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Class of 2024 Special Coverage

MEET THE 2024 DIFFERENCE MAKERS!

BusinessWest Editor Joseph Bednar interviews with 2024 Difference Makers: Rock 102, Paul Lambert from Springfield Symphony Orchestra, Beth Welty from the Springfield Chamber Players and Shannon Rudder from MLK Family Services.
BusinessWest Editor Joseph Bednar interviews with 2024 Difference Makers: Scott Keiter of Keiter, Linda Dunlavy of Franklin Regional Council of Governments, Matt Bannister of PeoplesBank and Delcie Bean of Paragus Strategic I.T. Special Thanks to GCAI

Thank You to our Partner Sponsors

Thank You to our Supporting Sponsors

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Driving Support

Balise Auto recently presented a check for $40,000 to Square One, combining Balise’s generosity with matching gifts from Balise’s corporate partners at Lexus and Toyota. Square One currently provides early learning services to more than 500 infants, toddlers, and school-age children each day, as well as family support services to 1,500 families each year, as they work to overcome the significant challenges in their lives.

Driving Support

Pictured, from left: Ken Maffia of Balise; Kristine Allard and Dawn DiStefano of Square One; and Alex Balise and Tim Cardillo of Balise.

 

 

Progress, Promise, and a Name

On March 26, regional leaders unveiled a name for the cybersecurity center at Union Station: the Richard E. Neal Cybersecurity Center of Excellence. U.S. Rep. Neal, who provided a tour of the center currently under construction, led a funding effort in 2023 that resulted in $3 million of congressionally directed spending to establish the center, which is also is supported by a $1.46 million state grant and $500,000 from the city of Springfield.

Progress, Promise, and a Name

Pictured, from left: STCC President John Cook, Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno, Neal, Springfield Redevelopment Authority Chair Armando Feliciano; and CyberTrust Massachusetts CEO Peter Sherlock.

 

Beyond Frames

Mechanics Hall in Worcester unveiled three commissioned portraits of 19th-century Black Americans at an event called “Beyond Frames” on March 14, as part of its Portraits Project. Westfield State University Associate Art Professor Imo Nse Imeh contributed with his portrait of formerly enslaved civil-rights leader, orator, and writer Frederick Douglass. The Mechanics Hall Portrait Gallery is an installation honoring 19th-century Worcester innovators, social reformers, Civil War heroes, and political leaders.

Pictured: Imeh in his studio with his Douglass portrait.

 

Student Art at the Mill District

On April 6, the Mill District General Store & Local Art Gallery unveiled an installation called “Pieces of Us,” a mosaic by more than 120 students at Pelham Elementary School. The front-window exhibit, which runs through April 27, was “inspired by classroom dialogues around identity and the many characteristics that shape our school community,” art teacher Emily Stewart (pictured) said. “Each student had full control over their creative expression within Pelham’s choice-based art studio. The selections they made in subject, media, style, and design invite us to embrace the beauty of their collective diversity and the mosaic of their varied experiences.”

Student Art at the Mill District

The Mill District General Store & Local Art Gallery unveiled an installation called “Pieces of Us,” a mosaic by more than 120 students at Pelham Elementary School

 

Community Effort

Monson Savings Bank’s annual donation and pledge drive to benefit the United Way of Pioneer Valley (UWPV) recently raised a total of $5,184. Employees also raised an additional $1,063 through a bank-wide bingo game and $695 through a TGIF dress-down program. The bank also provided a corporate donation of $1,000, bringing the total United Way donation to $7,942.

Community Effort

Pictured, from left: Dodie Carpentier and President Dan Moriarty of Monson Savings, Tracy Trial and Megan Moynihan of UWPV, and Michael Rouette and Kylie LaPlante of Monson Savings.

 

Learning Opportunity

Five Springfield Technical Community College (STCC) students — Travis Canary, Bradley DeJesus, Samuel Frechette, Jessica Phillips, and Hong Zhang — joined their peers for the Annual Conference on the First-Year Experience in Seattle on Feb. 18-21. The five STCC students in the STEM Starter Academy embarked on a transformative experience, embracing opportunities for growth, connection, and learning.

Learning Opportunity

Pictured, from left: Canary; Zhang; Jason Phillips, academic counselor; DeJesus; Zahi Haddad, professor of Engineering and Physical Sciences; Frechette; and Samar Ghrear, director of the STEM Starter Academy.

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Healthy Support for a Good Cause

The annual 94.7 WMAS Children’s Miracle Network Radiothon, held on March 5-6, raised $289,355 in support of Baystate Children’s Hospital. Throughout the two-day event, WMAS personalities spearheaded fundraising efforts, rallying listeners and supporters to contribute to the cause and make a difference in the lives of children facing medical challenges.

Baystate Health and Audacy Springfield

Pictured: the Kellogg Krew’s Chris Kellogg (left) and Dina McMahon (third from left) with one of the families that received treatment at Baystate Children’s Hospital. (Photo courtesy of Baystate Health and Audacy Springfield)

 

 

Empowerment and Inspiration

Springfield Technical Community College capped off its celebration of Black History Month on Feb. 29 with an inspiring talk by Ilyasah Shabazz, an award-winning author, educator, and producer, and daughter of the late activists Malcolm X and Betty Shabazz. She spoke about historical injustices and offered a message of empowerment and social change. She also shared engaging personal stories about her parents and addressed larger themes of social justice, love, and human rights.

STCC group

Pictured: Shabazz (second from left) with STCC students and Karolyn Burgos-Toribio, STCC’s Community Outreach counselor (far right). (Photo by Ed Cohen)

 

Positive Steps in Mental Health

During his Feb. 27 tour of the newly renovated adolescent unit at MiraVista Behavioral Health Center, U.S. Rep. Richard Neal called this age group a population that can be treated successfully, and the recently reopened unit “clearly a step in the right direction.” He was joined on the tour by Holyoke City Councilor Juan Anderson-Burgos and some of the psychiatric hospital’s executives.

MiraVista and TaraVista Behavioral Health Centers

Pictured, from left: Joel Doolin, executive vice president of MiraVista and TaraVista Behavioral Health Centers; Dr. Negar Beheshti, chief medical officer of MiraVista and TaraVista; Shelley Zimmerman, hospital administrator at MiraVista; and Neal.

 

 

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Brrrrrr

The polar plunge and draft horse wagon rides were just two highlights of Winterfest 2024, a series of events, culminating on Feb. 11, presented by the Nashawannuck Pond Steering Committee as a fundraiser for the committee’s cleanup and preservation efforts in and around the pond in Easthampton. The committee’s annual maintenance and operating costs are approximately $10,000, which is why Winterfest is so important.

Photo by Colin McGahan

 

 

Special Experience

American International College (AIC) hosted the 2024 Western Massachusetts Basketball League Tournament for Special Olympics Massachusetts (SOMA) at AIC’s Butova Gym on Jan. 21, Feb. 4, and Feb. 17. The campus community supported three weekends of games, with student volunteers assisting with scoring and timing, student-athletes interacting with players, and others cheering from the stands, creating an uplifting experience for the 79 SOMA participants.

Photo by AIC student Swastik Chuke

 

 

Welcome Home

Bluebird Estates, a Holiday by Atria independent-living community in East Longmeadow, recently completed a renovation project for capital upgrades in design and amenities. A ribbon-cutting ceremony took place on Feb. 22 with state Sen. Jacob Oliveira, state Rep. Brian Ashe, East Longmeadow Town Manager Thomas Christensen, Deputy Town Manager Rebecca Lisi, and others, followed by refreshments, live entertainment, and community tours.

A ribbon-cutting ceremony took place on Feb. 22 with state Sen. Jacob Oliveira, state Rep. Brian Ashe, East Longmeadow Town Manager Thomas Christensen, Deputy Town Manager Rebecca Lisi, and others, followed by refreshments, live entertainment, and community tours.

 

 

Shining Stars

The Greater Chicopee Chamber of Commerce hosted its 39th annual Shining Stars Awards Gala, themed “The Greatest Show in Chicopee,” on March 1 at the Castle of Knights in Chicopee. Presented by Westfield Bank, this year’s event featured performers from SHOW Circus Studio in Easthampton roaming about the event.  (Photos by Michael Epaul Photography)

The evening’s hosts, Hayley Procon (left) and Jeremy Procon (right), present the Business of the Year honor to Michelle and Peter Wirth of Mercedes-Benz of Springfield

 

Citizen of the Year Ashley Kohl with her “ohana,” which is Hawaiian for family

 

a group of attendees, including Amie Miarecki and Tracey Alves-Lear from Nonprofit of the Year Junior Achievement of Western Massachusetts, along with Volunteer of the Year Daryl Grabowski, pose for a selfie with a stilt walker

 

 

 

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Building Community

Greenfield Cooperative Bank (GCB) announced a $10,000 sponsorship of Habitat for Humanity’s Victoria Bismark Farm project, which will include the construction of three single-family homes on Burts Pit Road in Northampton, to be built by hundreds of community volunteers alongside three future homebuyers with low income.

Pictured, from left: GCB President and CEO Tony Worden, GCB Executive Vice President of Residential Lending Jane Wolfe, and Megan McDonough, executive director of Pioneer Valley Habitat for Humanity.

 

Welcoming Committee

With a cutting of the ribbon, the Saremi Center for Career Development officially opened at American International College (AIC) on Feb. 5.  

Pictured, from left: Frank Colaccino, AIC board of trustees chair; Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno; K. Kevin Saremi, AIC board of trustees vice chair and the center’s namesake; Tyler Saremi; and AIC President Hubert Benitez. K. Kevin Saremi and his wife, Deborah, have been longtime financial supporters of AIC.

Pictured, from left: Frank Colaccino, AIC board of trustees chair; Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno; K. Kevin Saremi, AIC board of trustees vice chair and the center’s namesake; Tyler Saremi; and AIC President Hubert Benitez. K. Kevin Saremi and his wife, Deborah, have been longtime financial supporters of AIC.

 

Clothing Drive

Through the collaborative efforts of Berkshire United Way, Gladys Allen Brigham Community Center, Greylock Federal Credit Union, Lenox parent Brianne Lamke, and Lenox teacher Heather McNeice, a community clothing drive was held on Jan. 13. Thousands of donations of adult and children’s clothing and shoes were dropped off and sorted, and on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, the community was invited to shop for free.

Community clothing drive was held on Jan. 13

 

Realizing a Dream

Holyoke Chicopee Springfield (HCS) Head Start named Mayra Felix (center), a teacher director with the organization, the recipient of its Janis Santos Scholarship. This $2,000 scholarship will allow Felix the chance to realize her dream of completing her bachelor’s degree. Pictured with Felix are Nicole Blais (left), CEO of HCS Head Start, and Janis Santos, former HCS Head Start CEO and scholarship namesake.

Mayra Felix (center), Nicole Blais (left), CEO of HCS Head Start, and Janis Santos, former HCS Head Start CEO and scholarship namesake.

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Trees of Hope

On Feb. 1, Gary Rome Hyundai and Ronald McDonald House of Springfield announced that together they raised $180,333.05 for the Springfield nonprofit at the third annual Trees of Hope event in November. The organizations will partner again in 2024 to host Trees of Hope at the dealership.

Trees of Hope

Pictured, from left: Brittany Zabielski of Gary Rome Hyundai; Emily Brady and Rosemarie Zello of Ronald McDonald House; Gary Rome, president and CEO of Gary Rome Hyundai; Michelle D’Amore, executive director of Ronald McDonald House; and Dara Davignon, Lori Chatel, Cathy Riley, and Brianna Zemrock of Gary Rome Hyundai.

 

 

Helping Students Succeed

On Jan. 31, Holyoke Community College (HCC) opened its new Scholarship Resource Center, the first of its kind among community colleges in Massachusetts. Its purpose is to make it easier for students to apply for scholarships available through the HCC Foundation. Located on the first floor of the Donahue Building, the center is open Mondays through Fridays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Each year, the HCC Foundation awards about $350,000 in scholarships.

