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United Way Honors Hometown Heroes In Danbury

Kim Morgan of the United Way, left, meets Lifetime Hero award recipient James Schmotter, the retiring President of Western Connecticut State University.
Kim Morgan of the United Way, left, meets Lifetime Hero award recipient James Schmotter, the retiring President of Western Connecticut State University. Photo Credit: Contributed

DANBURY, Conn. — United Way of Western Connecticut hosted its second annual Hometown Heroes Benefit Dinner at the Ethan Allen Hotel in Danbury on Saturday, March 7.

The sold-out event honored local businesses and community individuals who distinguished themselves through philanthropy and volunteerism and who make a difference in the lives of others.

This year’s award recipients included:

  • Corporate Philanthropy Award presented to Danbury-based Praxair Inc. in recognition of their commitment to making giving back to the community a priority for their company.
  • Corporate Volunteer Award presented to Danbury's Pitney Bowes in honor of its leadership in promoting volunteerism as a part of their corporate culture.
  • Small Business Hero Award presented to Dawn Blom of Dawn’s Pizzazz Artistic Group and Day Spa of Danbury in recognition of their leadership, commitment and generosity within the greater Danbury community.
  • Lifetime Hero Award presented to James W. Schmotter for his seven years of service on the UWWC Board and long-term presence on the Northern Fairfield County Community Council, as well as to honor his upcoming retirement after more than 10 years as president of Western Connecticut State University.

A number of individuals from within UWWC’s service area were also recognized for giving back to their local towns. These Hometown Hero honorees include: Danbury's Bill Beattie; Redding's Peggy Palmer; and Ridgefield's Valerie Jensen.

Blessing Offor, who appeared on the 2014 season of NBC’s "The Voice," was this year’s keynote speaker and performer. His inspiring story, combined with his musical talents, was a highlight of the evening.

Proceeds from this event will benefit UWWC’s work in support of ALICE families throughout Northern Fairfield County and Southern Litchfield County.

A United Way acronym, ALICE stands for Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed. These individuals and families are employed – often with more than one job – yet struggle to make ends meet. They live paycheck to paycheck and are forced to make hard choices regarding their healthcare, childcare, transportation, and housing needs.

ALICE families often earn too much to qualify for social services. UWWC provides support through financial coaching, access to food banks, and availability of early childhood literacy programs, among others.

Click here for a photo gallery from the event.

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