By TAYLOR HARTZ
The faces of The Bristol Observer staff were certainly familiar at United Way’s 13th Annual Community Builders Reception.
Editor Mike Chaiken, reporter Lisa Capobianco and photographer Tammi Naudus were greeted with warm hugs and friendly hellos as they entered the reception, where The Bristol Observer was one of five community organizations and individuals honored Thursday evening.
The Bristol Observer received the Special Community Recognition Award for their commitment to community reporting. The award, given by United Way board member Jena Doolittle, is given only every few years and is “one that falls outside the parameters of the usual awards,” said Doolittle, specifically recognizing an outstanding organization in the community.
The Bristol Observer earned this award for “their unparalleled commitment and support of United Way and other community organizations that make significant difference in our region,” according to United Way’s description of this honor. This achievement has been demonstrated by their community involvement and willingness to help organizations like the United Way “get the word out to the public about what’s happening in our organizations, and how the public can help,” said Doolittle.
According to the reception letter signed by president and CPO of the West Central Connecticut United Way Donna Osuch, the purpose of the annual reception is to honor individuals and organizations who “Live United” throughout the year, following the United Way’s commitment to the “building blocks of a good life – education, income and health.”
Reporter Lisa Capobianco, who writes for Bristol and Plainville, said her writing focused on these building blocks and “became the lens through which my readers could better understand those three focus areas that help create a good quality of life.” Capobianco said she hopes her writing not only informs, but encourages conversation amongst readers.
On behalf of the United Way, Doolittle noted the work of writers Lisa Capobianco and Mike Letendre, editor Mike Chaiken, and photographer Tammi Naudus, citing The Observer’s small, dependable staff as a main reason their commitment to the community stands out.
“They make it a priority to feature local nonprofits, schools, and community events”
said Doolittle, applauding their coverage for always being done “in a professional and upbeat manner.”
Editor Mike Chaiken gives the reason for this in his acceptance speech.
“We’re always saying ‘sure’ at The Observer’” said Chaiken, “’We can be there.’”
Chaiken credits The Observer staff’s tendency to always agree to coverage of a local event as a major factor in their community impact.
“The people of this city tell us what they want in the paper. They send us the information they want to see in the paper. And we share it with our readers” said Chaiken.
“It takes all members of a community to create a better future by working together,” said Capobianco. This concept of cooperation and commitment demonstrates the paper’s dedicated coverage of local events, individuals and community organizations that has helped The Bristol Observer achieve the United Way goal of living united.
PHOTOS by TAYLOR HARTZ