By Steve Liga, former CEO & Executive Director
Twenty-five years ago, Linda Surks joined the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence through a temp agency as an office manager. When her contract was up, NCADD made one of its wisest investments and hired her outright. Before long, all around the office you could hear, “Linda, Linda, Linda!” Everyone needed her, because she managed the database, coordinated events, edited and laid out the newsletters (on paper!), and - once there was one - she managed the entire computer network.
After the tragic death of her son, Linda could have walked away from NCADD and no one would have blamed her. Instead she recommitted herself to the agency like never before and became a nationally recognized speaker on the insidious nature of prescription drug abuse and the need for teens to look out for one another. She founded and then coordinated the Coalition for Healthy Communities, growing it from five original partners into an organization of hundreds of members recognized as a model statewide and called upon to provide mentorship to several fledgling coalitions long the way.
From her days as an unassuming office manager to her current role as a Certified Prevention Specialist, Linda Surks has shown what it means to commit to a cause, transform challenges into opportunities, and become a state – and even nationally –recognized leader in the field of substance abuse prevention. For twenty-five years and counting, NCADD staff and members of the community have continued - and still continue - to smile and call, “Linda, Linda, Linda!”