Helping Students Succeed

Pictured: Laura Freeman, HCC manager of Stewardship and Donor Relations, and HCC President George Timmons join students in cutting the ribbon for the new center.

 

Fighting Food Insecurity

bankESB announced that its third annual Neighbors Helping Neighbors fundraising drive raised $35,000 for local food pantries, bringing the program’s three-year total to nearly $110,000. Fourteen participating food pantries received $2,500 each. The appeal is part of bankESB’s charitable giving program, the Giving Tree, which reflects the bank’s commitment to making a difference in the neighborhoods it serves.

Fighting Food Insecurity

Pictured: Tenaya Reade, assistant branch manager of bankESB’s Sargeant Street, Holyoke office, presents a $2,500 check to Brenda Lamagdeleine, manager of Margaret’s Pantry in Holyoke.

 

 

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United in Support

bankESB and its employees recently donated $50,000 to the United Way of the Franklin & Hampshire Region. Employees pledged nearly $23,000 of their own funds in the United Way workplace campaign, which was combined with the bank’s dollar-for-dollar match and additional corporate contribution.

Pictured: United Way of the Franklin & Hampshire Region Director of Development Holly Martineau (center) flanked by, from left, bankESB’s Gary Turku, Marge Prendergast, President and CEO Matthew Sosik, Jessica West, Dena Hall, and Bozena Dabek.

Pictured: United Way of the Franklin & Hampshire Region Director of Development Holly Martineau (center) flanked by, from left, bankESB’s Gary Turku, Marge Prendergast, President and CEO Matthew Sosik, Jessica West, Dena Hall, and Bozena Dabek.

 

 

International Partnerships

Hubert Benitez, president of American International College (AIC), took center stage at the sixth annual International Conference of the Occupational Therapy Assoc. of Morocco on Jan. 6 in Kenitra, Morocco. The conference recognized Benitez with the 2024 Leadership Excellence Award. In his keynote speech, titled “The Role of Higher Education Leadership in Creating Innovative, Entrepreneurial, Diverse, and Interdisciplinary Environments,” Benitez emphasized how international partnerships in higher education play a crucial role in bringing people from different countries and cultures together.

Hubert Benitez, president of American International College

Hubert Benitez, president of American International College

 

 

Distinctive Performance

Mercy Medical Center’s Family Life Center has been recognized by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts with a Blue Distinction Centers+ for Maternity Care designation, as part of the Blue Distinction Specialty Care program. To earn this designation, a facility must deliver quality care safely and cost-effectively. Designated facilities demonstrate higher-quality care compared to non-Blue Distinction Center facilities, with overall average rates of 26% fewer episiotomies, 60% fewer elective deliveries, and 17% fewer cesarean births, as well as an average savings of 21% for maternity care.

Mercy Medical Center’s Family Life Center

Mercy Medical Center’s Family Life Center has been recognized by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts with a Blue Distinction Centers+ for Maternity Care designation, as part of the Blue Distinction Specialty Care program

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No Shave November

During their annual No Shave November initiative, TommyCar Auto Group and the Hampshire County Sheriff’s Office raised a record-breaking total of $9,826.90 for Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. Throughout November, members of the Hampshire County Sheriff’s Office embraced No Shave November, setting aside their razors to symbolize solidarity in the fight against cancer. Each participant made a $20 donation, with all proceeds directly benefiting the Tom Cosenzi Driving for the Cure Charity Golf Tournament, a key supporter of Dana-Farber.

Pictured: TommyCar President Carla Cosenzi and Sheriff Patrick Cahillane.

Pictured: TommyCar President Carla Cosenzi and Sheriff Patrick Cahillane.

 

Supporting Military Families

Throughout the month of November, Freedom Credit Union collected cash donations at all its branches on behalf of the Westover Galaxy Community Council to support military service members and their families at Westover Air Reserve Base (ARB) in Chicopee. A total of $2,032.83 was collected from members, staff, and the community, which Freedom matched for a total donation of $4,065.66.

Pictured: John Beaulieu (left), president of Westover Galaxy Community Council, and Glenn Welch, President and CEO of Freedom Credit Union. (Photo by Market Mentors)

Pictured: John Beaulieu (left), president of Westover Galaxy Community Council, and Glenn Welch, President and CEO of Freedom Credit Union. (Photo by Market Mentors)

 

 

A Merrier Christmas for Kids

Westfield Bank invited its customers and community members across Western Mass. and Northern Conn. to help provide new toys and books to children in local communities as part of its 2023 toy drive. From Nov. 23 through Dec. 13, all Westfield Bank branches collected new, unwrapped toys, books, and monetary donations. Each branch donated to an organization or charity local to its service area.

Pictured, from left: Mike Mirski, Matt Valliere, Stephanie Morales, Marc Massey, and Laurie Mathews at Westfield Bank’s main office.

Pictured, from left: Mike Mirski, Matt Valliere, Stephanie Morales, Marc Massey, and Laurie Mathews at Westfield Bank’s main office.

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Giving Tree

Members of the Holyoke Community College community delivered piles of donated, wrapped gifts to representatives from three local charities at the closing reception for the college’s 22nd annual Giving Tree campaign. This year, the campaign fulfilled the holiday wishes of more than 300 clients from Homework House, WestMass ElderCare, and the Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children.

Giving Tree committee members

Pictured, from left: Giving Tree committee members Laura Freeman, Mary Starzyk, Michelle Vigneault, Denise Roy, Erin O’Brien, and Lindsey Pare.

 

Rolling Along

For every set of four tires sold in the months of October and November, Balise made a donation to Junior Achievement of Western Massachusetts. As a result, Balise was able to present a donation of $4,510 to the organization to assist in its mission of inspiring and preparing young people to succeed in a global economy.

Balise was able to present a donation of $4,510 to the organization to assist in its mission of inspiring and preparing young people to succeed in a global economy

Balise was able to present a donation of $4,510 to the organization to assist in its mission of inspiring and preparing young people to succeed in a global economy

 

 

Fill the Fiat

Hampden County District Attorney Anthony Gulluni (center) visited the United Way of Pioneer Valley (UWPV) last month, bringing with him a large donation of toys. The donation from the District Attorney’s Office capped off UWPV’s annual Hope for the Holidays campaign, a holiday gift drive for children in the region. A vintage Fiat sat inside the TD Bank building in Springfield for several weeks, and donors helped “Fill the Fiat” with toys, games, trucks, dolls, sports equipment, books, puzzles, and more.

Hampden County District Attorney Anthony Gulluni (center) visited the United Way of Pioneer Valley (UWPV) last month

Hampden County District Attorney Anthony Gulluni (center) visited the United Way of Pioneer Valley (UWPV) last month

 

 

Homerun 4 the Hungry

On Dec. 11, the American International College baseball team delivered 4,000 pounds of food and $500 worth of diapers, collected through their annual Homerun 4 the Hungry food drive, to Lorraine’s Soup Kitchen in Chicopee and Square One in Springfield. The team is grateful for Springfield Symphony Orchestra for hosting a donation table at its Holiday Pops concert, and for Peter Pan Bus Lines for providing transportation for the food deliveries.

On Dec. 11, the American International College baseball team delivered 4,000 pounds of food and $500 worth of diapers

On Dec. 11, the American International College baseball team delivered 4,000 pounds of food and $500 worth of diapers

 

 

Thrilled to Donate

The Chicopee Chamber of Commerce presented a $4,011 donation to Valley Opportunity Council’s (VOC) Continuing Education & Career Center at a Dec. 6 event at Masse’s American Bistro in Chicopee. The donation was generated by the chamber’s annual Thriller 5K in October.

Pictured, from left: 5K committee member Amanda Sarrasin of Westfield Bank; Melissa White of the VOC; Greater Chicopee Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Melissa Breor, and Jeanne Almanzar, Hayley Nelson, and Dr. Nadeem Sikandar of the VOC.

Pictured, from left: 5K committee member Amanda Sarrasin of Westfield Bank; Melissa White of the VOC; Greater Chicopee Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Melissa Breor, and Jeanne Almanzar, Hayley Nelson, and Dr. Nadeem Sikandar of the VOC.

 

 

Supporting Veterans

On Veterans Day, Nov. 11, Flash Car Wash extended thanks to veterans and active service members by giving them a total of 1,067 complimentary diamond washes. This initiative, offered at all 19 Flash Car Wash locations, aimed to express gratitude for the dedication and sacrifice of those who have served their country. The promotion also resulted in a donation of $43,879 from Flash Car Wash to Veterans Inc., which assists veterans in areas such as housing, employment, and counseling.

Flash Car Wash extended thanks to veterans and active service members by giving them a total of 1,067 complimentary diamond washes

Flash Car Wash extended thanks to veterans and active service members by giving them a total of 1,067 complimentary diamond washes

 

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Elite Company

The Springfield Museums recently celebrated reaccredition by the American Alliance of Museums (AAM), the highest national recognition for museums. Only 3% of the nation’s 33,000 museums can claim this distinction.

Elite Company

Pictured, from left: state Rep. Carlos Gonzalez; U.S. Rep. Richard Neal; Springfield Museums President Kay Simpson; Cynthia Campbell, chair of the Museums’ board of trustees; Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno; and state Sen. Adam Gomez. (Photo by Ed Cohen)

 

 

Brighter Future

Springfield Technical Community College (STCC) recently donated $5,000 to Girls Inc. of the Valley, a gift that will help support the youth-development organization’s teen center renovation as part of its “Her Future, Our Future” campaign.

Girls Inc. of the Valley

Pictured: after a tour of the new Holyoke location for Girls Inc., STCC administrators, staff, and faculty, including President John Cook (second from right), join representatives from Girls Inc. of the Valley, including Dee Ward and Ruth Roy.

 

Ice Out Hunger

Florence Bank has partnered with UMass Sports Properties and the UMass Amherst hockey team to Ice Out Hunger in the Valley. Through this innovative new program, the bank will provide $9,500 in $500 grants to each of 19 food pantries across the region.

Florence Bank

Pictured: Robin Bialecki, executive director of the Easthampton Community Center, one of the 19 recipients, attends a UMass hockey game on Oct. 14 and accepts the $500 check on the ice at intermission.

Special Coverage Women of Impact 2023

BusinessWest has long recognized the contributions of women within the business community, and created the Women of Impact program in 2018 to further honor women who have the drive and ability to move the needle in their own business, are respected for accomplishments within their industries, give back to the community, and are sought as respected advisors and mentors within their field of influence.

The nine stories below demonstrate that idea many times over. They detail not only what these women do for a living, but what they’ve done with their lives — specifically, how they’ve become innovators in their fields, leaders within the community, advocates for people in need, and, most importantly, inspirations to all those around them. The class of 2023 features:

Thank You to Our Sponsors!

Presenting Sponsors

Partner Sponsor

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Wonderful Partnership

Country Bank recently announced its partnership and $20,000 in support of the Wonderfund of Massachusetts. The Wonderfund helps kids and teens served by the Department of Children and Families (DCF) to enjoy the holiday season. Donations of new, unwrapped gifts are still being accepted at any Country’s branch until Dec. 15.

Jodie Gerulaitis, vice president of Community Relations at Country Bank

Pictured, from left: Jodie Gerulaitis, vice president of Community Relations at Country Bank; Lauren Baker, former first lady of Massachusetts and founder and CEO of the Wonderfund; and Shelley Regin, senior vice president of Marketing at Country Bank.

 

 

Taking Stock of Things

Monson Savings Bank was a silver sponsor of this year’s Junior Achievement (JA) of Western Massachusetts Stock Market Competition, the largest single-day student stock-market competition in North America. The bank donated $1,500, which supported five teams of five students in the competition, as well as the overall event.

