Former first lady of Maine honored for efforts to keep children alcohol free

Posted Sept. 23, 2011, at 3:01 p.m.

WASHINGTON — Karen Baldacci, the former first lady of Maine, has been honored by the Leadership To Keep Children Alcohol Free Foundation for her continued efforts after leaving the governor’s residence.

Baldacci has led a recruiting effort and stayed on as chair of the Leadership Foundation beyond the normal term, according to the organization, which presented her the Hope Award during a meeting in Washington, D.C., last weekend. Baldacci also has represented the Leadership Foundation at national conferences.

The award is named for Hope Taft, first lady emeritus of Ohio and current president of the foundation.

During the same gathering, Baldacci presented first lady Sally Ganem of Nebraska the Theresa Racicot Leadership Award for her outstanding efforts in Nebraska. Ganem was honored for her work in creating several videos that are widely used in Nebraska and available to other states that serve as discussion openers and her visits to countless communities to talk on the importance of dealing with childhood drinking.

The Leadership To Keep Children Alcohol Free Foundation grew out of an initiative for governors’ spouses and focuses on preventing children ages 9-15 from starting to drink alcohol. It produces materials to change the community dialogue on childhood drinking; materials are available for free on their website at