Celebrating Our 2018 Local Leaders Local Legends

At the Community Foundation of Middlesex County (CFMC), we are so fortunate to be surrounded by “Good People Doing Great Things”. Every day we are reminded that everyone in our region truly cares about our friends and neighbors and where we live, work and play.

On Wednesday August 22, CFMC held its bi-annual Local Leaders, Local Legends awards reception at the Essex Steam Train banquet hall to honor those who make a difference every day. This year, with the help from nominations from the local community, 32 people and organizations were recognized for going above and beyond what is expected. Special guest and honoree Sarah Cody of WTNH-NEWS8 introduced the six award categories while CFMC Chairman Deborah Moore, Vice Chairman Nancy Fischbach and President/CEO Cynthia Clegg introduced and thanked the recipients.

The afternoon’s program began with a very special recognition of an incredible partner and friend to the Connecticut Valley region. Kevin Dodd and the Valley Railroad Company/Essex Stream Train & Riverboat were honored for all they do to support our community and our nonprofits.

(View the photo gallery here)

Four of the award categories were for individual contributions to the community. The Unsung Hero award, recognizing individuals whose role has been “behind the scenes” but whose contribution has made local nonprofit organizations stronger by their support, was presented to Debra Brown of Essex; Rita Christopher of Essex; Sarah Cody of Essex; Christine Hall of Deep River; Jane McMillan of Middletown; Paula Merrick of Ivoryton; Cathy and Jim Probolus of Portland; and Joanne Roczniak of East Haddam. The Outstanding Volunteer award, recognizing excellence in volunteer service, leading to significant improvements in the quality of life in our community, was given to Marla Bogaert of Ivoryton; Bill Guerra of Chester, Henry May of Essex, Donald McDougall of Killingworth, Judy Schoonmaker of Essex, and Maris Wacs of Old Lyme. The Leadership award, recognizing exceptional leadership in recruiting, motivating and coordinating volunteers, and providing clear direction by example was presented to  Vin Capece of Middletown; Chandler Howard of Middletown; Wally Jones of Killingworth; Marcia Kalayjian of Clinton; Bob Kirkpatrick of Middletown, Patti Anne Vassia of Middletown, and Curtis Weybright of Middlefield while Quentin “Q” Phipps of Middletown was the recipient of the Next Generation award given to an individual under the age of 35 who has shown initiative and motivation to be tomorrow’s philanthropist and/or community activist.

Two of the award categories focused on organizations or businesses that have improved the quality of life throughout the county. The Nonprofit Standout award, which recognizes initiative, creativity, and sustainable impact in providing services or extraordinary growth in its ability to deliver quality service, was presented to Simply Sharing and HOPE Partnership. Vista Life Innovations and The Kate were recognized as Nonprofit Standouts for their exceptional partnership in programming. The Corporate Supporter award was given for outstanding, sustained commitment to building a culture of civic and charitable engagement through financial and in-kind support, as well as creating a corporate culture that encourages employees to take leadership roles in philanthropy and community service. Recipients were Shore Publishing, Middlesex County Chamber of Commerce, Pough Interiors, Guilford Savings Bank, and River View Cemetery.

We extend our deep thank you to the many individuals who nominated friends, volunteers, and businesses for our recognition program. We again congratulate all of this year’s Local Leaders Local Legends – you are each an inspiration to the Community Foundation and to Middlesex County for all you do to make this region the best place to live, work, and play. THANK YOU! We are deeply grateful to Essex Steam Train & Riverboat for their generous sponsorship of our 2018 Honorary Recognition Celebration.

For more information on the Local Heroes, Local Legends program, its honorees or other Community Foundation of Middlesex County programs and services, call 860-347-0025 or go to www.middlesexcountycf.org.

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