Valley Council Presented 2013 Awards
SHELTON, CT (December 11, 2013) – The Valley Council for Health & Human Services honored several community service providers for their positive impact on the Valley community at its Annual Meeting & Awards Presentation. The event, which was sponsored by the Valley Community Foundation, was held on December 3, 2013 at Grassy Hill Lodge in Derby, CT. Kevin Counihan, CEO of Access Health CT, the state’s healthcare exchange, gave a keynote presentation about Connecticut’s progress in implementing healthcare reform. This presentation was followed by the presentation of community service awards.
Pamela Mautte, Chair of the Valley Council and Director of the Greater Valley Substance Abuse Action Council at BHCare, introduced the three awardees. The Lewis Savitsky Staff Excellence Award, named in honor of a long-time Valley United Way employee and community leader, recognizes outstanding achievement among nonprofit employees. The 2013 award was given to James Queen, Director of Operations for the Boys and Girls Club of the Lower Naugatuck Valley. Mr. Queen first became involved with the Club at the age of nine. He began his career in 1983 as a part-time games room and front desk worker, rising quickly into leadership roles. As Mautte recounted in her introduction, “For over three decades, James has been a dependable, exceptional leader whose work has changed the lives of countless young people.”
The Agency/Program of the Year Award recognizes a nonprofit agency or program that has made a lasting contribution to the health and well-being of Lower Naugatuck Valley residents. This year’s award was presented to the Valley Parish Nurse Program, based at Griffin Hospital.
The program, which has served the Valley community for 24 years, includes an extremely dedicated group of volunteer nurses and Health Care Cabinet teams that work tirelessly for the well-being of local parishioners. Through their one-on-one services and group programs, parish nurses provide vital education, support, and service referrals that improve the health of Valley citizens of all ages. As one observer commented, “you can find parish nurses working everywhere, in libraries, shelters, schools, all over the Valley community.”
The Richard O. Belden Community Service Award, named in honor of late State representative Richard O. Belden, is given to an individual or group whose efforts have made a significant contribution to improving the quality of life of Valley residents. Bertha Belden accompanied the Valley Council Chair, Pamela Mautte, and incoming Vice-Chair, Diane Stroman, in presenting the award honoring the legacy of community service of her late husband. The Council presented the 2013 Belden award to the Ansonia Police Department and its Chief of Police, Kevin Hale, for their outstanding collaborative work to improve the safety and well-being of Valley residents.
In addition to the Police Department’s role in crime prevention and emergency assistance, the award presentation highlighted the ways that Chief Hale and his fellow officers have reached out to nonprofit agencies and schools to create partnerships that improve citizen safety. One example cited is when Chief Hale proactively approached The Umbrella Center for Domestic Violence Services to implement an innovative program to identify individuals who may be at high risk for domestic violence and refer them to safety planning services. This program’s successful implementation has become a statewide model, with over 24 police departments now using the Lethality Assessment Program.