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Spirit of Caring Awards


Northern Berkshire United Way Celebrated 1st Annual Spirit of Caring and Celebration


North Adams, MA - Northern Berkshire United Way (NBUW) held its first annual Spirit of Caring Awards & Celebration on Thursday, May 17 from 5 - 8 pm. The celebration was held at the MCLA Church Street Center and recognized three individuals in the community for their length and breadth of service to Northern Berkshire United Way, its network, and the overall Northern Berkshire community: Al Nelson, Dick Alcombright, and Christine Hoyt. The 2018 Outstanding Campaign Coordinators Award was presented to Mary-Kay Senecal and Cindy Brightly of Crane Stationery.

MountainOne was the “Platinum Sponsor” of this event and recognized for their years of continued support to NBUW.  

With over 150 guests in attendance to celebrate, Dr. James Birge, President of MCLA opened the program with a welcome before the awards ceremony.

Jason Dohaney, Board President, thanked all in attendance and the sponsors for attending the inaugural event, which will raise funds for the community.

Christa Collier, Executive Director of NBUW, opened the Awards presentation.

Christine Hoyt was presented the Spirit of the Future Award. As a former member agency executive director and community leader, “Christine was an instant choice for this award. She is not only an active and involved community member and selectperson but she understands the member agency perspective”.

Dick Alcombright was presented the Spirit of Community Award for his years of dedication as a former Northern Berkshire United Way and member agency board member. Collier stated “Dick truly cares, listens and understands the issues facing the member agencies and our community. He has been in the corner for each one of the community issues we face and we are all glad he will still represent the community in his new role at MountainOne”.

Al Nelson was presented the Al Nelson Spirit of Caring Award, an award also named after him for his years of dedicated service as former NBUW executive leadership from 1981-1996.Since his retirement he has continued to stay actively involved with NBUW projects and member agency boards as well as spearheading programs in the community such as the Friendship Center Food Pantry. Collier stated “Al is still pounding the pavement trying to help the most vulnerable people be served with dignity and respect”.

Following the awards presentation, a video produced by Keith Foreman was shown titled” Securing the Safety Net in Northern Berkshire" was shown. This video focused on NBUW’s obligation to the community to fund member agencies that provide emergency and crisis programs. In addition to providing funding to member agencies that provide health, education and financial stability programs, NBUW is committed to provide funding in the area of safety net services. In order to illustrate this work, NBUW set out to produce this video to showcase the crucial work and need for this work in the community to show the impact on agencies that support the most vulnerable in our community, from the lens of the member agency leadership.

Ellen Sutherland, NBUW board member and VP of Campaign presented the Outstanding Campaign Coordinators of the Year Award to Mary-Kay Senecal and Cindy Brightly of Crane Stationery to round out the celebration. During their time as campaign coordinators, Mary-Kay and Cindy have increased their campaign and made it fun in the process, educating their employees about what NBUW does in the community”. Sutherland explained.

As Collier stated about the event, “This is not just about what our honorees have done for our agency. This night is about celebrating what they and what we all do to improve our community. Our honorees do the work they do, without expectation of recognition, but we want to recognize that their contributions have contributed greatly to the well-being of our community”.

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