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NBUW Executive Director Christa Collier, left, Susan Walker, Steve Green and President Jason Dohaney in presenting Walker and Green with the Al Nelson Spirit of Caring Award.
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The evening was dedicated to Al Nelson, who died last year.
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Christa Coller poses with Tracy McConnell.
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State Rep. John Barrett III speaks about each award winner.
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Christine Hoyt, an award recipient last year, with Diane Cutillo.
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Cutillo and Bernie Pinnsoneault are this year's Spirit of Community Award recipients.
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The couple with Collier and Dohaney.
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Richard Alcombright, former mayor and last year's award recipient introduces Walker and Green.
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Sue Walker speaks to the gathering after being presented the Al Nelson Spirit of Caring Award.
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Steve Green takes his turn.
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The couple receive a resolution from Barrett.
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Specialty Minerals' Adams plant manager Steven Thompson accepts an award on behalf the employees.
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Specialty Mineral employees have an average 90 percent participation in NBUW donations.
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Butch Parrott is recognized for his many years coordinating the Specialty Minerals drive.
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Parrott with Collier and Dohaney.
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The first two Spirit of the Future Award recipients.
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Employees of Greylock Federal Credit Union, the event's platinum sponsor, are recognized.

Northern Berkshire United Way Presents Spirit of Caring Awards

By Tammy DanielsiBerkshires Staff
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Tracy McConnell is this year's Spirit of the Future Award recipient.
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — Steve Green reached into the past on Thursday in expressing what he liked so much about volunteering. 
 
Green and his wife, Susan Walker, were being presented with the second annual Al Nelson Spirit of Caring Award, presented by the Northern Berkshire United Way to recognize their many efforts on behalf of the community. 
 
"The one that I spoke about particularly is one that I long felt was incredibly important to me," he told the gathering at the Richmond Grille at the Holiday Inn Berkshires of his reason for volunteering. "And that is being with people like you, with people who share the same ideals and want to do good and to make things happen that are important things our community or the region needs."
 
It had put him in mind of what he'd said back in 1994 at NBUW's annual meeting and, with apologies to those who had heard it before, he read off the last paragraph of the speech he'd given almost 25 years ago to the day that thanked the "team" he and Walker have worked with for so many years.
 
"The work that you do, the ideals that you stand for, the concern which you and others share, are a testimony to your commitment to being a piece of the safety net," he read in part. "You care. You care a great deal. You are all owed far more gratitude than you receive. But you're not doing what you're doing for that type of reward. You do it because you know that what you do can make a difference. Making that difference is essential to your health and that of your neighbors." 
 
It was a theme picked up earlier in the evening by Christa Collier, executive director of NBUW, as she dedicated to the "Spirit of Caring" event to the late Al Nelson — the first recipient of the award given in his name.
 
"This event is really about celebrating the relationships and work that we all do. Our honorees have really contributed to this community and truly have no expectation of awards and recognition," she said, adding when the honorees were apprised of their awards, "they're usually shocked or they say to us, this is just the work. This is thing that I want to do."
 
Tracy Rougeau McConnell was presented the Spirit of the Future Award; Dianne Cutillo and Bernie Pinsonnault with the Spirit of Community Award; and Specialty Minerals Inc. the Campaign of the Year award and its longtime campaign coordinator Leon "Butch" Parrott was recognized.
 
State Rep. John Barrett III was also on hand to speak about each award recipient and to present him or her with a resolution from the state House of Representatives (each also received a similar document from the state Senate, courtesy of Sen. Adam Hinds).
 
Green and Walker were longtime friends of Nelson and volunteered at the Al Nelson Friendship Center Pantry, which Green and Nelson helped co-found. They have served on the board and numerous committees of the United Way and past campaign co-chairs along with their many years of volunteering, including with the Northern Berkshire Community Coalition, Northern Berkshire Interfaith Action Initiative, and All Saints Church.
 
Walker noted that the couple were not natives but arrived 45 years ago with their infant daughter. 
 
"As the years have gone by, we have been increasingly impressed by our community of North Adams and Northern Berkshire," she said, and referring to the recent publication of "The Gritty Berkshires" by her husband's colleague Maynard Seider, added "I think it says a lot about the people of Northern Berkshire, who have worked hard and shown through true grit over changes that have happened, many depressing and difficult. 
 
"There has also been a gritty determination that our neighbors will not be ignored or forgotten in the midst of bad news."
 
Green, a sociology professor, retired from Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts in 2009 as vice president for academic affairs; Walker, a psychotherapist, had worked for the former Northern Berkshire Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services in private practice. Both have been honored in the past for their professional and community work. 
 
"Getting to know you both over the years, I came to know so much of what you both do," said presenter Richard Alcombright, the city's former mayor and recipient of the first Spirit of Community Award last year. "But most importantly, who you both are: you're kind, considerate, caring, loving, compassionate, generous and giving people. It's that simple. 
 
