The Saratoga County Citizens Committee for Mental Health (SCCCMH) 2018 Citizens of the Year are Lisa and Ed Mitzen.
Ed Mitzen is chief executive officer of Fingerpaint Marketing in Saratoga Springs. Among his volunteer activities, he is the vice chairman of the Double H Ranch board of directors. Double H Ranch is a camp for children with serious medical conditions and disabilities.
Lisa is active with Rebuilding Together, having served on the board of directors. Rebuilding Together Saratoga is committed to ensuring that our neighbors in need, especially those with disabilities, can live independently in safe, healthy, warm and dry homes.
The organization said the Mitzens stand out to the mental health community because of their dedication and support for the Code Blue program in Saratoga. Their original connection with Code Blue came before its inception, when Fingerpaint stepped up to be the first business to contribute funds. They’ve been committed to helping since.
They work at Code Blue sporadically throughout the season, usually cooking and providing meals to the guests.
The couple is donating an undisclosed amount of money to Shelters of Saratoga so a two-story, 6,500-square-foot shelter for the Code Blue Program can be built. They have also engaged Fingerpaint employees to assist with fundraisers to help finance the program.
Homeless people often are living with mental health or substance abuse problems, according to SCCCMH. Creating a permanent home for Code Blue as part of, and next to, the Shelters of Saratoga facility would improve access for more people to get help.
“Ed and Lisa’s volunteer and philanthropic support of the Code Blue Program is making a difference for people living with mental illness and substance abuse in Saratoga County,” SCCCMH said in a statement.
The SCCCMH honored the Mitzens at its annual dinner and fundraising event on May 2 at Longfellows Restaurant.