ANSONIA - This Valley knows how to hold a great breakfast! It was never more evident than The Salvation Army’s 2nd Recognition Breakfast at Molto Bene on April 23rd. A great crowd of supporters gathered to hear Major Wilder Garcia, Greater Valley Corps Officer, welcome everyone to the event. Next up was Ansonia Advisory Board Chairman, Robert C. Van Egghen.
He introduced his fellow advisory board members to the audience and asked them to be recognized: Rob Van Egghen, Ralph and Patti Villers, and Robert Rose. Chairman Bob had the group first stand for the National Anthem and then asked them to remain standing and to bow their heads for the invocation that was delivered by The Salvation Army’s Southern New England Divisional Commander, Major Dave Champlin. Breakfast followed and everyone was eager to make it through the buffet line. The guests were taken care of quickly and came back to their tables with full plates, ready to go.
Valley United Way President and CEO Jack Walsh served as Master of Ceremonies. Jack is a familiar name and face to residents of the Valley. As the program booklet noted, "Hardly can an endeavor to help the valley be undertaken, that Jack is not part of." Jack then introduced another familiar face, former TEAM, Inc. President and CEO, Richard Knoll, who was the featured speaker. Richard is enjoying his first year of retirement from being TEAM’s longest-serving president. A Valley native, he is very familiar with the needs of people in the surrounding community. He shared his vision of how working together, we can make things happen to help everyone succeed, and he thanked The Salvation Army for all they do to also help in the community.
The awards portion of the program followed. Majors Champlin and Garcia and Chairman Bob Van Egghen were joined at the podium by Connecticut State Senator Kevin Kelly to present the awards. Senator Kelly had individual proclamations from the State, further recognizing the accomplishments of the award winners.
The "Faithful Soldier Award," presented to an individual who has contributed their time and talents unselfishly throughout the year, went to Barbara Casegrande. The second award, "Friends of The Army," went to Harry Burlakoff, from Minuteman Press – for an organization or group that has extended its “hands in friendship” to The Salvation Army by promoting the Army with resources and contacts. Lastly, the "Doing The Most Good Award" was presented to T.E.A.M. Inc. for an organization, group, or individual that has contributed significantly to the expansion of programs, services, or resources of The Salvation Army.
Major Dora Garcia congratulated all of the award winners, thanked the members of the advisory board for their efforts, thanked everyone for coming, and then gave the closing Benediction. The crowd then dispersed, with everyone eager to attend again next year.