On the occasion of its Annual Meeting, the Valley Council will present three community service awards.
The Agency/Program of the Year Award recognizes a nonprofit agency or a program within a non-profit agency whose staff and volunteers exemplify excellence in the community and whose services have made a significant and lasting contribution to the health and well being of the residents of the Lower Naugatuck Valley.
This year’s award will be presented to The Valley Community Foundation who for 2.5 years, has worked in conjunction with Data Haven and other Valley nonprofits, businesses, and legislators on their 2016 Valley Community Index. This index provides data, analysis, and a narrative across various indicators in areas such as education, health, community life, senior living, and early childhood. Since these indicators were identified through open committee discussions, they are targeted towards real challenges within the Valley, as opposed to somewhat random indicators that may have no relevance to Valley life. As such, the final report, which was released in October 2016, has real weight and true value to not only nonprofits and city leaders, but to the general public. Additionally, there was real care put into the crafting of the narrative and the visuals chosen so that it would be as easy to read as possible by the average citizen.
The Valley Community Foundation should also be commended for their commitment to continuing this process every three years so that we can track the changes in the data and follow the initiatives taking place as we move forward. This cannot be overstated, as this is a real commitment that anyone who took part in the committee discussions can attest. It would have been far easier to say, “We’ve done our part. Now it’s up to you. Good luck!” Instead VCF has said that they will continue to support this index and all those involved moving forward.
The Lewis Savitsky Staff Excellence Award, is presented to an individual for extraordinary service as an employee in the non-profit community who has made a positive impact on the quality of life of residents in the Lower Naugatuck Valley.  The award is named in honor of Lewis Savitsky, a long time employee of Valley United Way who was active not only with Valley United Way, but also with multiple groups on the community.
This year’s honoree is Suzanne Reilly, of TEAM Inc., for the Lewis Savitsky Award.  Suzanne has helped expand programs for seniors in the lower Naugatuck Valley region.  She has built upon excellent programs at TEAM and enhanced the quality and responsiveness of services available to older adults.  She recently oversaw the successful implementation of a new service model for Home Delivered Meals which will ensure the reliability and quality of that program.  Under her leadership TEAM has partnered with Griffin Hospital to develop a congregate meal site at the hospital.  This has become the most successful congregate meal program within the state.  It offers older adults a very low cost dining-out opportunity that isn’t dependent upon the dollar menu at a fast food chain.
Suzanne chairs the Valley Senior Services Council meetings.  Under her leadership the Council has provided multiple community education opportunities for older adults and service providers.  She is a member of the Valley Caregiver Committee and has participated in providing training and support to family caregivers in the Valley.   As Chair of the Council she helped spearhead the development of a Valley Multi-disciplinary Team to address elder abuse concerns identified by service providers in the Valley.
Suzanne has represented TEAM at many community activities where her expertise in aging issues and community resources has been utilized to advance planning projects and direct community services to the places they are most needed.  Suzanne is never too busy to assist another colleague in the aging network or help out a Valley resident in need.  She accomplishes this by working more hours than most people.  She is responsive to community needs and willing to pitch in whenever asked.
She recognizes the need for continual support for programs for those most in need and Suzanne willingly and successfully seeks out funding opportunities to sustain existing programs and develop new programs.  She recently launched the Valley Adult Diaper Bank.  After being made aware that seniors were reusing disposable diapers, or going without them altogether, she recognized the need to get these supplies in the hands of individuals who were having trouble paying for them.  She found the funds to ensure seniors have access to the diapers and distributes them in a manner that respects the dignity of the clients she serves.
The Richard O. Belden Community Service Award is presented to an individual or organization whose efforts have made a significant contribution to improving the quality of life of Valley residents in the Lower Naugatuck Valley.  It is presented in honor of the late State Representative Richard O. Belden and his high standards of ethics and community involvement. The Council will present the 2016 Belden award to William C. Nimons In recognition of “outstanding volunteer leadership” in the Lower Naugatuck Valley
William C. Nimons, retired Senior Vice President of Naugatuck Valley Savings & Loan has been selected as the recipient Richard O. Belden Award. A life long resident of the Valley, Mr. Nimons has had a major impact on the community through his extensive list of community activities serving a variety of organizations throughout the Valley.
A veteran of the United States Air Force, Nimons served as Executive Vice President with Shelton Savings Bank for 24 years and became very active with many groups in the Valley.  He has maintained those strong ties to those organizations. He is currently serves as treasurer on the board of directors of the Birmingham Group Health Services, treasurer of Valley Community Foundation, the Boys & Girls Club of the Lower Naugatuck Valley and the Connecticut Hurricanes Drum & Bugle Corps. He previously served as president of the Valley United Way’s Board of Directors in 1991, which followed his heading up a very successful community campaign for the United Way in 1986 and continued to serve on the Finance Committee for several years and now serves as a corporator. He is also a corporator of Griffin Hospital, and previously was a director at both the Valley Chapter of the American Red Cross and the Housatonic Council of the Boy Scouts of America.
Mr. Nimons has also been very active in civic affairs in Ansonia and has served in several capacities on the Ansonia Board of Education and currently serves as President of the Board of Education.  He has served as Comptroller for the City of Ansonia, the Economic Development Commission, the Planning and Zoning Commission, and the Inland Wetland Commission. He served as Ansonia’s representative to the Valley Regional Planning Agency. As well, Bill has been a member of the Derby/Shelton Rotary Club for more than 35 years and is a past president of the organization and has been honored as a Paul Harris Fellow and the received the 2015 Rotary Norman Parcells Award honoring members who have shown an “above and beyond” commitment to the community. Prudential Financial Services named him as a “Community Champion” in both 2000 and 2001. The Greater Valley Chamber of Commerce honored him with their prestigious Gold Seal Award for community service in 1990 and Platinum Award in 2009 and Sacred Heart University Alumni Association honored him with the Pioneer Award in 2002. In 2006, he was honored with the Valley United Way Charles H. Flynn Humanitarian Award.
A graduate of Seymour High School he holds his MBA from Sacred Heart University and earned his undergraduate degree Magna Cum Laude from Sacred Heart University as well.  Mr. Nimons has been a resident of Ansonia for 43 years and is married to Elaine (Novinsky).  They have three children; Michael, Amy and Jeffrey and 4 grandchildren Catherine, Kylee, Benjamin and Daniel.
About the Valley Council for Health & Human Services
The Valley Council for Health and Human Services (VCHHS), established in 1993, is a partnership network of over 45 non-profit community health and human service organizations working to improve the quality of life of residents in the Lower Naugatuck Valley.  Through its monthly membership meetings, taskforces, and committees, the Council acts as an important mechanism for fostering collaborative efforts among local service providers, thereby improving service delivery systems and strategic planning for the Valley region.