The Valley Council for Health & Human Services held its Annual Meeting and Awards Presentation on Monday, December 6, 2011, featuring a keynote presentation by Representative Rosa DeLauro. The breakfast meeting, which was generously sponsored by Naugatuck Savings Bank, was held at Grassy Hill Lodge in Derby, CT.
After reviewing the Valley Council’s achievements during the past year, Pamela Mautte, the Valley Council Chair and Director of the Greater Valley Substance Abuse Action Council at Birmingham Group Health Services, Inc., introduced Congresswoman DeLauro, who has championed health and human services issues during her 10 terms in the U.S. Congress.
Rep. DeLauro shared her insights regarding current the federal policies and fiscal challenges that will impact the health and wellbeing of Valley residents. She drew attention to the significant benefits of current health care reform as well as to the potential loss of funding for critical health and human services. Rep. DeLauro spoke passionately about the responsibility of government to improve life for its citizens and encouraged Valley service providers and citizens to continue their advocacy for the services that so many Valley residents need during these difficult economic times.
“We were honored to have Congresswoman DeLauro enlighten us on the critical issues the health and human service industry may face in the upcoming years,” said Mautte. “She truly has a passion for health and human services and her many accomplishments reflect this passion.”
After the keynote address, the Valley Council presented its 2011 Community Service Awards to individuals and groups that have made a significant impact on quality of life in the Valley. The Council’s Vice-Chair John McGann, Clinical Director at Catholic Charities in Ansonia and Milford, introduced the awardees. This year, the Council’s Lewis Savitsky Staff Excellence Award, named in honor of a long-time Valley United Way employee and community leader, was presented to two individuals for outstanding achievement as employees in the non-profit community. The first awardee was Cathleen Kellett, Special Programs Coordinator in the Office of Community Outreach & Parish Nursing at Griffin Hospital. Kellett was recognized for her dedicated work to ensure the safety and health of Valley children and families. The second recipient of the 2011 Savistsky Staff Excellence Award was David Morgan, Vice President of Early Education at TEAM, Inc. The award presentation highlighted how Morgan’s committed and skillful leadership has improved early childhood education systems at both the local and state level.
The Valley Council’s Agency/Program of the Year Award recognizes a nonprofit agency that has made a significant and lasting contribution to the health and well being of Lower Naugatuck Valley residents. This year’s award was given to the Greater Valley Corps of the Salvation Army, which has worked to address the basic human needs of Valley families since 1891. As McGann stated, “During a time when an increasing number of families have been suffering economic and other hardships, the Salvation Army has made a tremendous difference.”
The Richard O. Belden Community Service Award, named in honor of late State representative Richard O. Belden, is given to an organization or individual outside the formal non-profit sector whose efforts have made a significant contribution to improving the quality of life of Valley residents. Bertha Belden presented the 2011 award on behalf of the Council to the Valley Women’s Health Initiative, a grassroots group dedicated to increasing access to women’s diagnostic and other health services in the Valley. Through its efforts to raise awareness and funds for breast cancer screening, the initiative has made it possible for women who would not otherwise afford vital health care services to be able to obtain them free of charge.