devote their careers to help and guide individuals with developmental disabilities,” Baker said. “Many times in our society, they need someone to advocate for them. They have rights, too.”
Baker said it’s been a pleasure to serve on the MCBDD board along with members who have a passion to help others.
“By law, three of the seven members of the board need to be a parent or family member of someone with a developmental disability. Their perspective is enlightening to those of us who do not have the day-to-day challenges of many given situations,” he said.
Baker said the board is challenged with continuing changes in state law and guidelines, but said the board is fortunate to be guided by Superintendent Brian Green.
Baker said he’s most proud of Riverside of Miami County’s customer service and dedication of its staff.
“Riverside of Miami County serves approximately 1,000 people in Miami County from birth to the end of their life and those services are provided 24/7. No two individuals’ schedules are the same. We pride ourselves on our customer service. Because of the nature of the service we provide, the Miami County community expects us to set the bar for friendliness, compassion and kindness. We are here to serve others. It is our job to meet their needs and exceed their expectations,” Baker said.
Some of the behind the scene work that many people don’t often see is special programming, such as self-advocacy for consumers.
“Riverside has programs to teach people to be able to advocate on their own behalf. We are focused on inclusion in every facet of life,” Baker said.
Baker said he was grateful for the recognition from the state level and accepted the honor on behalf of Riverside of Miami County’s dedicated staff, its board and Superintendent Green.
The Ohio Association of County Boards Serving People with Developmental Disabilities (OACB) presents the annual award to recognize a county board employee, board member, volunteer or community member for their outstanding service and commitment to their local county board of developmental disabilities.
In the press release, Superintendent Green said, “Steve’s leadership has been instrumental in guiding our board through difficult waters as our system has changed in the three decades under his service. Through it all, Steve has ensured the board’s focus stays on the individuals and families we serve, while supporting employees to the utmost degree and striving to maintain unwavering community support.”
Baker has served six terms on the Miami County Board of Developmental Disabilities since 1993, and has served as president for four terms. In the past, he also served on the board at RT Industries, the provider agency formerly operated by the MCBDD.
In his professional life as Northern Bureau Chief for WHIO-TV in Dayton, Baker works as a “one-man-band” covering a five-county area including Auglaize, Darke, Mercer, Miami and Shelby counties. He holds an honorary degree from Edison State Community College and attended Wright State University. He is a veteran of the U.S. Navy, serving from 1966 to 1970. He began his journalism career at WPTW Radio in Piqua in 1970. He has been with WHIO-TV since 1980. Steve was inducted into the Dayton Broadcasters Hall of Fame in 2011. He is looking forward to his 50th Anniversary in Broadcasting in 2020.
Baker received the Distinguished Service Award at the OACB annual convention in Columbus on Dec. 5. He lives in Troy with his wife, Marty. They have two adult children and four grandchildren.
Reach Melanie Yingst at email@example.com. © 2019, Miami Valley Sunday News; all rights reserved.