"Both of you have shown so many of us the way, in the most effective way possible, through your example of leadership."
 
Collier presented the Spirit of the Future Award to McConnell, a volunteer in several areas, including coaching in youth sports, and board chair of member agency Northern Berkshire Family YMCA. She is vice president of business banking at Greylock Federal Credit Union.
 
McConnell in reflecting on the "why" she gives so much time to coaching said it was because of the example the coaches she had in her youth who taught her so many life skills. 
 
"They taught me integrity, compassion, drive, sportsmanship, how to be a gracious winner or loser, and respect," she said. "They taught me that win or lose, it's how we work together as a team that mattered and how you lifted up and supported each other. ...
 
"It is my hope that in my own small way, I'm supporting the kids that I work with, either on the T-ball field, basketball court or soccer field, in the same manner."
 
Christine Hoyt, last year's Spirit of the Future Award recipient, presented the Spirit of Community Award to fellow Adams residents Cutillo and Pinsonnault.
 
"Christa asked me to speak about community. I started to think about what community means to me, the community can be measured by the actions and compassion of its members and partners," said Hoyt. "Community is what you make it what you want it to be and what you put into it."
 
The couple have been volunteers and supporters to NBUW, including as the 2018 campaign co-chairs, and Cutillo chairs the board of trustees for Berkshire Arts & Technology Public Charter School and Pinsonnault is a trustee of the Berkshire Community College Foundation, Berkshire Fund and Adams Community Bank.
 
"It is a great privilege and pleasure to be involved in this community and support this wonderful place," Cutillo said in thanking the gathering. 
 
Specialty Minerals was honored for its contributions in leadership and resources, with an average donation rate of nearly 90 percent or about $500 a year per employee.
 
"In addition, the company provides a generous corporate gift each year and in the most recent campaign, this generosity produced a total of $107,000, nearly 25 percent of our campaign," Collier said to applause. In all, that's added up to $2.5 million total from the company over the past three decades.
 
Adams plant manager Steven Thompson accepted the award on behalf of the employees and company and a special recognition was given to Parrott, a member of the NBUW board and longtime campaign coordinator at Specialty Minerals until his retirement last in March after 42 years. 
 
"One organization that came through throughout our most difficult times in this city, in this area, was your operation," said Barrett. "Without it, we wouldn't have been able to accomplish the many things that had to be done. There wouldn't have been the charities and groups that you've supported over the years without your help."
 
The awards were established last year as a way to recognize the volunteer efforts being done on behalf of NBUW and its member agencies. 

Tags: NBUW,   recognition event,   

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North Adams Happenings: Oct. 23-29

SAVE THE DATE
NOVEMBER 2nd - Masquerade at Greylock WORKS
On November 2nd, three weeks before FESTIVE, come to gWorks to dance in disguise at our MASQUERADE Halloween costume party! Doors open at 8pm !
Celebrate your costume ingenuity with DJ BFG spinning seamless upbeat dance music within immersive theatrical lighting choreographed by LJ McZawa.
Whether you're coming out in a dramatic mask + your favorite party clothes or a full-body transformation, our local friends are joining in on the fun to motivate your creativity with Costume Themes and PRIZES.
https://www.facebook.com/events/406993753316580/
Wednesday 10/23
9:00 A.M. (FREE), SOCIAL, Open Hours UNO Community Center, 157 River Street, (413) 664-4612 More information.

10:00 A.M. (FREE), KIDS, Terrific Tots Playgroup The Family Center, 210 State Street, (413) 664-4821 More information.  


10:30 A.M. (FREE), PARENTING, Parenting Workshop: Surviving your Adolescents nbCC Conference Room, 61 Main Street, Room 213, (413) 663-7588 More information.  


11:30 A.M. (FREE), KIDS, Little Wonders Baby Playgroup The Family Center, 210 State Street, (413) 664-4821 More information. 

4:00 P.M. (FREE), FAMILY, Family Literacy Night Series The Family Center, 210 State Street, (413) 664-4821 More information.  


6:00 P.M. (FREE), WORKSHOP, Educator Open House North Adams Public Library, 64 Church Street, More information.

8:00 P.M. (FREE), GAMES, Trivia Night! Ramunto's, 67 Main Street, (413) 398-5152 More information.

Thursday 10/24
9:00 A.M. (FREE), SOCIAL, Open Hours UNO Community Center, 157 River Street, (413) 664-4612 More information.

10:00 A.M. (FREE), PARENTING, Kids Safety of America: Child Abuse and Neglect nbCC’s Conference Room, 61 Main Street, Room 213 More information.

4:00 P.M. (FREE), TUTORING, After School Program UNO Community Center, 157 River Street, (413) 664-4612 More information.