Monson Savings Bank

Pictured, from left: Tracy Alves-Lear, JA board member; Lena Buteau, vice president, Retail Branch Administration at Monson Savings Bank and JA board member; Amy Alaimo, JA of Western Massachusetts Operations manager; and Mark Laurenzano, JA board member.

 

Born to Run

Girls on the Run Western Massachusetts held its annual fall 5K on Nov. 19 at Western New England University. Girls on the Run is a positive, physical-activity-based, youth-development program that uses running games and dynamic discussions to teach life skills to girls in grades 3-8. During the 10-week program each semester, girls participate in lessons that foster confidence, build peer connections, and encourage community service while they prepare for a celebratory, end-of-season 5K event. The fall and spring 5K events draw thousands of participants and supporters.

Girls on the Run Western Massachusetts held its annual fall 5K on Nov. 19 at Western New England University

Girls on the Run Western Massachusetts held its annual fall 5K on Nov. 19 at Western New England University

 

Girls on the Run is a positive, physical-activity-based, youth-development program that uses running games and dynamic discussions to teach life skills to girls in grades 3-8.

Girls on the Run is a positive, physical-activity-based, youth-development program that uses running games and dynamic discussions to teach life skills to girls in grades 3-8.

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Super 60

The Springfield Regional Chamber’s Super 60 Luncheon drew nearly 500 attendees to the MassMutual Center on Nov. 9. This year, the traditional Revenue and Growth categories were expanded to five with the addition of Start-Up, Give Back, and Non-Profit categories.

chamber President Diana Szynal with Lenny Underwood of Upscale Socks, honored in the Start-Up category

 

Griffin, Vanessa Cofer, and Esther Hudson of Revitalize Community Development Corp., which was honored in the Non-Profit category

 

the team at Appleton Corp., honored in the Give Back category

 

keynote speaker Ashley Kohl, owner of Ohana School of Performing Arts

 

Jessica Hansen and Boomer from the Springfield Thunderbirds, honored in the Growth and Give Back categories

Jessica Hansen and Boomer from the Springfield Thunderbirds, honored in the Growth and Give Back categories

 

 

Bikes Fight Cancer

In its inaugural year, Bikes Fight Cancer raised more than $190,000 for cancer research and services by engaging cyclists to fundraise and participate in various cycling events, including the Bikes Fight Cancer Charity Ride in June. On Nov. 5, Bikes Fight Cancer donated $36,500 to the Center for Human Development’s (CHD) Cancer House of Hope, which participated in the charity ride.

Pictured. from left: Ben Craft of CHD; Avery McAvoy, Becky McAvoy, and Johnny Morin of Bikes Fight Cancer; Margaret Toomey of the Cancer House of Hope; and Meghan Morin of Bikes Fight Cancer.

Pictured. from left: Ben Craft of CHD; Avery McAvoy, Becky McAvoy, and Johnny Morin of Bikes Fight Cancer; Margaret Toomey of the Cancer House of Hope; and Meghan Morin of Bikes Fight Cancer.

 

 

Campaign Kickoff

Berkshire United Way (BUW) launched its 2023-24 campaign with a kickoff celebration on Sept. 20 at the Country Club of Pittsfield, recognizing companies and organizations that went above and beyond and individuals who raised awareness and encouraged giving.

BUW President and CEO Tom Bernard with guest speaker Natalia DeRuzzio from Volunteers in Medicine Berkshires, one of the agencies BUW supports through donor contributions

BUW President and CEO Tom Bernard with guest speaker Natalia DeRuzzio from Volunteers in Medicine Berkshires, one of the agencies BUW supports through donor contributions

 

Beverly Gans from Taconic High School is honored as Employee Campaign Coordinator of the Year

Beverly Gans from Taconic High School is honored as Employee Campaign Coordinator of the Year

 

attendees wave pom-poms during a celebratory moment. (Photo by Autumn Phoenix Photography)

attendees wave pom-poms during a celebratory moment. (Photo by Autumn Phoenix Photography)

 

Gone to the Dog

Baystate Children’s Hospital recently welcomed Isabela — Isa for short — as its first-ever facility dog, thanks to a $150,000 grant from the Dunkin’ Joy in Childhood Foundation. The golden retriever goes to work every day to provide animal-assisted therapy to pediatric patients, their families, and staff members. Facility dogs are used exclusively for clinical work; they can physically interact with patients to provide comfort and are trained to help with tasks like teaching kids how to take medication, keeping a child calm during medical intervention, and providing incentives for kids to get out of bed for a walk.

Baystate Children’s Hospital recently welcomed Isabela — Isa for short — as its first-ever facility dog

Baystate Children’s Hospital recently welcomed Isabela — Isa for short — as its first-ever facility dog

 

Honoring Service

JGS Lifecare held its 2023 annual meeting on Oct. 10. Highlights of the meeting included remarks from Robert Whitten, president of JGS Lifecare; Dr. Margaret Calkins, president of Innovative Designs in Environments for an Aging Society and recipient of the 2022 Changemaker Award from the Center for Health Design; and Adam Berman, CEO of JGS Lifecare (pictured, right, with Rudy D’Agostino, partner at Meyers Brothers Kalicka, P.C. and treasurer of JGS Lifecare, who received the Chair’s Service Award at the meeting).

Adam Berman, CEO of JGS Lifecare (pictured, right, with Rudy D’Agostino, partner at Meyers Brothers Kalicka, P.C. and treasurer of JGS Lifecare, who received the Chair’s Service Award at the meeting).

Adam Berman, CEO of JGS Lifecare (pictured, right, with Rudy D’Agostino, partner at Meyers Brothers Kalicka, P.C. and treasurer of JGS Lifecare, who received the Chair’s Service Award at the meeting).

 

Pipeline to Nursing

State officials visited Holyoke Community College (HCC) on Oct. 17 to celebrate a statewide nursing scholarship program that pays 100% of costs for community-college nursing students. Pictured: HCC nursing student Katelynn Richard, center, practices under the supervision of Instructor Dorothy Shannon as Secretary of Education Patrick Tutwiler, state Sen. Jo Comerford, and HCC President George Timmons look on. Also in attendance were Secretary of Labor and Workforce Development Lauren Jones, Commissioner of Public Health Robbie Goldstein, state Sen. Adam Gomez, state Rep. Pat Duffy, and Holyoke Mayor Joshua Garcia.

Pictured: HCC nursing student Katelynn Richard, center, practices under the supervision of Instructor Dorothy Shannon as Secretary of Education Patrick Tutwiler, state Sen. Jo Comerford, and HCC President George Timmons look on

Pictured: HCC nursing student Katelynn Richard, center, practices under the supervision of Instructor Dorothy Shannon as Secretary of Education Patrick Tutwiler, state Sen. Jo Comerford, and HCC President George Timmons look on

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Two Key Donations

 

The KeyBank Foundation recently awarded the Springfield Boys & Girls Club (SBGC) a $10,000 grant to support the club’s Brain Gain program, an after-school program designed to bolster grade-level reading skills for inner-city, at-risk youth. .

 

Pictured at top, from left: SBGC board member Aleana Laster; KeyBank Corporate Responsibility Officer Analisha Michanczyk, KeyBank Branch Manager Vanity Bryant, SBGC Director of Development Karen Natsios, KeyBank Area Retail Leader Sarah Germini, and SBGC Executive Director Vinnie Borello with students in the Brain Gain program

Pictured at top, from left: SBGC board member Aleana Laster; KeyBank Corporate Responsibility Officer Analisha Michanczyk, KeyBank Branch Manager Vanity Bryant, SBGC Director of Development Karen Natsios, KeyBank Area Retail Leader Sarah Germini, and SBGC Executive Director Vinnie Borello with students in the Brain Gain program

KeyBank also recently awarded Greater Springfield Habitat for Humanity (GSHFH) a $39,000 charitable grant during the bank’s Volunteer Build Day on Chestnut Street in Holyoke. The donation will assist Habitat’s environmental-stewardship program.

Pictured above, from left: KeyBank employees Janis Deynes, Sharia Coley, Josh Flores, Norbert Grant III, Priya Tater, Tom Morace, Jeff Guyott,  Kendle Taylor, and Tito Ramon with Habitat for Humanity Executive Director Aimee Giroux.

 

Honoring Social Responsibility

UMassFive College Federal Credit Union received the first-place Dora Maxwell Social Responsibility Community Service Award for 2023 in Massachusetts. This annual award is given out by the Cooperative Credit Union Assoc. and the Credit Union National Assoc. to honor a credit union for its social-responsibility projects within the community. UMassFive earned this award in recognition of its participation and fundraising for the UMass Cancer Walk and Run and Will Bike 4 Food.

Pictured, from left: UMassFive’s Ruth Yanka, Craig Boivin, Taylor Robbins, CEO Rich Kump, Cait Murray, Lauren Duffy, Sarissa Markowitz, Jacqui Watrous, and Robert Harrison.

Pictured, from left: UMassFive’s Ruth Yanka, Craig Boivin, Taylor Robbins, CEO Rich Kump, Cait Murray, Lauren Duffy, Sarissa Markowitz, Jacqui Watrous, and Robert Harrison.

 

 

Supporting the Community

Monson Savings Bank recently donated $1,750 to Friends of Wilbraham Recreation as part of the bank’s annual Community Giving Initiative. The community organization received this donation by obtaining enough votes by community members to place in the top 10 vote recipients of the Community Giving Initiative. The donation will support work to improve and maintain the Spec Pond recreational area and the town’s sports programs.

Pictured, from left: Mark Manolakis, Friends of Wilbraham Recreation president; Dan Moriarty, Monson Savings Bank president and CEO; and Bryan Litz, Wilbraham Parks & Recreation director.

Pictured, from left: Mark Manolakis, Friends of Wilbraham Recreation president; Dan Moriarty, Monson Savings Bank president and CEO; and Bryan Litz, Wilbraham Parks & Recreation director.

Cover Story Healthcare Heroes

Images from the Thursday, October 26 Celebration

Thank you to our presenting sponsors:

 Elms College and Baystate Health/Health New England,

and partner sponsors:

Holyoke Medical Center, Mercy Medical Center/Trinity Health, and the Elaine Marieb Center for Nursing and Engineering Innovation and the Institute for Applied Life Sciences at UMass Amherst

Overall, everyone who was nominated this year is a hero, but in the minds of our judges — the editors and management at BusinessWest — eight of these stories stood out among the others. The Healthcare Heroes for 2023 are

(click on each name to read their story):

Lifetime Achievement:

Jody O’Brien,
Urology Group of
Western New England

Health Education:

Kristina Hallett,
Bay Path University

Emerging Leader:

Ashley LeBlanc,
Mercy Medical Center

Emerging Leader:

Ellen Ingraham-Shaw,
Baystate Medical Center

Patient Care Provider:

Julie Lefer Quick,
VA of Central Western Massachusetts Healthcare System

Innovation in
Health/Wellness:

Gabriel Mokwuah
and Joel Brito,
Holyoke Medical Center

Community Health:

Cindy Senk,

Movement for All

Presenting Sponsors

Partner Sponsors

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Fore a Good Cause

 

On Oct. 2, M.L. Schmitt Inc. raised $44,000 at a charity golf tournament at Springfield Country Club in celebration of its 100th anniversary in business. The proceeds were split evenly between the Greater Holyoke YMCA and Baystate Children’s Hospital, which each received a $22,000 donation.

Mia Goreck of Baystate Children’s Hospital (center) with, from left, M.L. Schmitt’s Peter Coppez, Jean Pierre Crevier, Tucker Schmitt, and Elizabeth Coppez

 

Kathy Viens of the YMCA with Crevier (left) and Peter Coppez.

 

 

Mission Accomplished

 

As the organization celebrates its 40th anniversary, Make-A-Wish Massachusetts and Rhode Island was presented with a donation of $38,000 from Friends on a Mission, which was started by three friends — Bob Perry, Jenn Schimmel, and Walt Tomala Jr. — who wanted to bring together their networks to support good work done in their community.

