Recognizing individuals who perform community and public service.
The Jefferson Awards are presented at both the national and local levels. Martha Lasher-Warner will be honored locally at a recognition dinner on April 4th.
Chris Burke, CEO of Unity House nominated Martha primarily for her service to victims of domestic violence, but there is so much more that makes Martha worthy of this honor. After losing her daughter, Liza Ellen Warner, to domestic violence, Martha became a fierce advocate for victims of domestic violence and for crime victims. Over many years, Martha Lasher-Warner has helped raise awareness of the issue of domestic violence and has advocated for needed services for victims and survivors. A passionate and dedicated volunteer, Martha accepted a position in the Unity House Domestic Violence Services program to better help victims of domestic violence.
Martha is a beloved figure in her community. Her friends, family, and supporters are thrilled to see her contributions recognized. As the Jefferson Awards describe it, “The honorees are ordinary people who accomplish extraordinary things, often without the expectation of recognition. Every neighborhood has “unsung heroes,” volunteers who go above and beyond their expected duties. Together they make their neighborhoods and communities a better place to live.” Martha Lasher-Warner fits this description well and is certainly an ‘unsung hero.’
Martha is the president of Family and Friends of Liza Ellen Warner Association, Inc., a non-profit organization she founded in her daughter Liza’s memory. She is also the chapter leader of the Albany chapter of Parents of Murdered Children. She serves on the group’s National Board of Trustees and is Secretary of the Executive Committee. Martha has also advocated for issues affecting crime victims and their families. In these roles Martha is an outstanding help to victims and survivors of violent crimes.
It is difficult to imagine losing a child to horrific violence, as Martha experienced in 2004. Her daughter Liza had left her abusive husband and had returned home to retrieve some belongings when he broke into the house, shot her and then turned the gun on himself. Liza was only 29 years old. Those who know Martha well, know the depth of this loss for Martha. They see how she is dedicated to supporting victims of domestic violence and victims of violent crime. Her non-profit, Family and Friends of Liza Ellen Warner, hosts a unique Run for Help. More than a 5K, it’s an opportunity for women to get back on their feet. Using a ‘Couch to 5K’ approach, women work toward a common goal that is empowering. Martha works to find sponsorship so that anyone in the DV program can do the run free of charge. Many women finish the Run for Help with a boost of confidence at a time when their self-esteem has been depleted.
As Unity House’s Chris Burke explained in his nominating Martha for a Jefferson Award, “Martha is heroic in her perseverance and commitment to helping others live their lives free from the threat of violence. Like her runners, she puts one foot in front of the other and is making a difference after profound loss. She has made a significant community impact and deserves recognition. I like to think her late daughter Liza would be proud and agree.”
Unity House wishes to congratulate Martha Lasher-Warner and the other Jefferson finalists on this honor.