After years of watching his father’s run-ins with law enforcement in Lewis County, Max Baker, son of John C. Baker, decided he wanted to do something to give back to his former community. 

Max Baker, now of Seattle, has organized an event called “Thank You, Lewis County,” for 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Oct. 12 at George Washington Park in Centralia. The event includes speakers from Cascade Mental Health and booths for healthcare and addiction-recovery organizations including Lifeline Connections and CHOICERegional Health Network. 

The event will also include a raffle for area police and first responders who stop by the event for gift cards for area businesses. Speakers are set to begin at noon. Baker said there will be time for people to speak about their experiences with mental health and addiction as well. 

The purpose of the day is to thank first responders and to help get information out about mental health and addiction services in the community, Max Baker said. 

“I really just want to say, ‘Thank you’ to the everyday people who are dealing with my dad and other people like my dad,” he said.

John C. Baker was most well-known in Lewis County for owning Greenwood Memorial Park, but his legal troubles kicked off in 2007 when he was charged with threatening a woman with a gun. Since then, he was accused of stealing money from the cemetery’s endowment fund, violating anti-harassment orders, misdemeanor assault, trespassing and stalking. The Greenwood Cemetery was declared abandoned in 2015 by the Washington State Funeral and Cemetery Board. 

In 2017, Baker was arrested on suspicion of second-degree assault and was sent to Western State Hospital for mental health evaluations. He was eventually sentenced to time served in 2018. 

“The reason I want to do it is I’ve talked to a couple of cops who have dealt with my dad over the years and I don’t know what else to say but ‘Thanks,’ ” Max Baker said. 

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(1) comment

Epiphany Poet

John Baker for many years often wrote brilliant letters to the Chronicle editor and was an articulate, fascinating fellow. Let's not forget that.☮

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