Pictured, from left, at Friends on a Mission’s Party for a Purpose fundraiser on Oct. 11: George Deveney of Make-A-Wish Massachusetts and Rhode Island; Howard Cheney of Meyers Brothers Kalicka, P.C., one of the event’s hero sponsors; Tomala, Schimmel, and Perry; Mariama Sano and Amy Carroll of Make-A-Wish Massachusetts and Rhode Island; and Matt Bannister of PeoplesBank, also a hero sponsor of the party.

 

 

Cheers for Children

 

Monson Savings Bank President and CEO Dan Moriarty recently presented a $1,000 donation to Stacey Perlmutter, director of Development for Shriners Children’s New England, in support of the Cheers for Children event. Held on Oct. 20 at MGM Springfield, the event featured food, live entertainment, games, a cash bar, and a silent auction, and directly benefited Shriners Children’s New England, which provides specialty orthopedic, neuromuscular, cleft lip and palate, and urologic care exclusively to children.

Monson Savings Bank President and CEO Dan Moriarty recently presented a $1,000 donation to Stacey Perlmutter

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Open for Business

On Sept. 27, Liberty Bank cut the ribbon to its new loan production office on the 22nd floor of One Monarch Place in downtown Springfield. During the event, the Liberty Bank Foundation granted donations totaling $20,000 to three area nonprofits: the Boys & Girls Club of West Springfield (pictured below), Junior Achievement of Western Massachusetts, and the Food Bank of Western Massachusetts.

 

Open for Business

Pictured, from left: Liberty Bank Market President Tony Liberopoulos and Senior Relationship Manager Jeff Sattler, Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno, Liberty Bank President and CEO Dave Glidden, and Monarch Enterprises President Paul Picknelly.

 

Liberty Bank’s Springfield loan-production team.

Liberty Bank’s Springfield loan-production team.

 

The Boys & Girls Club of West Springfield check

The Boys & Girls Club of West Springfield check

 

 

 

Foliage and Fairytales

The 67th annual Northern Berkshire Fall Foliage Parade, presented by 1Berkshire and the city of North Adams, took place on Oct. 1. This year’s theme was “Once Upon a Time in North Berkshire,” a celebration of children’s books and fairytales. More than 90 participants took part in this annual event, and the parade was attended by thousands of spectators. Very Good Properties won the Harry S. Orr Award for best overall float for “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.”

The 67th annual Northern Berkshire Fall Foliage Parade

The 67th annual Northern Berkshire Fall Foliage Parade

 

 

Neighbors Helping Neighbors

North Brookfield Savings Bank is holding a food drive and fundraiser from Oct. 1 through Oct. 31 to help local families in need. For every item collected, the bank will contribute $1, for a total of up to $3,000, to help fund the pantries’ operations. The bank’s goal is to collect at least 3,500 items in total, but it will also contribute monetarily. Community members are encouraged to drop off non-perishable food items, paper goods, toiletries, or monetary donations at any of the bank’s branches in North Brookfield, East Brookfield, West Brookfield, Ware, Belchertown, or Three Rivers.

North Brookfield Savings Bank is holding a food drive and fundraiser from Oct. 1 through Oct. 31

North Brookfield Savings Bank is holding a food drive and fundraiser from Oct. 1 through Oct. 31

 

 

Marketing, Management, and Mascots

On Sep. 20, undergraduate students from the American International College marketing and sport and recreation management programs met Wally, Tessie, and other New England professional sports mascots at the Take the Lead Boston Career Summit held at Fenway Park. The students engaged and networked with leaders from the Patriots, Bruins, Red Sox, Celtics, and Revolution, gaining insight from these industry leaders on fostering equity and inclusivity within the world of sports.

Undergraduate students from the American International College

Undergraduate students from the American International College marketing and sport and recreation management programs at the Take the Lead Boston Career Summit held at Fenway Park

 

 

Stuff the Bus

Following weeks of sorting donated school supplies and working with volunteers to pack hundreds of colorful backpacks, delivery day finally arrived on Aug. 22 for the United Way of Pioneer Valley’s Stuff the Bus program. With the Peter Pan bus fully packed, United Way staff and volunteers climbed aboard and trekked through 10 school districts to drop off more than 600 backpacks for students experiencing homelessness. School supplies and monetary donations are accepted throughout throughout the year. More information can be found at uwpv.org, and donations can be made at uwpv.org/donate.

With the Peter Pan bus fully packed, United Way staff and volunteers climbed aboard and trekked through 10 school districts to drop off more than 600 backpacks for students experiencing homelessness

With the Peter Pan bus fully packed, United Way staff and volunteers climbed aboard and trekked through 10 school districts to drop off more than 600 backpacks for students experiencing homelessness

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Warm Welcome

Holyoke Community College (HCC) President George Timmons received a warm community welcome during a reception on Sept. 12 at Gary Rome Hyundai in Holyoke. It was the first public reception for Timmons, who began his tenure as HCC’s fifth president on July 13. The reception included the presentation of a $5,000 check from the dealership to the HCC Foundation to benefit the college’s Thrive Student Resource Center.

 

Gary Rome (right) presents the check to Timmons (center) and HCC Vice President of Institutional Advancement Amanda Sbriscia (left).

Gary Rome (right) presents the check to Timmons (center) and HCC Vice President of Institutional Advancement Amanda Sbriscia (left).

 

Timmons shakes hands with Robert Gilbert, chair of the HCC board of trustees.

Timmons shakes hands with Robert Gilbert, chair of the HCC board of trustees.

 

Collaborative Effort

TommyCar Collision Center announced a collaboration with Hampshire County TRIAD seniors and law enforcement to provide a customized Jeep Wrangler for the organization’s community-outreach efforts. TRIAD is dedicated to improving quality of life for seniors in Hampshire County by fostering collaboration between law-enforcement agencies and senior organizations. TommyCar Collision Center performed bodywork and applied graphics to transform the Jeep Wrangler into a visually striking vehicle that embodies the TRIAD mission.

Pictured, from left: Hampshire County Sheriff Patrick Cahillane, Carla Cosenzi and Brice Herrick of TommyCar Collision, and Deputy Dave Fenton of the Hampshire County Sheriff’s Office.

Pictured, from left: Hampshire County Sheriff Patrick Cahillane, Carla Cosenzi and Brice Herrick of TommyCar Collision, and Deputy Dave Fenton of the Hampshire County Sheriff’s Office.

 

What’s on Tap

More than 70 Franklin County business and nonprofit leaders gathered at Cameron’s Winery and the Back Room Brewing Company in Northfield on Sept. 14 network and celebrate the unveiling of the winery’s new outdoor beer and wine gardens. Owned by Leslie and Paul Cameron (pictured, center, with Jessye Deane, executive director of the Franklin County Chamber of Commerce & Regional Tourism Council), Cameron’s Winery and the Back Room Brewing Company features nine families of wine, beer, hard cider, and a charcuterie and cheese shop.

Leslie and Paul Cameron (pictured, center, with Jessye Deane, executive director of the Franklin County Chamber of Commerce & Regional Tourism Council),

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Pulling Up to a New Home

 

Last week, Balise Auto Group detailed plans to move its corporate headquarters from West Springfield to the third floor of the TD Bank building at 1441 Main St. in Springfield. The move is expected to bring more than 50 jobs to downtown Springfield at first, with more to come.

Pictured, from left: Balise Auto Group President Jeb Balise, Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno, Balise Auto Group Chief Operating Officer Ben Sullivan, and Jack Dill, president and CEO of Colebrook Realty Services, which owns the TD Bank tower.

Pictured, from left: Balise Auto Group President Jeb Balise, Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno, Balise Auto Group Chief Operating Officer Ben Sullivan, and Jack Dill, president and CEO of Colebrook Realty Services, which owns the TD Bank tower.

 

Community Support

 

Last month, Monson Savings Bank made a $1,000 donation to Springfield’s Hispanic-American Library in support of its newly established event, the New England Latino Festival, which took place at Riverfront Park in Springfield on Aug. 25-26. The first-time festival celebrated New England’s vibrant Latino community through food, music, and more, bringing together thousands of individuals from diverse cultural backgrounds.

Pictured: Monson Savings Bank President and CEO Dan Moriarty (left) and Hispanic-American Library Executive Director Juan Falcon.

Pictured: Monson Savings Bank President and CEO Dan Moriarty (left) and Hispanic-American Library Executive Director Juan Falcon.

 

Helping to Meet a Need

 

J. Jay Anderson (left), president and CEO of Pittsfield Cooperative Bank, recently presented a $1,000 donation from the bank to the People’s Pantry in Great Barrington. The People’s Pantry, located at Saint James Place, is a local nonprofit offering locally sourced food and other resources to clients experiencing food insecurity. “We are extremely grateful and appreciative,” said Beth Moser (second from left), president of the People’s Pantry. “We rely on our donors’ generous support to help reduce food-supply costs so that we can keep serving our community.”

J. Jay Anderson (left), president and CEO of Pittsfield Cooperative Bank, recently presented a $1,000 donation from the bank to the People’s Pantry in Great Barrington

J. Jay Anderson (left), president and CEO of Pittsfield Cooperative Bank, recently presented a $1,000 donation from the bank to the People’s Pantry in Great Barrington

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Patriot Awards

Four providers from the Emergency Department (ED) at Mercy Medical Center were recognized for providing medical care to visitors at the 2023 International Air Show at Barnes Air National Guard Base in Westfield. Dr. Matthew Cauchon, EMS medical director and associate director of Emergency Medicine at Mercy; along with Jillian Hevey, PA-C; Erica Nader, PA-C; and Mike Stevens, PA-C (not pictured), were given ESGR (Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve) Patriot Awards by Earl Bonett, ESGR area chair.

Patriot Awards

Pictured, from left: Air Force Lt. Col. Patrick LaFond, Mercy Director of Emergency Services Kelly Chevalier, Hevey, Cauchon, Nader, Mercy ED Nurse Manager Lisa Tyndall, Bonett, and Air Force Lt. Col. Peter Carr.

 

 

Fore a Good Cause

Feed the Kids raised $75,000 through its sixth annual online auction and golf tournament, held on Aug. 7 at Springfield Country Club, bringing the six-year total raised to more than $370,000. Proceeds benefit local organizations that work to ensure children do not go hungry, including Square One, the Holyoke School Backpack Program, Pioneer Valley Powerpacks, and No Kid Hungry. For the first time in the event’s history, a golfer achieved a hole in one.

Fore a Good Cause

Scott Trevethan (pictured) scored an ace on the ninth hole, winning a vacation from Curry Honda. (Photo by Jonathan Polep-Saffer)

 

 

Building a Reputation

Carr Hardware in Pittsfield was honored with the industry’s Retailer Beacon Award during the Hardware Conference Awards banquet on Aug. 18 in Marco Island, Fla. The hardware industry recognizes the best independent home-improvement retailers with the Beacon Awards. Carr was one of two Beacon Award winners across the U.S. this year, along with RP Lumber, which operates seven stores in five states.

Building a Reputation

Carr, led by President Bart Raser (pictured, second from left) was chosen based on its highly rated customer service, innovative marketing, and a strong commitment to the communities it serves.

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Matching Grant

bankESB is supporting an effort by the Amherst Hurricanes Athletics Boosters to replace and reorient a condemned 23-year-old track and field with an eight-lane track and year-round playing fields. Parents, families, and community members will be able to purchase a seat or row in the new stands that will receive a named plaque, and bankESB will match donations dollar for dollar up to $25,000.

Driving Hope

Pictured: bankESB Assistant Vice President and Amherst Branch Officer Jessica West and Senior Vice President of Retail Banking Gary Turku (far right) with members of the board of the Amherst Hurricanes Athletic Boosters. Photo by Sophia Lynne Photography.

