The Northern Berkshire Community Coaltion's Neighborlies Awards was event the largest so far in more than a decade — or longer.
Glenda Matos-Carter, coordinator for the Northern Berkshire Neighbors Program, said this was being considered the 15th year until they did a little digging into the NBCC archives.
"Turns out the coalition has been hosting a community recognition award ceremony for the past 31 years with the first one being held in 1983," she said to applause. "So for the last 31 years, we have been celebrating the likes of you and I'm happy and proud to report that with over 400 submissions, this is our largest one yet."
The Neighborlies moved from Congregation Beth Israel in the West End to the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts' Church Street Center (Beth Israel's former home) to accommodate the larger crowd. The event was also posted as a livestream on Facebook for those who couldn't attend.
Matos-Carter and colleague Matt Shiebler started off with calling up awardees nominated for their efforts in the community, followed by other presenters based on their general fields.
Prior to that, NBCC Executive Director Amber Besaw welcomed the crowd and read a letter from Mayor Thomas Bernard, who was out of town and could not attend.
"I want to congratulate the more than 400 individuals and organizations who are recognized with the name of the award, as well as the hundreds of people who made the choice to recognize their neighbors, friends and colleagues for their acts of kindness over the past year," he wrote. "These acts of kindness remind us all that the work we do as members of this community matters. ...
Those acts of kindness ran the gamut of collecting bottles for donate the return deposits to charity (5 Cents at a Time Beth Schmehl) to aiding the residents displaced by last year's Houghton Stree fire (numerous business owners especially including Peter Oleskiewicz and community member Marilyn Miller Honig whose volunteerism created Berkshire Helping Hands) to working on a bike collective, aiding the O-Plus Festival, being solar coaches, sponsoring Berkshire Bocce League, planting and maintaining flowers at the UNO Community Center (Mount Williams), planting trees, supporting local clubs and youth sports, to helping keep the community safe.
Suzy Helme, the city's events coordinator who often steps above and beyond her job, was recognized for being the "Wonder Woman of North Adams." Dale Waterman was honored "for being the epitome of volunteerism in our county for decades, volunteering for the parade committee for 30 years, the SteepleCats for 15 years, the Bay State Games for 20 years, and the baseball exhibit daily when it comes to what was on Main Street," said Bret Beattie, NBCC community health worker.
Enid Shields was presented with the 2019 Volunteer of the Year award for her many years of "unwavering dedication" in volunteering across a host of efforts and groups
"It's a near certainty that you've seen this kind soul walking the streets of North Adams cleaning up various neighborhoods or volunteering her time at many organizations throughout the city," according to NBCC's statement on her award. "Enid is truly the gold standard of community involvement."
Police Chief Jason Wood, standing in for the mayor, said all of those the room has a part in facilitating the accomplishments being recognized.
"The Neighborly recognizes accomplishments big or small. Something like running a simple errand or raising the thousands of dollars for charity are put on the same recognition level," he said. "This is important because in a smaller community like ours, we need to be a little more kind, a little bit more understanding, and more willing to help each other, given the opportunity. Something as simple as proper recognition goes a long way, in improving and encouraging others to do good things."
