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— Mayor Erin Stewart announced today the winners of the “Think Beyond Yourself” awards— an initiative designed to recognize the many unsung heroes playing a role in our community during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“These individuals have gone above and beyond during this unprecedented time,” said Mayor Stewart. “I am proud of the kind acts that these individuals have done. It is indicative of the strong community spirit we have here in New Britain.”

Winners will be recognized on the City’s website, Facebook, and will be awarded certificates and medallions.

And the winners are:

Making Masks

  • Anna and Connie Miele of Anna’s Tailoring. Anna and Connie resurrected 600 N95 masks that had worn elastics and repaired them, then gave them to the New Britain Fire Department.
  • Margaret Malinowski of Mask Force CT. Margaret has helped bring together volunteers and supplies to create thousands of masks, which have been generously donated to hospital workers, caregivers, and anyone else in need.
  • Sofia Silluzio, a retired seamstress, who sewed and donated over 800 masks to local businesses.
  • Lynda Roman. A paraprofessional at New Britain High School, Lynda took it upon herself to sew masks out of her home and delivered meals to friends and family in need.
  • Cotto family: the family organized an effort to make masks for the Police Department.

Magnificent Medical Professionals

  • The Hospital of Central Connecticut for providing daily phone calls with community leaders so that there is a coordinated effort to combat the virus and track trends.
  • Alexandra Chin of Autumn Lake Healthcare, who checked into a hotel after the facility she was working in tested positive. She continued to work away from her family seven days a week to support staff.
  • Cristina Meehan, of Liberty Integrated Behavioral Health, for donating care packages for first responders.
  • Sergio Lupo: As Director of Public Health, Sergio has helped lead the City’s efforts to combat the pandemic.
  • New Britain EMS. They have been on the frontlines of the pandemic, continuing to provide high quality care to those in need.
  • Caitlin Falla: Caitlin is a hospice nurse who has kept herself completely isolated for the past several weeks, forgoing Easter with family, visitors to her brand new house, and meeting up with friends, all to keep others safe.

Feeding Our Heroes

  • Whitsons Culinary: The food service group for the school system organized food distribution for students at seven locations, ensuring that they wouldn’t go hungry.
  • Maria King of Right Now Ministries. Maria organized outreach and transportation for food donations to pantries and Foodshare.
  • Vincent Placeres, the owner of Mofongo. Over the last several weeks, Vinny has prepared thousands of meals for front line responders, including staff at the Hospital of Central Connecticut, Cassena Care, the New Britain Police Department, New Britain EMS, and the Hospital for Special Care.
  • The owners of My Wife Didn’t Cook, who donated hundreds of meals to families in need and also partnered with Vincent Placeres of Mofongo to donate meals to frontline workers.

Guiding Our Youth

  • Mrs. Denise Raducha of Diloreto School. Mrs. Raducha used Google Classroom to send daily video messages to students and offered virtual tutoring on the side.
  • As head of the school system's Management Information Systems, Jeffrey Prokop worked hard to ensure that teachers and students had the tools they needed to continue learning from home.
  • Jennese Birritteri coordinated funding for the entire 5th grade class of Holmes Elementary School to receive a yearbook and t-shirt.

Internet Sensations

  • Dr. Lopa Shah of Charter Oak Dental. Charter Oak Dental took advantage of social media to spread awareness around COVID-19.
  • As a DJ, Greg Polski helped to keep people's spirits high by offering live DJ sets on Facebook during the week and used the platform to raise money for Mask Force CT.
  • Lynsey Saldana, who created a Facebook group to encourage others to pay it forward and bring groceries to families in need.
  • New Britain Police Department, for providing live story time on Facebook each weekday evening, as well as for their efforts to offer engaging “recess” sessions on Facebook live for children.

In the Heart of the Community

  • Nicole Cantu coordinated an effort to prepare and deliver “Hero Boxes” to all female police officers and firefighting staff.
  • Scott Hamel of Scott’s Flowers, for working with funeral directors to provide excellent service during this difficult time.
  • Krystal Tenner Nee, who was disturbed by all the garbage in store parking lots, took it upon herself to remove improperly disposed latex gloves and masks from area parking lots.
  • Captain J. Brian Meskill, who helped pre-deployed members of the Air Force get their affairs in order by making extra commutes to a base in Chicopee, Massachusetts and through Zoom.
  • Rosa Lee Hill, of Reality Outreach Inc., who provided daily care packages to those that reached out in need.
  • Amanda Glowicki: painted rocks and placed them along the path at A.W. Stanley Park to bring a smile to those passing by.
  • Office of Community Services for their efforts in staffing room 108 on the first floor of City Hall in order to help residents with constituent issues and connect them with resources.

( Press Release in PDF. )