 

 

Driving Hope

Hyundai Hope donated $15,000 to Baystate Health Foundation (pictured). It also donated $10,000 to the Food Bank of Western Massachusetts and $5,000 to the Thrive Center of Holyoke Community College (HCC), two local food sources combating food insecurity in the Greater Holyoke area. All donations were made as part of the car-seat safety event held at Gary Rome Hyundai on July 30.

Baystate Health Foundation

Baystate Health Foundation

 

 

Pathway to College

Springfield K-9 Officer Tom Horne and his K-9 partner, Alcatraz, recently demonstrated obedience training on the campus of American International College (AIC). The presentation, designed to showcase a potential career path for those interested in a degree in criminal justice, was part of an on-campus experience for visiting students and teachers from Duggan Academy in Springfield. Starting this fall, the AIC Pathway to College Program will provide Duggan’s high-school students with credit-bearing college classes.

Pathway to College

Springfield K-9 Officer Tom Horne and his K-9 partner, Alcatraz, recently demonstrated obedience training on the campus of American International College

 

 

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Helping Students Achieve

Junior Achievement of Western Massachusetts (JAWM) recently received a $10,000 donation from the Joseph & Anna C. Dias Jr. Family Foundation, in partnership with LUSO Federal Credit Union, to fund age-appropriate financial-literacy programs for students in Ludlow. JAWM programs are offered at no cost to schools and community groups throughout the four counties of Western Mass.

Pictured: Joseph & Anna C. Dias Jr. Family Foundation trustee Maria Gomes (far right) presents the $10,000 check to JAWM President Jennifer Connolly (second from right) alongside a group of LUSO employees.

Pictured: Joseph & Anna C. Dias Jr. Family Foundation trustee Maria Gomes (far right) presents the $10,000 check to JAWM President Jennifer Connolly (second from right) alongside a group of LUSO employees.

 

 

Community Support

MONSON — Monson Savings Bank President and CEO Dan Moriarty recently presented a $2,250 donation to Stacey Perlmutter, director of Development for Shriners Children’s New England. The donation was made as a part of the 2023 Monson Savings Bank Community Giving Initiative, in which the public was given the opportunity to cast their votes to support their favorite local charitable organizations. Shriners Children’s New England is a local clinic providing specialty orthopedic, neuromuscular, cleft lip and palate, and urologic care exclusively to children.

Monson Savings Bank President and CEO Dan Moriarty recently presented a $2,250 donation to Stacey Perlmutter, director of Development for Shriners Children’s New England

Monson Savings Bank President and CEO Dan Moriarty recently presented a $2,250 donation to Stacey Perlmutter, director of Development for Shriners Children’s New England

 

Having a Ball

bankESB recently awarded $5,000 to the Belchertown Pickleball Community and the Belchertown Orioles Athletic Assoc. to support the initiative of building two new community pickleball courts at 59 State St. in Belchertown. The Belchertown Pickleball Community ​is a volunteer-run, not-for-profit organization created to better the pickleball experience in Belchertown.

Pictured, from left: Debbie Wood, Belchertown Pickleball Community leadership committee; David Gadouas, Alicia Austin, Gary Turku, and Andrew Inglot, bankESB; and Larry Davis, Belchertown Pickleball Community leadership committee.

Pictured, from left: Debbie Wood, Belchertown Pickleball Community leadership committee; David Gadouas, Alicia Austin, Gary Turku, and Andrew Inglot, bankESB; and Larry Davis, Belchertown Pickleball Community leadership committee.

 

Celebrating Success

Executives from Hyundai Motor America visited Gary Rome Hyundai on July 27 to present several awards, including the 2022 Hyundai Board of Excellence Award and the Global Dealer Award. Pictured on top: from left, Bob Kim, Hyundai’s vice president of National Sales, presents the Global Dealer Award to Gary Rome, president and CEO of Gary Rome Auto Group, and Kevin Schechterle, general manager of Gary Rome Hyundai. Pictured below: the team at Gary Rome Hyundai and visiting Hyundai executives celebrate the awards.

from left, Bob Kim, Hyundai’s vice president of National Sales, presents the Global Dealer Award to Gary Rome, president and CEO of Gary Rome Auto Group, and Kevin Schechterle, general manager of Gary Rome Hyundai

From left, Bob Kim, Hyundai’s vice president of National Sales, presents the Global Dealer Award to Gary Rome, president and CEO of Gary Rome Auto Group, and Kevin Schechterle, general manager of Gary Rome Hyundai

 

the team at Gary Rome Hyundai and visiting Hyundai executives celebrate the awards.

The team at Gary Rome Hyundai and visiting Hyundai executives celebrate the awards.

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Planting Seeds

Greenfield Cooperative Bank (GCB) recently announced a $25,000 donation to the Franklin County Community Development Corp. (FCCDC). GCB President and CEO Tony Worden called the donation “a way of expressing our gratitude and appreciation for their work, and our commitment to the local economy and community.” FCCDC Executive Director John Waite said the funds will be directed to giving all types of businesses, at all stages, assistance and resources to start or grow their ventures.

Pictured, from left: FCCDC Communications Director Kate Lawless, Waite, and Worden.

Pictured, from left: FCCDC Communications Director Kate Lawless, Waite, and Worden.

 

 

Inspiring Artwork

On June 29, Baystate Health dedicated a massive mosaic to its employees across the health system as a recognition of their courage and compassion during the COVID-19 pandemic. Made of hand-carved sculptural tiles by New England artist Natalie Blake, the artwork hangs in the Daly Lobby of Baystate Medical Center. The mosaic incorporates the seven chakras, or energy centers, of the human body and uses the earth’s elements to draw parallels between the chakras and the many teams that collaborate to deliver care. A smaller rendering of “Seven Chakra Earth Mandala” will be installed at other Baystate Health sites.

Jennifer Faulkner, Baystate’s vice president of Team Member Experience and Talent Management, led the ceremony.

Jennifer Faulkner, Baystate’s vice president of Team Member Experience and Talent Management, led the ceremony.

 

Common Knowledge

Located in the heart of downtown Greenfield, a newly installed business directory and community-information kiosk will serve as a year-round hub for Greenfield residents and visitors to discover the breadth of businesses, restaurants, and events featured throughout the city. The kiosk debuted on June 23, at the Greenfield City Common. The kiosk project was initiated last year when the city received a $47,500 grant from the Western Massachusetts Economic Development Council.

business directory and community-information kiosk

Located in the heart of downtown Greenfield, a newly installed business directory and community-information kiosk

 

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Hooplandia Scores Big

The inaugural edition of Hooplandia saw thousands of basketball enthusiasts of all ages tip off on dozens of courts at the Eastern States Exposition — with featured games at the Basketball Hall of Fame — on June 23-25. The Northeast’s premier 3-on-3 tournament featured a visit from local legend Rebecca Lobo (top right); plenty of food, entertainment, and fun activities; and, of course, the tournament games, after which the champions in each division (like the girls team from Enfield pictured above) celebrated their victory. Pictured at right: Gene Cassidy (left), president and CEO of the Eastern States Exposition, shares a moment during the festivities with Hampden County Sheriff Nick Cocchi.

 

local legend Rebecca Lobo

The Northeast’s premier 3-on-3 tournament featured a visit from local legend Rebecca Lobo

 

The girls team from Enfield

 

Gene Cassidy (left), president and CEO of the Eastern States Exposition with Hampden County Sheriff Nick Cocchi.

Gene Cassidy (left), president and CEO of the Eastern States Exposition, shares a moment during the festivities with Hampden County Sheriff Nick Cocchi.

 

 

Executive Leadership Breakfast

 

Lt. Gov. Kim Driscoll was the keynote speaker at the college’s sixth annual Executive Leadership Breakfast on June 27. More than 150 people attended the event and heard Driscoll speak about the administration’s vision for the Commonwealth and for Western Mass. “Governor Healey and I are committed to making Massachusetts more affordable, competitive, and equitable,” Driscoll said. “Together, we will move Massachusetts forward and deliver results for every region of our state, including Western Mass.”

Lt. Gov. Kim Driscoll pictured with Elms College President Harry Dumay

Lt. Gov. Kim Driscoll pictured with Elms College President Harry Dumay

 

Running with a Purpose

Girls on the Run Western Massachusetts held its annual spring 5K on June 3 at Western New England University. More than 1,000 girls participated in the event, along with their families, coaches, running buddies, and community members. Girls on the Run is a positive, physical-activity-based, youth-development program that uses running games and dynamic discussions to teach life skills to girls grades 3-8. During two 10-week programs each year, girls participate in lessons that foster confidence, build peer connections, and encourage community service while they prepare for an end-of-season, celebratory 5K event.

Girls on the Run Western Massachusetts

Girls on the Run Western Massachusetts

 

Commemorating Juneteenth

Juneteenth was recognized in numerous ways around Western Mass. this year.  (Photos by Old Sturbridge Village and Silver Photography)

Old Sturbridge Village presented activities

Old Sturbridge Village presented activities geared toward helping visitors better understand the day’s significance, including musical and poetry performances, an “Uncomfortable Truths” walking tour, storytelling, soul food, and more.

 

Juneteenth Concert Celebrating Freedom

The Springfield community came together for a flag raising at Court Square and then filled Symphony Hall to enjoy the first annual Juneteenth Concert Celebrating Freedom, featuring guest conductor Kevin Scott, Avery Sharpe and his quartet, the Extended Family Choir, the Springfield Symphony Orchestra Chorus, and the orchestra’s musicians

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Back to School

Community leaders, educators, architects, and stakeholders recently gathered to celebrate the groundbreaking ceremony for the new Franklin Avenue Elementary School in Westfield. The event marked the official start of construction for this state-of-the-art educational facility.

Pictured, from left: Michael Delvecchio and Daniel Pallotta, project managers at P3 Inc.; Bert Gardner, vice president of Caolo & Bieniek Architects; David Fontaine, CEO of Fontaine Bros. Inc.; and Caolo & Bieniek President Curtis Edgin and Vice President James Hanifan.

 

 

Max on Monday

More than 200 people were on hand for the third monthly Max on Monday event, hosted by Max Tavern on June 5 at the Basketball Hall of Fame. Each month introduces several featured companies and one nonprofit for cocktails, connections, and complimentary hors d’oeuvres with the goal of reconnecting businesses and community. This month’s featured companies were Liberty Bank; the Dowd Agencies; Burgess, Robb & Grassetti; and Bacon Wilson.

Pictured, from left: Amanda Moulton of Naples Realty, Bob Borawski of Borawski Insurance, and Joe Premont of Liberty Bank.

 

Local Impact

Living Local 413, a nonprofit business community organization dedicated to helping the Western Mass. business community become stronger and more self-sustaining, hosted its first annual meeting on May 31 at Center Square Grill in East Longmeadow. The event introduced Robert Barkett as the newly appointed executive director and featured a ceremonial presentation to thank state Rep. Brian Ashe for securing a $100,000 grant for Living Local 413.

Pictured, from left: Barkett, Ashe, and Living Local 413 President Bill Cole.

 

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Supporting the Arts

Monson Savings Bank recently made a $4,000 donation to the Monson Arts Council in support of the local arts. “The Monson Arts Council does so much to bring the town of Monson and the surrounding communities together through the arts,” Monson Savings Bank President and CEO Dan Moriarty said. “As a lifelong resident of Monson, I am always so impressed by the events and workshops the council puts together.”

Pictured: Moriarty (right) presents the $4,000 donation to Susan James and David Dupuis of the Monson Arts Council.

Pictured: Moriarty (right) presents the $4,000 donation to Susan James and David Dupuis of the Monson Arts Council.

 

Learning and Growing

The West Springfield Boys & Girls Club announced to renovations have been completed for its Little Futures Preschool classrooms at its Main Street facility. The new classrooms are the result of a collaborative effort between the club’s early-childhood education professionals and Caolo & Bieniek Architects. The goal was to create a stimulating and nurturing environment for young children to learn, grow, and thrive. The project was partial funded through the Massachusetts Community Development Block Grant program administered by the Town of West Springfield.

