United Way to honor Andrew with annual award
NAUGATUCK — Each year, the United Way of Naugatuck and Beacon Falls honors an individual or individuals who have demonstrated outstanding support to the organization and the community with the Mary Connolly Community Caring Award.
The award is named after former United Way Executive Director Mary Connolly, who served in that position from 1989 to 1999.
Laurie Yelding, president of the United Way Board of Directors, said the organization looks for somebody who embodies the same values, commitment to community service, and community spirit as Connolly.
Yelding said Donna Andrew embodies all of those traits.
“Donna does anything she’s asked to do as far as community is concerned,” Yelding said. “She is a very giving person. She always goes above and beyond, whether it’s for the United Way or the YMCA.”
Andrew is the recipient of the United Way’s 2013 Mary Connolly Community Caring Award. She will be honored during the United Way’s 51st Annual Meeting and Celebration March 25.
“It truly is an honor to be compared to someone like Mary Connolly,” said Andrew, who is currently in her second term on the United Way board. “I met her years ago and she’s just a kind and giving person, and has done so much for community. It truly is humbling to receive this award.”
United Way Executive Director Lisa Shappy said nominations forms are sent out to citizens, agencies that work with the organization and board members.
“Donna was chosen by her peers,” Shappy said. “She’s a wonderful person. I’m excited that she will be recognized with that honor.”
During her first term on the board, Andrew served as a human resources chairman. She is currently the special events chairman.
As special events chairman, Yelding said, Andrew has brought new fundraisers to the United Way, such as bus trips to Salem, Mass. and Providence, R.I.
Andrew said she favored the bus trips in order to reach as many people as possible.
“I thought it would be a good way to get word out and draw in a different crowd of people than come to [United Way’s annual] golf outing,” Andrew said. “These events draw a diverse crowd.”
Andrew moved to the borough 29 years ago. She has been volunteering in the community since her children were old enough to go to school — including chaperoning field trips and assisting with the Girl Scouts.
After her children left the school system, Andrew’s volunteerism branched out to organizations such as the United Way and YMCA.
“Volunteering was just a way to stay connected with whatever agency I was involved with at the time,” Andrew said.
Andrew said she continues to volunteer because of all the people she has met along the way.
“I have met so many wonderful and giving people in the community, both on the [United Way] Board of Directors and in other agencies,” Andrew said. “It has just been a wonderful experience.”
Yelding said Andrew always has a smile on her face.
“She makes everything fun and makes everything better. She is the type of person that’s always smiling and you come away feeling better for having seen her,” Yelding said.
The 51st Annual Meeting and Celebration will be held March 25 at The Crystal Room, 98 School St., Naugatuck. The annual meeting begins at 5 p.m. The evening’s program starts at 6 p.m. For more information, contact the United Way at (203) 729-1564.