21st annual recognition event held
Volunteer of the Year Award winners from left: Nicole Herriot, Ron Baldwin, Tyler Haywood, David Pantalone, Carol Osgood, Michelle Kellett, Marian O’Keefe, Diane Berti. /Contributed photo
SHELTON - Valley United Way’s Volunteer Action Center celebrated National Volunteer Day “Celebrating People in Action” with the 21st Annual Volunteer Recognition Event Wednesday at the Valley United Way office, 54 Grove St.
Nominations were requested by agencies and local community groups to honor both individual and group volunteers that have given their time and attention to benefit others and initiated advancement in the Valley’s physical, intellectual, cultural, or moral condition.
This year’s student winners include Tyler Haywood of Shelton, receiving the Outstanding Middle School Youth award; Michelle Kellett of Shelton, receiving the Outstanding High School Student Award; and Diane Berti of Seymour, receiving the Outstanding High School Student Award.
Haywood, who just completed eighth grade at Hopkins School in New Haven, has been an active member of the Valley community, volunteering at Sunnyside School, collecting and delivering food to the Spooner House in Shelton, as well as helping plan and prepare the Joseph A Pagliaro Sr. Family Fund Easter Egg Hunt Pancake Breakfast.
Kellett is a busy young lady. Starting in elementary school, she put her leadership skills to the test organizing projects with her Girl Scout Troop and participating in student government. In middle school, she began to volunteer with the Valley Parish Nurses and the Spooner House.
In high school Kellett excelled in student government as well as extracurricular activities all while being a Valley United Way High School Volunteer Council Member, a junior member of the Sutter Terlizzi Post 16 American Legion Ladies Auxiliary, a volunteer at Griffin Hospital and working part time.
Berti, a senior at Seymour High School, is a dedicated volunteer at the library, working three times a week helping patrons find materials, shelving books, making department deliveries, and helping out in the technical services and circulation department. Sheloved volunteering at the library so much that she will soon be studying to become a librarian.
Winners of the Outstanding Volunteer Award include Nicole Herriot, David Rabinove and Ron Baldwin of Shelton.
The Living Treasure Awards were given to Carol Osgood of Shelton and Marian O’ Keefe of Seymour.
The Sharon Bryce Holly Community Hero Award was given to David Pantalone of Ansonia.
Herriot valiantly took charge throughout the aftermath of Super Storm Sandy. Moved by the devastation many families faced from the storm, she immediately secured space in the Boy Scouts of America building in Derby and arranged for volunteers to staff a collection drive for two weeks. Using word of mouth, social media and other outlets she spread word of the drive to the community.
The Valley supported Herriot, quickly filling the building with donated goods. She then contacted neighboring municipalities and organizations to see where these items were most needed and organized their delivery.
Winner of the Sharon Bryce Holly Community Hero Award, David Rabinove, has been a volunteer for TEAM Inc. since 2007.
The award is named for Sharon Bryce Holly, an outstanding employee of the Valley YMCA who through her community efforts, positive attitude and her willingness to help whenever it was needed, made a lasting impact on the Valley.
Starting as a Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Tax Preparer and making his way to the Board of Directors, Rabinove donates his time and skills processing the tax returns for the Valley’s Volunteer Income Tax Assistance partnership.
On Sundays he meets people at Derby Neck Library to help them complete their returns. He has also completed tax returns and provided technical assistance and quality control at the TEAM site on Saturdays and weekday evenings January through April.
Rabinove also created a family budgeting program for TEAM clients. He joined the TEAM Board of Directors in 2009 and was elected Treasurer in 2012.
Baldwin has been a vital part of the Center Stage Theatre’s team since its first season in 2005. An engineer by trade and a talented visual artist, he graciously volunteered to assist with set construction and design for the theater.
Since that day Baldwin has helped with every production at Center Stage as well as the Shelton High School Drama Club spring musical. In his words, “I keep doing what I’m doing so that you can keep doing what you’re doing.” Baldwin has volunteered hundreds of hours each year to Center Stage and has inspired other volunteers to join him.
Osgood has been an extremely active member of the community, volunteering at the Bishop Wicke Café, acting as a personal shopper for residents, filling in at the Wellness Center as needed, and plays piano for the residents at all three Wesley Village Communities in Shelton.
She also accompanies the Wesley Heights Chorus on the piano and began a program where the residents gather to sew sleeping bags for the homeless.
Most recently Osgood has developed a new program at Wesley Heights called, Songs at Eventide, providing another source of inspiration and fellowship with the residents while reinforcing the bonds that tie the community together.
O’Keefe has a great passion for history and put forth efforts throughout her life to protect it. She has investigated the history of the areas she’s lived in, become involved in its museums and historical societies, and sought to publicize the events and local personalities who shaped those towns.
She has completed a historic resources inventory for the Connecticut Historical Commission and promoted her region’s history through lectures, publications, tours, and curatorial efforts.
O'Keefe was a member of the Derby Historical Society Board of Directors while also serving as curator.
Along with her volunteer work in Derby and Seymour, she provides volunteer support to the P.T. Barnum Museum in Bridgeport.
O'Keefe has been a valuable asset to Healthy Valley, a committee of the Valley Council for Health and Human Services.
YMCA board member
David Pantalone has been a Board Member of the Valley YMCA since 2008, chairing the Property Committee for the last five years and stepping up in 2012 to become the Vice-Chair of the Board of Managers. Pantalone can be seen at the YMCA every morning and sometimes in the evenings as well. He is directly responsible for tens of thousands of dollars of donations and in-kind services to the Valley YMCA, using his skills as a HVAC contractor fixing, repairing and installing numerous air condition units and boiler repairs over the past five years.
Recently Pantalone secured the donation of a sauna for the men’s locker room, a beautiful new welcome center desk, and an $8,000 donation of glass sliding doors for the new strength training center.
These volunteers were chosen based on their great sense of community responsibility and social awareness while embodying United Way’s vision of a caring community and Live United. Congratulations to all winners, thank you for all you do to make the Valley a better place to live, work and volunteer.
To learn about the Volunteer Action Center or to find an opportunity visit Valley United Way’s website, valleyunitedway.org or call Patricia Tarasovic, 203-926-9478.
This post is taken from a press release from Valley United Way.
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