West Springfield Boys & Girls Club Little Futures Preschool classroom

West Springfield Boys & Girls Club Little Futures Preschool classroom

 

Raise a Glass

Glendale Ridge Vineyard recently hosted about 30 wine enthusiasts for the latest event in its Vintner’s Tasting Series: Pétillant Naturel. Because every bottle tells a story, the tasting included an educational presentation by vintner Tim Beaudry, whose wine career has taken him to New Zealand, Napa, and Bordeaux, France. He shared his expertise, discussing how the wines taste as well as the story behind the four different styles of Pétillant Naturel and why he paired specific small bites with each of the wines.

tasting included an educational presentation by vintner Tim Beaudry

Glendale Ridge Vineyard wine tasting included an educational presentation by vintner Tim Beaudry

 

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Royal Sendoff

Students, faculty, staff, alumni, trustees, elected officials, and community members gathered at Holyoke Community College on May 3 to celebrate the leadership and legacy of retiring President Christina Royal. Among those in attendance was Holyoke Mayor Joshua Garcia (pictured below right with Royal), who delivered a proclamation recognizing her service to the city. Royal’s last day at HCC will be July 14. George Timmons will begin his service as HCC’s fifth president in June.

Holyoke Mayor Joshua Garcia with Royal

Holyoke Mayor Joshua Garcia with Royal

 

from left) state Sen. John Velis, Holyoke Director of Planning and Economic Development Aaron Vega, and state Rep. Pat Duffy.

from left) state Sen. John Velis, Holyoke Director of Planning and Economic Development Aaron Vega, and state Rep. Pat Duffy.

 

 

Kentucky Derby Party

On May 5, the Armory at MGM Springfield was the setting for hats, horses, and hors d’oeuvres to celebrate the 149th Kentucky Derby. The annual fundraiser for Square One was presented by lead sponsors PeoplesBank, USI Insurance, Alekman DiTusa, Baystate Health/Health New England, and Meridian Industrial Group. (Photos by Chris Marion Photography)

From left, Jenny MacKay of USI Insurance Services and Rob DiTusa and Ryan Alekman of Alekman DiTusa

From left, Jenny MacKay of USI Insurance Services and Rob DiTusa and Ryan Alekman of Alekman DiTusa

 

Jennifer Yergeau of PeoplesBank (left) with Kristine Allard, Square One’s vice president of Development & Communication

Jennifer Yergeau of PeoplesBank (left) with Kristine Allard, Square One’s vice president of Development & Communication

 

 

Exciting Chapter

On May 4, Link to Libraries hosted its signature biennial fundraising event at the Basketball Hall of Fame. In addition to raising $109,000, this year’s celebration marked a huge milestone for the nonprofit: the donation of its 1 millionth book to a child and school in need.

Susan Jaye-Kaplan, co-founder of Link to Libraries

Susan Jaye-Kaplan, co-founder of Link to Libraries, presents the millionth book to Mary Fitzgerald, librarian from Springfield’s Warner School, which was the first school to receive books from Link to Libraries when it was founded in 2008

 

U.S. Rep. Richard Neal with Laurie Flynn

U.S. Rep. Richard Neal with Laurie Flynn, president and CEO of Link to Libraries

 

 

Dealer of the Year

On May 4, Gary Rome Hyundai hosted the TIME Dealer of the Year Celebration, a reception honoring the company, which TIME magazine chose from a field of more than 16,000 dealerships nationwide. (Photos by Ivy Pohl)

Gary Rome (center)

Gary Rome (center) with Gary Gilchrist, vice chairman of the National Automobile Dealers Assoc., Jeff Jenkins and Keith Cail of Ally, Robert O’Koniewski of the Massachusetts State Auto Dealers Assoc., and, of course, Daisy

 

Rome greets (from left) Sister Mary Caritas SP, Hampden County Sheriff Nick Cocchi, and his Chief of Staff Jon D’Angelo

Rome greets (from left) Sister Mary Caritas SP, Hampden County Sheriff Nick Cocchi, and his Chief of Staff Jon D’Angelo

 

 

 

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Spirit of Girls

Girls Inc. of the Valley’s annual signature event on April 28 exceeded its fundraising goal of $100,000, thanks to the support from corporate sponsors, including lead sponsor PeoplesBank, and generous individual donors. About 400 people attended “Spirit of Girls: Hall of Fame,” where they heard from current students, alumni, and parent speakers about the impact Girls Inc. programs have had on them. More than 50 volunteers worked to make this event happen. Funds raised directly support free summer programming for youth in Holyoke, Springfield, Chicopee, and beyond.

Girls Inc. of the Valley’s annual signature event on April 28

Girls Inc. of the Valley’s annual signature event on April 28

 

 

Seamless Transition

Maria Toyoda (left), provost and senior vice president of Academic Affairs Western New England University (WNE), and Holyoke Community College (HCC) President Christina Royal recently signed a joint admissions agreement intended to strengthen existing academic and student-support partnerships and facilitate an easier transfer pathway for eligible HCC students to attend WNE after they complete their associate degrees and meet other conditions. Students who satisfy the requirements are eligible for several benefits, including guaranteed acceptance and junior status at WNE.

Maria Toyoda (left), provost and senior vice president of Academic Affairs Western New England University (WNE), and Holyoke Community College (HCC) President Christina Royal recently signed a joint admissions

Maria Toyoda (left), provost and senior vice president of Academic Affairs Western New England University (WNE), and Holyoke Community College (HCC) President Christina Royal recently signed a joint admissions

 

 

Reading and Talking

Throughout May, Mental Health Awareness Month, MiraVista Behavioral Health Center is partnering with Holyoke Public Library and Springfield’s city libraries to encourage awareness and conversations on the topic of mental wellness. Displays of books and other materials dealing with mental health are on display to promote understanding around mental health and encourage similar collaborations for libraries to become better resources on the topic.

Pictured: Jean Canosa Albano (left), assistant director for Public Services at Springfield Central Library, and Maria Pagan, director of Holyoke Public Library.

Pictured: Jean Canosa Albano (left), assistant director for Public Services at Springfield Central Library, and Maria Pagan, director of Holyoke Public Library.

 

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Future of Journalism

Bay Path’s student digital newsroom and online student publication, Network News, hosted three area media professionals during Academic Achievement Day on April 11. The discussion highlighted the state of journalism and the future of a digital world filled with artificial intelligence, social media, and new technology.

Pictured, from left: Kaylah Sheppard, Network News reporter; Janine Fondon, assistant professor and chair of Undergraduate Communications at Bay Path; George O’Brien, editor and associate publisher of BusinessWest; Julia Deridder, 2022-23 Network News editor, Rebecca Wehner, 2023-24 Network News editor; Aprell May Munford, reporter at the Republican; and Vanessa Pabón-Hernandez, senior director of Education & Community Engagement at New England Public Media.

 

 

That’s Entertainment

After being shuttered by the pandemic for more than three years, the STCC College Theater Workshop has returned to Springfield Technical Community College, which will host free performances of six 10-minute plays on Thursday, May 4 at 11 a.m., Friday, May 5 at 7 p.m.; and Saturday, May 6 at 7 p.m. at Scibelli Theater in Building 2. “Laughing for All the Wrong Reasons: A Night of Dark Comedy” is free, but donations to the STCC College Theater Workshop will be accepted.

Pictured: Lauren Tracy and Malissa Boone rehearse a scene for the upcoming production.

 

Ignite!

Bay Path University staged its 26th annual Women’s Leadership Conference (WLC) in April at the MassMutual Center. The more than 1,500 attendees at the event, which had the theme ‘Ignite,’ heard from several keynoters and could take in a number of breakout sessions.

Springfield Health and Human Services Commissioner Helen Caulton-Harris (left), Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno, and Bay Path President Sandra Doran

 

Robin Roberts, Good Morning America co-anchor, was the closing keynoter and was interviewed by Doran

 

MassMutual employee and Springfield native Victoria Ann Rodriguez was emcee for the event

 

Employees at MassMutual (a WLC sponsor) gather for a group photo at the conference

 

 

 

 

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We the Women

On March 8, International Women’s Day, Springfield Technical Community College (STCC) put a spotlight on the work of the many women leaders within the campus and community. As part of its “We the Women” series, the event featured a panel discussion with female leaders who shared their journey to success.

We the Women

Panelists included, from left, Cindy Breunig, SAFE project director at STCC; Jennifer Wallace-Johnson, assistant professor of Social Work at STCC; Annamarie Golden, director of Community Relations at Baystate Health; and Cindy Gaynor-Harper, real-estate entrepreneur and STCC alumna.

 

Booking a Visit

Dr. Michael Krupa, CEO emeritus of MiraVista Behavioral Health Center and a licensed psychologist of more than three decades, recently read to preschool children at Square One’s Tommie Johnson Child & Family Center in honor of International Read to Me Day, which is celebrated each March 19. Krupa read the Margaret Wise Brown classic Goodnight Moon. Research shows that such early interaction supports brain development around language and thinking as children hear words connected to a story and pictures in a book.

MiraVista Behavioral Health Center

Dr. Michael Krupa, CEO emeritus of MiraVista Behavioral Health Center and a licensed psychologist of more than three decades, recently read to preschool children at Square One’s Tommie Johnson Child & Family Center in honor of International Read to Me Day, which is celebrated each March 19. Krupa read the Margaret Wise Brown classic Goodnight Moon

 

 

Raising Spirits

Monson Savings Bank recently donated $2,500 to Girls Inc. of the Valley in support of its fundraising event, Spirit of Girls, which aims to raise money to provide students living in Holyoke, Springfield, Chicopee, and surrounding areas with essential summer programming at no cost to their families.

Raising Spirits

Pictured, from left: Jessica Colson, Girls Inc. of the Valley director of Development & Communications; Dan Moriarty, Monson Savings Bank president and CEO; and Ruth Roy, Girls Inc. of the Valley campaign director.

 

 

Welcome to UMass

Javier Reyes (right), the next chancellor of UMass Amherst, sat down for a press conference on April 3 with his wife, Maritza Reyes (left) and UMass President Marty Meehan. In February, the UMass board of trustees named Reyes the successor to current UMass Amherst Chancellor Kumble Subbaswamy, who will step down this spring after 11 years leading the university. Reyes currently serves as interim chancellor at the University of Illinois Chicago, and has also held administrative posts at West Virginia University and the University of Arkansas.

Javier Reyes (right), the next chancellor of UMass Amherst

Javier Reyes (right), the next chancellor of UMass Amherst

 

 

 

Legal Lunch Room

On March 30, Bacon Wilson, P.C. hosted students and faculty from Bay Path University in its first-ever Legal Lunch Room, to give an inside look at the opportunities that can come from working in a law firm. The women of Bacon Wilson who graduated from Bay Path shared how their individual journeys led each of them down a different path to the firm.

The women of Bacon Wilson who graduated from Bay Path shared how their individual journeys led each of them down a different path to the firm.

The women of Bacon Wilson who graduated from Bay Path shared how their individual journeys led each of them down a different path to the firm.

 

Ready to Protect and Serve

The 65th recruit officer candidate class of the Western Massachusetts Police Academy was saluted in a graduation ceremony held at American International College (AIC) on March 17. They marched to the music of a bagpipe into the Griswold Theater, where they were welcomed by family, friends, and fellow members of law enforcement. Among the newly minted officers was AIC Police Officer Curtis McGuire, AIC’s first-ever graduate of the academy. (Photo by Zachary Cunningham)

The 65th recruit officer candidate class of the Western Massachusetts Police Academy was saluted in a graduation ceremony held at American International College (AIC) on March 17.

The 65th recruit officer candidate class of the Western Massachusetts Police Academy was saluted in a graduation ceremony held at American International College (AIC) on March 17.