Businesses & Groups Pulling Together: Aaron Oster, Adam Galambos, Adams Community Bank, Avery Adams Massage & Boutique, Bart Robinson, Bella Roma Pizza, Berkshire Emporium & Antiques, Berkshire Food Project, Bernie Martin, Bonnie Cahoon, Brandy Doran, Bri Morrison, Capitol Restaurant North Adams, Christo's Famous Pizza, Chuck Cahoon, City of North Adams, Common Folk, Crane & Co., Crystal Chapman, Dave's Package Store, David Nicholas and Tonia Beauchamp of Bounti-Fare Restaurant, Dean Daigle, Desperado's, Elizabeth Freeman Center, Empire Cafe, Friends of the Milne Public Library, Friends of the North Adams Public Library, Global Cultural Asset Management, Holiday Inn Berkshires, Ian Di Pietro, Image Nails, J.C. Painting, Jack's Hot Dog Stand, Jana Laiz, Jared Straus, Jessica Sweeney, Jim Sulzman, Joanna Gallivan, Joe Johnson, John Drummond, John Seven, Kate, Tyler, & Peter Annichiarico of Mount Williams Greenhouses, Kathy Lincoln, Katie Haig, Kenyon Brooks, Kim McMann of the Berkshire Food Project, Klipper Kingz Barber Co., Linda's Cafe, Lois Daunis, Loving Hands Ministry of St. Elizabeth's Parish, Makayla McGeeney, Marilyn Miller Honig, Mark Rondeau, MASS MoCA, Matt Tatro Owner/Chef of Tres Niños and Grazie, MCLA Gallery 51, Melissa's Hair & Nail Salon, Mia's Exchange, Michael Weatherby of Cumberland Farms, Misa Chappell, Missions Team at First Baptist Church, Nancy Castaldo, Nina Kilroe of Cinnamon Girl Pure Botanicals Apothecary, North Adams Fire Department, North Adams Police Department, Northern Berkshire Interfaith Action Initiative, Palil Vepul, Pam Tworig, Persnickety Toys, Pete Oleskiewicz, Pete Wheeler, Ramuntos North Adams, Rebecca Waterhouse, Rebel Beat Sound System, Fall Foliage Parade float building group, Ronan O'Connor, ROOTS Teen Center, Salvatore Perry and Karla Rothstein, Shear Madness Salon, Steepleview Realty, Sue Walker, Susan Abrams, Suzanne Schutz, TD Bank, The Spoke, The Support Network, Tres Niños Taqueria, Very Good Property Development, Warren Roaf, WIC, Williams College Astronomy Department, Verizon Wireless Zone
Community Health and Wellness: A-Ok Berkshire BBQ, Adam Galambos, Al Nelson Friendship Center, Alex Kostopolous, Allyse Wiencek, Amalio Jusino, Amanda Hartlage, Amanda Lee Egan Poirier, Amanda Vivori, Amber Sherman, Amy Donovan, Andrew Plager, Anne Bloom, Anne Goodwin, Anselm Bradford, Ashley Strazzinski, Barbara Reeves, BCAC, Becky Armstrong, Benne Perkins, Beth Piantoni, Bill Courtright, Bob Chilson, Brendan Bullett, Brian Keller, Carli McGurn, Caroline Bruno, Casey Albert, Chris Carr, Christin George, Christina Votra, Christine Osimo, Cindy Geyer, Cody Carey, Colleen Taylor, Dale Waterman, Danielle Beauchemin, Danielle Chretien, Darlene Blanchette, Dave and Donna Motta, Dianne Olsen, Donna Fairbank, Doreen Donovan, Dr. Frank Coughlin, Dr. Mark Pettus, Dr. Peter May, Ed Moran, Elena Traister, Emilee Reynolds, Emilie Beattie, Eric Kerns, Eric Mearns, Fran Berasi, Geeg Wiles, GreeNA, Gregory Shook, Hancock School 6th Grade Students, Hart Duncan, Jacob Carey, James Mayer of Grateful Greens, Jazmyne Joy, Jeannie Landrie, Jen Blair, Jennifer Flynn Bernard, Jennifer Muñoz, Jenny Dunning, Jenny Gadbois, Jess Chittenden, Jess Wilson, Jess Yurkofsky, Jesse Scherer, Jessica