4:30 P.M. (FREE), CONVERSATION, Spaghetti Supper with Tom Bernard North Adams American Legion, 91 American Legion Drive More information.

4:30 P.M. (FREE), FAMILY, Dad and Family Time- Bowling and Pizza Night Valley Park Bowling, Curran Highway More information.

5:00 P.M. (FREE), SOCIAL, Octoberfest in The Airport Rooms TOURISTS Welcome, 915 State Road More information.

5:00 P.M. (FREE), BIKING, Halloween West End Bike Around Greylock School, 100 Phelps Ave More information.

6:00 P.M. (FREE), OPEN MIC, OPEN MIC The Parlor Cafe, 303 Ashland Street More information.

6:00 P.M. (FREE), INFORMATIONAL, Milton Hershey School Family Event: North Adams, MA Freight Yard Pub & Restaurant, 1 Furnace Street More information.

7:30 P.M. (FREE), WRITING, Fiction Writing Workshop [open house] Common Folk, 85 Main Street More information.

7:30 P.M. (FREE), BINGO, Musical Bingo at Mingo's Sports Bar and Grill 41 Roberts Drive More information.

8:00 P.M. ($15), COMEDY, Comedy Night w/ Andy Sandford HiLo North Adams, 55 Union Street More information.
Friday 10/25
10:30 A.M. (FREE), CONVERSATION, Coffee with a Cop MCLA Campus Center, 375 Church Street More information.

10:30 A.M. (FREE), PARENTING, Ages and Stages The Family Center, 210 State Street, (413) 664-4821 More information.

10:00 A.M. (FREE), KIDS, Drop-In Playgroup The Family Center, 210 State Street, (413) 664-4821 More information.

12:00 P.M. (FREE), SOCIAL, Open Hours UNO Community Center, 157 River Street, (413) 664-4612 More information.

7:00 P.M. (FREE), MOVIES, Halloween cartoon movie night MCLA Freel Library, Blackinton Street More information.

7:00 P.M. (By Donation), CRAFTING, Knitting Nights with Common Folk Common Folk, 73 Main Street More information.

7:00 P.M. ($1 and up), GAMES, BINGO! North Adams Elks 487 Lodge, 100 Eagle Street, (413) 664-9039 More information.

7:00 P.M. ($12 adv, $15 at the door), CONCERT, Gregory Douglass LIVE at HiLo North Adams HiLo North Adams, 55 Union Street More information.

8:00 P.M. (Prices vary, click link for details), THEATER, Miss Julie MCLA Theatre, 375 Church Street More information.

9:00 P.M. (FREE), MUSIC, Karaoke Friday! State Street Tavern, 167 State Street, (413) 664-9152 More information.
Saturday 10/26
9:00 A.M. (FREE), CLOTHING DRIVE, Winter Clothing Drive First Baptist Church of North Adams, 131 Main Street More information.

10:00 A.M. (FREE), GARDENING, Gardening Program UNO Community Center, 157 River Street, (413) 664-4612 More information.

12:30 P.M. (Child $5, Adults $8, Family $25), FUNDRAISER, AYJ Fund Children's Princess Concert MCLA Church St Center, 375 Church Street More information.

3:00 P.M. (Cost of Admission), ART, Opening Reception: Sarah Oppenheimer, Jenny Holzer, and ERRE MASS MoCA, 1040 MASS MoCA Way More information.

6:00 P.M. (FREE), CONCERT, Fall Foliage Sunset Serenade - Jessica Gregory Wilson Wigwam Western Summit, 2350 Mohawk Trail More information.

8:00 P.M. (Prices vary, click link for details), THEATER, Miss Julie MCLA Theatre, 375 Church Street More information.

8:00 P.M. ($12 adv, $15 at the door), CONCERT, Misty Blues HiLo North Adams, 55 Union Street More information.

8:00 P.M. (Prices Vary, see link for details), CONCERT, Jenny Scheinman & Allison Miller’s Parlour Game MASS MoCA, 1040 MASS MoCA Way More information.
Sunday 10/27
2:00 P.M. (Prices vary, click link for details), THEATER, Miss Julie MCLA Theatre, 375 Church Street More information.

7:00 P.M. ($20 adv, $25 day of), CONCERT, Jeffrey Foucault HiLo North Adams, 55 Union Street More information.
Monday 10/28
5:00 P.M. (FREE), WORKSHOP, ROOTS Volunteer Training ROOTS Teen Center, 43 Eagle Street More information.

5:00 P.M. (FREE), BIKING, nbCC Bike Collective The Armory, 206 Ashland Street More information.

6:00 P.M. (FREE), WORKSHOP, Communications Career Panel Bowman Hall - MCLA, 375 Church Street More information.
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