Club thanks community Humanitarians

By KAITLYN NAPLES
STAFF WRITER
The Bristol Boys and Girls Club and Family Center held its 28th annual Humanitarian Awards dinner to honor and thank community members and organizations for their continued support of the club.
The club is celebrating the recent $1 million donation from ESPN back in August for a new club facility to be built on West Street.
ESPN’s Senior Vice President of Communications, Rosa Gatti, received the National Award of Merit at last week’s dinner for being an advocate for the Bristol Boys and Girls Club and Family Center.
“She’s a loving, kind, spiritual person and has a genuine care about humanity,” Michael Suchopar, executive director of the Bristol Boys and Girls Club and Family Center, said about Gatti. “What she has done for the club and for ESPN, we can’t begin to measure.”
Gatti said the award wasn’t about her, but about ESPN’s support for the club.
“ESPN supports the Boys and Girls club for two reasons,” Gatti said, “to invest in our youth, and invest in the vision and smart leadership of Michael Suchopar (and the Boys and Girls Club Team)… ESPN is going to get such a great return on this investment (being in the future of youth in the community).”
Three individuals were recognized with the Humanitarian Service Award for their “dedication, sacrifice and accomplishments in humanitarian service to the community.” Suchopar said this award recognizes individuals who devote their time to make an impact on the community.
Richard O’Brien has served as a board member for the club, as well as many other organizations. He currently serves as the chair of the Connecticut Development Fund, and as a member of the board of the Central Connecticut Chambers of Commerce. He also devotes his time to not only Bristol, but other communities like Waterbury, the events program said.Michael Rivers also received the Humanitarian Service Award, for providing service to the greater Bristol community. He is senior vice president of Tracy-Driscoll Insurance and Financial Services, and has been involved in organizations like the Retired Senior Volunteer Program Advisory Council, Bristol Hospital’s Parent and Child Center, the chamber’s retain division, the economic development committee, and more.
The third recipient of the humanitarian award is William Tracy, Jr. who is a lawyer at the firm, Furey, Donovan, Tracy & Daley, P.C. Tracy is chairman of the board for the Main Street Community Foundation, and joined in 1999 and has served in several other officer positions. He is also active in the chamber of commerce, and was president of the Plymouth Chamber of Commerce, and has been a member of the Land Use and Infrastructure committee of the Bristol chamber.
Another three individuals were recipients of the PLUS Award, which recognizes women, families or civic organizations that devote their time to helping others in the community, Suchopar said.
Rosemarie Cassin dedicated much of her adult life to helping disabled individuals get better opportunities. She is a nurse and is known for her role at the Bristol Adult Resource Center (BARC) and developed the first citizen advocacy program in Connecticut in 1977 after becoming involved in the March of Dimes program, the events program said. This advocacy program matched volunteers with people living with disabilities and is a program that is still functioning today.
Patricia Laviero’s dedication to the community goes back to when she was a student at Bristol Eastern High School, where she held many leadership roles and was instrumental in many organizations, and is among many reasons she received the PLUS award. Laviero has been a director of the Bristol Boys and Girls Club, a member and past president of the Keystone Auxiliary, which supports programs at the club, and has also been instrumental in planning events for the Imagine Nation Museum and Main Street Community Foundation, Susan Sadecki, executive director for the Main Street Community Foundation, Women and Girls’ Fund, said.
The Roberts family was also chosen to receive a PLUS award, because of its Clinton S. Roberts Foundation, which has provided grants totaling $6 million to organizations in the city like the Imagine Nation Museum, the New England Carousel Museum, Bristol Historical Society, the Giamatti Little League Center, BARC, Fidelco and many more, the events program said.
The city purchased Clinton Scott Roberts’ property to build Chippens Hill Middle School, and the proceeds from the sale started the foundation.
Charles Rivard was a member of the Boys and Girls Club in 1947 at the age of 7-years-old, and has been involved in the club ever since. Rivard received the Oliver Gaudreau lifetime service award for his 47 years of contributions and dedication to the Older Members Association. Rivard has participated in every “OM Show,” and has been the guy who “lends a hand” to the facility, the program said.
The recipient of the Special Service award this year is the Bristol Lions Club, which is one of the oldest in the state. The Special Service Award is given to an organization “that provides significant resources intended to enhance the lives of others in the Greater Bristol Community,” the program said.
The Bristol Lions Club President William Waseleski said the club has raised funds to support a local, low vision clinic that operates in conjunction with Bristol Hospital. That support also spreads to labs at Yale University and the University of Connecticut Health Center. On a more local level, the Bristol Lions Club provide funds and scholarships to students from both city high schools, have provided recreation to city residents like the paddle boats at Rockwell Park, and donate to organizations like the Bristol library, BARC The Salvation Army, and more.