Dobrowski, Jessica Sweeney, Jim & Mike Moulton, John Gadbois, John Trimarchi and Bobbie Hallig, Jon Armstrong, Josh Doubiago, Joshua Moran, Julie Blake, Julius Rosenwald, Kaitlin Short, Karen Lefave, Kate Flower, Kathleen Toomey, Kathy Keeser, Kelli Kozak and MountainOne, Kelsey-Ann Miraglia, Kim Perry, Kimberly Murphy, Kris Maloney, Kyle George, Laurie Eichorn, Cheer Captains of NB Youth Cheerleading, Linda Cernik, Lisa Bassi, Liz Brick, Lucas Estrada, Makayla McGeeney, Mariah Kurtz, Marion Grillon, Maris Owczarski, Mary Stucklen of the Berkshire Zero Waste Initiative, MASS MoCA, Maureen Daniels, Maynard Seider, Michele Burro, Michele Farrance, Michelle Cutler, Mike Carey, Mike Rich, Mike Walker, Molly Kerns, Nancy Quevillon, Natalie Montoya Barnes, Natasha Nurjadin, Nelly Lin-Schweitzer, Nic Lefebvre, Nico Dery, Nicole Comstock, Olivia Moran, Pam Tworig, Paula Kingsbury-Evans, Peg McGeeney, Peter Kuusisto, Purple Bike Coalition, Rebecca Waterhouse, Robert Markey, Salvatore Perry and Karla Rothstein, Sam Delmolino, Sara Mae Henke, Sara Moulton, Sean Frey and Frank Sinito of Millenia Housing Management, Shannon Donnell Light, Shannon Toye, Sharon Connors, Sheri Iodice, Spencer Dickinson, Stephen Nesbit, Sue Deeley, Susan Chilson, Suzy Helme, The Beacon Recovery Community Center, Tiffany Aldous, Tilly Motta, Tina Wallin, Todd Coons of Crane Stationary, Tony Pisano, Tony Siracusa, Tracy DiSilva RN, BS, CEN, Trooper Andrew Canata, Veronica J Bosley, Will Scarborough
Youth Taking the Lead: Abigail Scholl, Faith Motta, Francisco Alicandri, Hope Motta, Mesal Horsfall, Nicholas Colabella, Piper Jacobs, Ryan Goodell, Tristan Scholl, Vincent Miksic, Youth of the South 40 Program, Zach Mancini
Family Support: Amy Hall, Angela Dimock, Debra Griffin, Erika Bailey, Jason Griffin, Kayla Girard, Kellie Lahey, Kim McMann, Laurie Singer, Laurie Boudreau, Don Boudreau, Chris Caproni, Drury Band Parents, Linda Banion, Maryam of Goodwill Industries, Michelle and Cory Nicholas, Missy Tarjick, Officer Darren Derby, Salvation Army, Tanya Malloy
Neighborly Act: Adam Galambos, Angela Swistak, Annie Rodgers, Ashley Strazzinski, Aubrey Armstrong, Austin Hill, Barb Tassone, Beth Alison Schmehl, BFAIR, Bill Blackmer, Caitlin Charbonneau, Carey Snide, Carol DeMayo, Christine Bushey, Crystal Mancini, Dave Bushey, David Kelso, Diane Parsons, Dianne Olsen, Edwin & Wendy Smith, Elizabeth Nasman, Enid Shields, Eric Kerns, Gabe Besaw, Gail Nelson, George and Nancy Canales, Gloria and Tom Molleur, Jenn Wilson, Jenny Dunning, Jim Bush, Joanna Gallivan, John Lipa, John Wheeler, Josh Carter, Julie Hanify, Justin Roughley, Karen Witek, Katie Haig, Keith and Michelle Crockwell, Keith Bona, Kelley Wilson and Lindsay Moran, Kellie Morrison, Kim Perry, Lana Lapier, Larry and Mary Jones of Living Hope Community Church, Lisa Bassi, Marilyn Miller Honig, Martha Marvin, Mary Jirkovsky, MCLA Women's Soccer, Michael Remillard, Mike Cutler, Mike Putnam, Mike Skorupski, Mike Walker, Mike Wheeler, Misha Amaral, North Adams Police Officer Eric Thomas, Pam of Goodwill Industries, Paul Marino, Prudy Gravel, Rebecca Dodge, Rocco Maruco, Ross Jacobs, Sally Sussman, Samantha Lauzon, Sarah Elizabeth Russell, Aaron Brigham, Sue Colombus, The Gordon Family, Thomas Moore, Tim Briggs