Susan Dunn, president and CEO of United Way of Central and Northeastern Connecticut, presented the United Way Community Campaign Champion Award to Roger Adams, executive director of The Chamber of Commerce Inc., Windham Region.
Windham Region United Way Holds Annual Community Celebration
Chamber Honored with Community Campaign Champion Award
The Chamber of Commerce Inc., Windham Region was awarded the United Way Community Campaign Champion Award at Windham Region United Way’s 59th Annual Community Celebration Tuesday at Windham Community Memorial Hospital.
“The Chamber has had a long-standing, year-round partnership with Windham Region United Way,” said Susan B. Dunn, president and CEO of United Way of Central and Northeastern Connecticut. “Not only did the Chamber have a 519 percent increase in overall giving in 2009, but it has also been a wonderful partner in spreading the word about United Way’s work.”
Dedicated local volunteer Thomas Ford of Willimantic was also honored Tuesday with the Maurice Heon Sr. Volunteer of the Year Award. Ford was recognized for his outstanding volunteer commitment to local programs including Covenant Soup Kitchen, a United Way partner agency.
“I humbly accept this award tonight, not just for myself, but on behalf of all the volunteers within our local community,” Ford said. “While in the last few years I have endured some personal hardships of my own, I never lost sight of the fact that there were still so many others out there less fortunate than myself.”
Each year, Windham Region United Way presents the award, which was established in 1985 to honor the memory and volunteer contributions of Maurice Heon Sr., a United Way board member who always sought to improve the quality of life of others in the Windham region.
Ann Pratt, executive director of the Connecticut Early Childhood Alliance, delivered the keynote address Tuesday evening on the influence of family on children’s academic success. The Alliance is a statewide advocacy organization committed to improving outcomes for young children. Its goal is that all children born in Connecticut will enter kindergarten healthy, eager to learn and ready for success—a goal shared by United Way.
Christine Paquette, chair of the Windham Region United Way advisory board, spoke about United Way’s work over the past year to advance the common good in the Windham region. More than 5,000 calls from Windham region residents were answered in 2009 by United Way’s free 2-1-1 help and information line, and the six-week Common Sense Parenting program — a partnership among United Way, Windham Public Schools, and The Village for Families and Children — is offered in English and Spanish to all parents of children in the Windham Public Schools. The year began with a GIVE NOW campaign, which raised more than $32,000 to help meet immediate basic needs, and the year ended with the United Way Community Campaign, which raised $25.7 million in central and northeastern Connecticut. “We started 2009 with one of the most challenging economic climates in history, but we emerged with hope and cause for celebration,” Paquette said.