 

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Gift of Gratitude

Mercy Medical Center announced that Liberty Bank Foundation has pledged a gift of $25,000 to the fundraising effort to create the Andy Yee Palliative Care Unit. Following his cancer diagnosis, well-known restaurateur Andy Yee sought treatment at the Sister Caritas Cancer Center at Mercy Medical Center. Grateful for the care Yee received until his passing in 2021, his wife, Sarah, approached hospital leaders about creating a space dedicated to palliative care.

Gift of Gratitude

Pictured, from left: Mercy’s Geoffrey Hoyt; Liberty President and CEO David Glidden; Mercy and Trinity Health Of New England Medical Group President Deborah Bitsoli; Sister Caritas Cancer Center Director Dr. Philip Glynn; Sarah Yee and son Jamie Yee; and Liberty’s Tony Liberopoulos and Jeffrey Sattler.

 

 

Shining Stars

The Greater Chicopee Chamber opf Commerce’s signature Shining Stars Awards Gala, held March 3 at the Castle of Knights, recognized McKinstry Market Garden Inc. as Business of the Year, Holyoke Community College (HCC) as Nonprofit of the Year, Judith Corridan Danek as Citizen of the Year, and Mim Zayas as Volunteer of the Year.

Shining Stars

Pictured, back row, from left: Mike Knapik of Baystate Health; HCC President Christina Royal; Chicopee Mayor John Vieau; Bill McKinstry, Will McKinstry, and Warren McKi nstry of McKinstry Market Garden; Chicopee City Treasurer Marie Laflamme; Michelle Wirth of Mercedes-Benz of Springfield; and state Sen. Jake Oliveira. Front row, from left: Mim Zayas of Masis Staffing and Judith Corridan Danek of Health New England.

 

 

Celebrating Opportunities

 

ServiceNet recently hosted Massachusetts Secretary of the Executive Office of Health and Human Services Kate Walsh, acting Undersecretary of Human Services Dana Sullivan, and Commissioner of Disability Services Jane Ryder to its Rooster Café in Northampton. They were joined by state Sen. Jo Comerford and state Rep. Lindsay Sabadosa, among other guests. Participants in ServiceNet’s Rooster Café culinary program prepare meals and serve customers, using many ingredients from ServiceNet’s Prospect Meadow Farm in Hatfield.

Celebrating Opportunities

Pictured, from left: ServiceNet President and CEO Sue Stubbs, culinary program participant Dani Rizzo, ServiceNet Director of Vocational Services Shawn Robinson, Comerford, and Ryder.

 

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Reaching the Summit

Tonia Butler Perez

The Community College National Legislative Summit on Feb. 5-8 offered Springfield Technical Community College President John Cook and STCC trustees Jynai McDonald and Tonia Butler Perez (pictured at top left) an opportunity to speak with lawmakers about federal priorities, including reducing barriers to receive Pell Grants that help low-income students access higher education. Massachusetts featured a delegation of close to 40 people, including other community-college presidents and trustees as well as staff from the Massachusetts Assoc. of Community Colleges. Pictured at top right, from left: Cook, Butler Perez, U.S. Rep. Richard Neal, and McDonald.

 

 

Brainstorming Visit

American International College (AIC) welcomed representatives from Holyoke Community College (HCC) to its Springfield campus on March 2 to celebrate a transfer agreement they signed last summer and brainstorm ideas for future partnerships. HCC President Christina Royal and AIC President Hubert Benitez (pictured at left) and a cadre of faculty and staff from both colleges toured the AIC campus and then sat down to talk over lunch. Last June, the two colleges signed an articulation agreement to make it easier and less expensive for HCC students to transfer to AIC through the latter’s Direct Connect program.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Closer to the Goal

Last week, Girls Inc. of the Valley hosted a milestone event to provide campaign fundraising updates for its new location at 480 Hampden St. in Holyoke. Mayor Joshua Garcia, state Rep. Patricia Duffy, and (pictured, from left) campaign co-chairs Bernadette Harrigan and Cynthia Medina-Carson made remarks, and the fundraising thermometer sign was updated as the campaign has now reached 90% of its $5 million goal. PeoplesBank will be financing the project through a loan to Girls Inc. of the Valley, in addition to a tax-exempt bond from MassDevelopment. This campaign launched in 2018 with a mission to expand the physical footprint of Girls Inc. of the Valley and establish a permanent headquarters in Holyoke, allowing it to serve a larger community. 

 

 

 

 

Meeting Basic Needs

In partnership with Holyoke Community College (HCC), United Way of Pioneer Valley (UWPV) recently opened a pantry providing shelf-stable food for Holyoke residents in the Picknelly Adult and Family Education Center (PAFEC) at 206 Maple St. The PAFEC Cupboard is open on Thursdays from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. by appointment. In a geographic area with significant need for food, this pantry opened just as extra COVID-19 SNAP benefits came to an end on March 2. UWPV also operates the Chicopee Cupboard at 226 Exchange St. in Chicopee, as well as the Springfield Cupboard at 1441 Main St. in Springfield.

 

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Photos Past and Present

Holyoke’s rich industrial past, one that earned it the nickname ‘Paper City.’

Holyoke’s rich industrial past, one that earned it the nickname ‘Paper City.’

Old Holyoke Dam

Mountain Park

A view of Mountain Park, the popular amusement park that closed its doors in 1987.

 

Holyoke’s canals gave the city water power — and an identity.

Holyoke’s canals gave the city water power — and an identity.

 

City Hall has become a symbol of Holyoke.

City Hall has become a symbol of Holyoke.

 

One of the horses from the carousel

One of the horses from the carousel at Mountain Park, later moved to Heritage State Park, where it has become a popular attraction.

 

An aerial shot of Holyoke, one of its canals

An aerial shot of Holyoke, one of its canals, and one of its many distinctive mills.

 

The Massachusetts Green High Performance Computing Center

The Massachusetts Green High Performance Computing Center is part of a new era for Holyoke’s business community.

 

This mural created by the artist known as BORDALO II

This mural at 44 Clemente St., created by the artist known as BORDALO II, is part of the Beyond Walls initiative that has changed the landscape in downtown Holyoke and beyond.

 

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Continuing Support

 

bankESB and its employees recently made donations to the United Way of the Franklin & Hampshire Region. Employees pledged more than $31,000 of their own funds in support of the bank’s United Way workplace campaign. Combined with the bank’s direct contribution, the total donation was $56,714. bankESB and its employees have donated more than $640,000 to United Way organizations in Western Mass. over the last decade.

bankESB

Pictured, from left: bankESB’s Eliza Diaz and Stephanie Vincelette, the United Way’s Holly Martineau, bankESB President and CEO Matthew Sosik, and the United Way’s Anne Howland and Leighanne Sullivan.

 

 

Come Together

The Young Professional Society of Greater Springfield (YPS) kicked off the new year with its annual membership-drive networking event on Jan. 19 at Springfield Country Club. The ‘Throwback’ Third Thursday membership drive and board alumni night was hosted by former YPS board members Amie Miarecki and Alfonso Santaniello and presented by the Westfield Starfires with support from America’s Box Choice and LiftTruck Parts & Service.

(Photo by Lenny Underwood)

(Photo by Lenny Underwood)

 

 

Looking Up

As construction continues on the S. Prestley and Helen Blake Ambulatory Care Center at the Johnson Memorial Hospital campus, a topping-off ceremony was held to mark the completion of the project’s main structure with the placement of the top steel beam. The more than $40 million expansion and renovation project on the hospital’s Enfield, Conn. campus aims to create a comprehensive hub for outpatient services, including the Karen Davis Kryznowek Cancer Center, the Johnson Medical Office Building, the Nirenberg Medical Center, and the Johnson Surgery Center.

 Dr. Michael Aron

Dr. Michael Aron, orthopedic and hand surgeon, outlines the benefits of the project.

 

 

Sharing Real-world Knowledge

Massachusetts State Trooper and American International College alumnus Nicholas Maratea, who earned his MBA at AIC in 2017, recently visited campus to speak with Professor Gary Boisseau’s “Introduction to American Politics” classes regarding the Fourth Amendment, which deals with search and seizure.

(Photo by Zachary Cunningham)

(Photo by Zachary Cunningham)

 

 

Place Your Bets

On Jan. 31, the state’s first legal sports wager was placed at the BetMGM Sportsbook & Lounge at MGM Springfield by Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno, along with Boston hockey legend Ray Bourque. The BetMGM Sportsbook & Lounge features a 45-foot, LED viewing wall and four betting windows, and 18 sports-betting kiosks are located throughout the gaming area. 

Chris Kelley

Chris Kelley, president and chief operating officer for MGM Resorts’ Northeast Group, stands below one of the casino’s large screens displaying betting lines.

 

 

 

Creating Another Link

Link to Libraries (LTL) recently welcomed Weiss Consulting as the new sponsor of Lambert-Lavoie Elementary School in Chicopee. The Link to Libraries Community Book Link program establishes a three-year partnership between a business or family and a local school. Weiss’ sponsorship ensures there will be a steady stream of approximately 200 new books to Lambert-Lavoie’s library each year.

Brenda Shepard (left), Lambert-Lavoie school librarian, with Anne Weiss, owner of Weiss Consulting, and the plaque given to the company by LTL to commemorate the sponsorship.

 

Weiss and Amy Anderlonis (back right), executive vice president of Link to Libraries, meet with a group of fifth-graders.

 

United Effort

Monson Savings Bank recently announced more than $8,000 in donations to to the United Way of Pioneer Valley. Bank employees donated and pledged a total of $5,242 during an annual two-week drive, and other donations were generated through an internal bingo game, the bank’s TGIF Dress Down Program, and support of the United Way’s Chicopee Food Cupboard.

United Way’s Walter Rice, MSB President

Pictured, from left: the United Way’s Walter Rice, MSB President and CEO Dan Moriarty, MSB’s Michael Rouette, and the United Way’s Lee Drewitz and Emmanuel Reyes.

 

 

Lending a Hand

The law firm Pellegrini, Seeley, Ryan & Blakesley (PSRB) recently donated thousands of bottles of hand sanitizer to organizations focused on children. The hand sanitizer, originally provided to the firm by Just Because Inc., a food bank serving Massachusetts, was distributed locally by the law firm staff to Boys and Girls Clubs in Springfield, Westfield, Chicopee, and West Springfield along with YMCAs in Springfield and Westfield.

Pictured, from left: attorneys Earlon Seeley III, Peter Moran, Michael Cardaropoli, and Patrick McHugh.

Pictured, from left: attorneys Earlon Seeley III, Peter Moran, Michael Cardaropoli, and Patrick McHugh.

 

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Trees of Hope

Ronald McDonald House of Springfield and partnering sponsor Gary Rome Hyundai raised $175,686 through the second annual Trees of Hope event, far surpassing last year’s tally of $126,823.

 

Trees of Hope

Pictured, from left: Cathy Riley of Gary Rome Hyundai (GRH); Rosemarie Zello and Celine Hamilton Quill from Ronald McDonald House (RMH); Brianna Zemrock, Daisy Rome, and Gary Rome from GRH; RMH Executive Director Michelle D’Amore; and Dara Davignon and Brittany Zabielski from GRH.

 

 

Neighbors Helping Neighbors

The second annual Neighbors Helping Neighbors fundraising drive at bankESB collected $35,000 for 14 local food pantries. Throughout November, the bank invited customers, employees, and community members to donate at bankESB branches. All donations were matched by bankESB and the total divided equally among food pantries in Western Mass. communities the bank serves.

 

Neighbors Helping Neighbors

Pictured: bankESB Vice President and Easthampton Branch Officer Gary Turku presents a $2,500 check to Jillian Morgan of the Food Bank of Western Massachusetts.

