The CaringMatters 2020 Leadership Award
The Honorable Craig Rice
In 1993, Craig Rice was studying at the University of Illinois when death changed the trajectory of his life. He returned to Maryland to be with his family as they faced the loss of his aunt and young cousin in an act of horrific violence. The public nature of the crime, which was widely covered in the media, amplified the trauma and the grieving process. Now, years later, as Craig imagines the type of young man his cousin would be, he understands how important it is not to judge people in their grief.
Several years ago, Councilmember Rice and Allison Stearns, CaringMatters’ Chief Executive Officer, connected on a personal level with the organization’s mission. Subsequently, he has served as the Gala emcee for the past five years, sharing his story to help normalize conversations about grief. This collaboration continued through his advocacy and outreach in highlighting CaringMatters through a series of Montgomery County Council videos focused on our programs, clients and volunteers.
“For anyone who suffers a loss, no matter what the circumstances are – it’s traumatic. Even if they’ve made peace and said good-bye, it’s still traumatic,” said Craig.
His words reflect his experience over the past year as he has grieved the loss of his close friend and longtime chief of staff, Steve Goldstein, from ALS. Councilmember Rice calls Steve his “right-hand man” and his “work dad.” Steve had been by his side since the beginning of his political career. Although he was very aware that Steve’s health was declining, he was still unprepared for his death, and knows that in working through grief, seeking support is crucial.
“CaringMatters is so important because they understand that people may experience grief differently, but they still need support. No way of grieving is wrong. They respect that and help guide people through the process,” he continued.
Craig Rice served in the House of Delegates in the Maryland Assembly from 2006 through 2010. Elected to the Montgomery County Council in 2010, he is currently serving his third term and is a strong advocate for community –based mental health and grief support services. For his leadership and participation in constructive dialogue and action related to grief, we are honored to present Councilmember Craig Rice with the 2020 CaringMatters Leadership Award.