Lisa Baird, executive director of Cannon County S.A.V.E., was honored with the inaugural Community Award by the Legal Aid Society of Middle Tennessee and the Cumberlands' Murfreesboro office.
The award was presented at a luncheon Thursday, Nov. 5 at Adams Library in Woodbury.
The Murfreesboro Community Award recognizes an individual in the community who has demonstrated outstanding leadership and compassion in his or her efforts to support Legal Aid Society's mission. Baird received the award for her relentless devotion to helping victims of domestic violence.
Through her work as director of S.A.V.E., a non-profit agency committed to stopping the cycle of domestic violence, Baird has worked closely with Legal Aid Society to legally advocate for the abused and underprivileged. She was integral in helping establish a formal partnership between Legal Aid Society and S.A.V.E. Through the alliance, she has garnered grant funding and regularly sits beside victims in court hearings to provide emotional and legal support. Baird also coordinates quarterly office visits for Legal Aid Society staff attorneys to talk with victims on-site at S.A.V.E and directs referrals to Legal Aid Society's Murfreesboro office.
Andrae Crismon, managing attorney of Legal Aid Society's Murfreesboro office, admires Baird for her passion and advocacy and said that she has a reputation as a strong proponent for domestic abuse victims.
"Lisa pioneered S.A.V.E with very few resources, yet she is able to make as much of an impact as other domestic violence programs that have greater means," said Crismon. "She is an oasis in the middle of a desert for victims in Cannon County who would have nowhere to turn."
Baird has been executive director at S.A.V.E since 2008. The organization takes a holistic approach in its fight to end domestic violence by providing domestic violence victims with clothing, counseling, court advocacy and emergency shelter, among other services. S.A.V.E. does not receive any state or federal funding but is funded by local grants as well as business and individual donations.
"I am truly humbled to be recognized as the first recipient of Legal Aid Society's Murfreesboro Community Award," Baird said. "Fighting for the lives of victims of domestic violence cannot be done by one person or one organization alone. I'm grateful to work with Legal Aid Society so that together, we can offer hope to victims who feel as if all hope is lost."
Legal Aid Society of Middle Tennessee and the Cumberlands advocates for fairness and justice under the law. The non-profit law firm offers free civil legal representation, educational programs and advice to ensure people in its region are able to protect their livelihoods, their health and their families. It serves 48 counties from offices in Clarksville, Columbia, Cookeville, Gallatin, Murfreesboro, Nashville, Oak Ridge and Tullahoma. Legal Aid Society is funded in part by United Way. Learn more at www.las.org, by following the firm on Facebook or calling Legal Aid Society at 615-244-6610.