 

New Name, Broader Mission

On Jan. 25, the Children’s Study Home rebranded as Helix Human Services. Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno and members of the community joined board members, faculty, staff, and Executive Director Will Dávila (pictured at podium) for the unveiling at the Merriam-Webster building in Springfield. The need to rebrand the agency was identified during a seven-month strategic-planning process that involved representatives of the board and staff. Now, Helix Human Services focuses on helping not only children and women, but all adults and families affected by trauma.

Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno and members of the community joined board members, faculty, staff, and Executive Director Will Dávila (pictured at podium) for the unveiling at the Merriam-Webster building in Springfield

 

New Name, Broader Mission

Executive Director Will Dávila (pictured at podium) at the unveiling of the Merriam-Webster building in Springfield

 

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No Shave November

No Shave November campaign 1

No Shave November campaign 2

No Shave November campaign 2

 

TommyCar Auto Group joined forces with the Hampshire County Sheriff’s Office and Sheriff Patrick Cahillane for their No Shave November campaign to raise awareness and funds for the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. This year, the Sheriff’s Office raised $2,440, which was matched by TommyCar Auto Group. In addition, TommyCar customers were also able to donate their TommyCar rewards points (which can be earned through vehicle servicing and spent toward a new car), adding another $3,736 for a grand total of $8,616, topping last year’s tally by $2,700.

 

 

 

Fighting Hunger

Pictured: two staff members at the Center for Access Services at STCC — Helen Angeles, assistant, and Luis Martinez, special programs coordinator — stand in the food pantry on campus known as the Ram Minimart.

Pictured: two staff members at the Center for Access Services at STCC — Helen Angeles, assistant, and Luis Martinez, special programs coordinator — stand in the food pantry on campus known as the Ram Minimart.

Springfield Technical Community College (STCC) received a $180,000 state grant to help students facing food insecurity. The Hunger Free Campus Initiative, a grant program funded through the American Rescue Plan Act, is intended to support college students who are experiencing food insecurity to reduce barriers to success.

 

 

Sparking Change

Monson Savings donation

Pictured, from left: MSB President and CEO Dan Moriarty with Girls Inc. of the Valley’s Adrienne Garcia, Marketing & Communications coordinator; Ciara Speller, board member; and Alyssa Sirani, Development coordinator.

Monson Savings Bank (MSB) recently donated $1,000 to Girls Inc. of the Valley in support of its event, Speaking Out: Sparking Change. “This event invited members of the community to network and listen to a panel of inspiring local leaders,” said Suzanne Parker, executive director of Girls Inc. of the Valley.

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Supporting Community

Monson Savings Bank recently made a $10,000 donation to the Hispanic-American Institute in Springfield, a nonprofit corporation that is committed to encouraging social, educational, and economic development in Hispanic communities in the continental U.S., Puerto Rico, and Latin America. In addition to the Springfield branch, the institute has offices and staff in Boston; Albuquerque, N.M.; and San Juan, Puerto Rico.

Pictured, from left: Dan Moriarty, Monson Savings Bank President and CEO; Veronica Garcia, CEO of Latino Marketing Agency; and John Perez, project office manager at the Hispanic-American Institute Inc.

Pictured, from left: Dan Moriarty, Monson Savings Bank President and CEO; Veronica Garcia, CEO of Latino Marketing Agency; and John Perez, project office manager at the Hispanic-American Institute Inc.

 

 

New Location, Higher Gear

On Dec. 13, Springfield Auto & Truck Equipment held a ribbon cutting at its new location at 797 Berkshire Ave. in Indian Orchard. The move represents a significant expansion from a 3,800-square-foot facility to a 12,000-square-foot building, which includes a 5,000-square-foot showroom for product displays.

Local dignitaries in attendance at the ribbon cutting included Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno, state Reps. Angelo Puppolo and Orlando Ramos, Hampden County Sheriff Nicholas Cocchi, Indian Orchard Citizen’s Council Vice President Yolanda Cancel, and Springfield Chief Development Officer Timothy Sheehan.

Local dignitaries in attendance at the ribbon cutting included Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno, state Reps. Angelo Puppolo and Orlando Ramos, Hampden County Sheriff Nicholas Cocchi, Indian Orchard Citizen’s Council Vice President Yolanda Cancel, and Springfield Chief Development Officer Timothy Sheehan.

 

 

Meeting Critical Needs

American Eagle Financial Credit Union announced $7,500 in donations to local food- and housing-assistance organizations within the credit union’s service area. The Food Bank of Western Massachusetts, Connecticut Foodshare, and Hands on Hartford each received a $2,500 donation.

Pictured: Teresa Knox, COO of American Eagle Financial Credit Union (right), presents the $2,500 donation to Jillian Morgan, director of Philanthropy at the Food Bank of Western Massachusetts.

Pictured: Teresa Knox, COO of American Eagle Financial Credit Union (right), presents the $2,500 donation to Jillian Morgan, director of Philanthropy at the Food Bank of Western Massachusetts.

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Thriller of a Gift

gift

Pictured, from left: Stacey Warren, Hampton Inn and chamber 5K committee co-chair; Kate Riley, Riley Home Realty and chamber 5K committee; Melissa Breor, Chicopee Chamber of Commerce executive director; Aida Gaouette, Lorraine’s board member; Cathy Desorcy, Lorraine’s board secretary; Kim Caisse, Lorraine’s executive director; Kenneth Fontanez, Westfield Bank and Lorraine’s board member; and Heather Leclerc, Riley Home Realty and Lorraine’s board member.

The Greater Chicopee Chamber of Commerce presented a $4,172 donation to Lorraine’s Soup Kitchen & Pantry, the result of the chamber’s 2022 Thriller 5K held at the end of October. On race day, 236 pounds of food donations were also collected for Lorraine’s.

 

 

 

Marathon Effort

Mayflower Marathon food drive

Rock 102 hosted its 29th annual Mayflower Marathon food drive to benefit Springfield’s Open Pantry

On the three days before Thanksgiving, Rock 102 hosted its 29th annual Mayflower Marathon food drive to benefit Springfield’s Open Pantry. This year, the tradition found a new home at MGM Springfield, where Bax & Nagle broadcast for 52 hours while collecting non-perishable food donations for Open Pantry. The effort filled more than three 53-foot tractor-trailer trucks and raised more than $174,000 in food and cash donations. The Springfield Thunderbirds Foundation added a donation of $10,500 in both cash and food.

 

 

Supporting Critical Work

The Massachusetts Bankers Assoc.

The Massachusetts Bankers Assoc. (MBA) recently awarded the Children’s Advocacy Center of Franklin County and North Quabbin (CAC) a $5,000 grant

The Massachusetts Bankers Assoc. (MBA) recently awarded the Children’s Advocacy Center of Franklin County and North Quabbin (CAC) a $5,000 grant, thanks to a nomination from Greenfield Cooperative Bank. The MBA Charitable Foundation awarded 52 grants, totaling $162,000, to nonprofits over eight geographic regions across the Commonwealth. Member banks were asked to nominate deserving organizations in their community. CAC Executive Director Irene Woods (center) noted that “this award will allow us to meet the mental-health needs of children that have experienced sexual abuse and have had their worlds turned upside down by trauma.”

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Marching Against Hunger

For the 13th consecutive year, Monte Belmonte, radio personality at WRSI 93.9 the River, led a 43-mile, two-day march on Nov. 21-22 to benefit the mission of the Food Bank of Western Massachusetts to feed neighbors in need. This year’s event has raised close to $500,000 and will help provide nearly 2 million meals across Western Mass. During the annual march, Belmonte, joined by supporters and civic leaders, pushes an empty shopping cart, as a metaphor for hunger, from Springfield to Greenfield while broadcasting live on WRSI to raise awareness about food insecurity, while inviting listeners to donate funds to provide emergency food assistance across Western Mass.

Marching Against Hunger

Marching Against Hunger

Marching Against Hunger2

Marching Against Hunger2

 

 

Revving Up

On Nov. 28, Balise Auto Group held a grand opening and ribbon-cutting ceremony for its new Balise Kia building at 635 Riverdale St. in West Springfield. Balise also announced a Giving Tuesday match to benefit the Boys & Girls Club of West Springfield.

West Springfield Mayor William Reichelt, flanked by Balise Auto Group owner Jeb Balise and Dan D’Angelo, executive director of the Boys & Girls Club of West Springfield, cuts the ribbon

West Springfield Mayor William Reichelt, flanked by Balise Auto Group owner Jeb Balise and Dan D’Angelo, executive director of the Boys & Girls Club of West Springfield, cuts the ribbon

the employee team at Balise Kia

the employee team at Balise Kia

 

 

Season of Giving

The Hampden County Bar Assoc. held its annual Toast to the Season on Nov. 17 at the Student Prince in Springfield. Members were asked to bring a donation to Toys for Tots, which resulted in a large donation to the Toys for Tots program. The toy donations were dropped off at Western Mass News, and cash donations were made directly to Toys for Tots. Pictured below: from left, Meaghan Murphy, Kathryn Crouss, Christopher Pierson, and Ryan O’Hara. At right: from left, Jonathan Allen, Judge Barbara Hyland, and Ellie Rosenbaum.

From left, Meaghan Murphy, Kathryn Crouss, Christopher Pierson, and Ryan O’Hara

From left, Meaghan Murphy, Kathryn Crouss, Christopher Pierson, and Ryan O’Hara

 

From left, Jonathan Allen, Judge Barbara Hyland, and Ellie Rosenbaum

From left, Jonathan Allen, Judge Barbara Hyland, and Ellie Rosenbaum

 

Picture This

Email ‘Picture This’ photos with a caption and contact information to [email protected]

 

Historic Transformation

Collins Electric Co. in Chicopee was recently recognized by the National Electrical Contractors Assoc. with a Project Excellence Award in Education in the over $1 million category for Smith College Neilson Library. The project involved 150,000 square feet with 5,000 LED, energy-efficient light fixtures; glass skylights; dimming; and window-shade controls. Strict attention was paid to controlling temperature and humidity, as well as tight security, for the library’s rare-books collection.

Collins Electric Co

Pictured, from left: Larry Eagan, president and CEO; Andrew Collins, vice president of Operations; Patrick Egan, vice president of Finance; and Mike Blaxland, project manager

 

Serving Up a Milestone

As part of its 50th-anniversary celebration, Greater Springfield Senior Services (GSSSI) recently hosted a luncheon for its staff, providers, local politicians, and community partners at the Carriage House at the Barney Estate in Springfield. The event featured speeches by Springfield Mayor Dominic Sarno and GSSSI Executive Director Jill Keough, and a letter of recognition from U.S. Rep. Richard Neal.

Greater Springfield Senior Services

Pictured, from left: state Reps. Jacob Oliviera and Carlos Gonzalez, and GSSSI’s Nilsa Cintron, Keough, and Magy Ramos.

 

 

Meeting a Growing Need

Johnson Memorial Hospital in Stafford, Conn. recently held a ribbon-cutting ceremony and blessing to celebrate the opening of the new, 15-bed Lillian “Dolly” Santilli Geriatric Wellness Pavilion, as part of efforts to expand the hospital’s array of behavioral-health services.

 

Dr. Robert Roose

Pictured: Dr. Robert Roose, chief administrative officer of Johnson Memorial Hospital and Mercy Medical Center, addresses the gathering as Stuart Rosenberg, president of Johnson Memorial Hospital, looks on.

 

Johnson Memorial Hospital administrators

Donors Diane Lerz and Larry Santilli (center) join Johnson Memorial Hospital administrators, board members, and colleagues as they prepare to cut the ribbon.

 

 

Answering the Call

Representatives from PeoplesBank recently visited the Gray House to present the agency with a donation to cover the cost of replacement doors and frames that were damaged last May during a robbery. “I take great comfort in knowing that we live in a community that truly cares,” McClintock said.

Johnson Memorial Hospital

Pictured, from left: PeoplesBank’s Jaimee Guerra, banking center assistant manager (center), and Monica Borges, banking center senior specialist (right), present Gray House Executive Director Kristen McClintock (left) with the donation.