YMCA dinner serves up awards 

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NAUGATUCK — The Naugatuck YMCA will honor individuals and a business for their tireless efforts to help the nonprofit organization and the community at the YMCA’s Annual Dinner this month.

The Annual Dinner is June 22 at the Crystal Room, 98 School St. A cocktail hour starts at 5:30 p.m. followed by a business meeting at 6:30 p.m., dinner and the evening’s program. The cost is $50 per person and people must RSVP by June 16. For more information or to RSVP, contact Cathie Mauritz at 203-729-9622 or cmauritz@naugatuckymca.org.

Volunteer of the Year Award

The Fredrick D. Zonino Memorial Volunteer of the Year Award is given annually to an individual whose spirit of volunteerism and unselfish efforts are devoted to the values and mission of the Naugatuck YMCA. This year’s recipient is Mary McVerry, a Naugatuck resident who retired last year after teaching 47 years at Torrington High School.

During her tenure at Torrington High, McVerry directed plays for the school’s Student Theatre and advised several classes and clubs, according to a bio provided by the YMCA. She was named the Torrington Teacher of the Year in 2002 and was one of ten semifinalists for the state Teacher of the Year award.

Locally, McVerry has volunteered her time at the Naugatuck YMCA and St. Francis of Assisi Church where she has served as an extraordinary minister of the Eucharist, a member of the Parish Council, Finance Council, Liturgy Committee and Prayer Shawl Ministry.

She has volunteered for many years as an instructor at the YMCA, first with the arthritis class and now for the Aquafit class. Her connection to the YMCA goes back to her youth when she took gymnastics class and learned to swim there, the bio states.

Unsung Hero Award

The Robert Whittemore Unsung Hero Award is given to individuals who quietly help behind the scenes to make a beneficial impact on the Naugatuck YMCA and the community at large. This year’s recipient is Barbara DeBisschop.

DeBisschop raised her son and daughter in Naugatuck after moving to the borough in 1991, according to her bio. She recently moved to Oxford.

Over the years, DeBisschop has volunteered for numerous organizations in Naugatuck, including the YMCA. She has served as a deacon, youth group leader, church fellowship chairperson and vice-moderator for the Congregational Church of Naugatuck. She has also volunteered with the Girl Scouts, Naugatuck Youth Soccer and the Naugatuck High School marching band.

Community Leader Award

The Jeffrey Witherwax Community Leadership Award recognizes local businesses and their employees for their support to the Naugatuck YMCA and the community at large. This year’s recipient is the Naugatuck-based Luso Cleaning Services.

Marcelo Martins and his father, Manuel Martins, started the business in 1990, and both live in Naugatuck. Over the years, Luso Cleaning Services has sponsored a host of Naugatuck events and quietly underwritten programs and activities that benefit the community, according to a bio provided by the YMCA.

Marcelo Martins has been involved with the YMCA since 2004 and has served as secretary, treasurer, vice president and president of the Board of Directors. He previously received the Frederick D. Zonino Memorial Volunteer Award.

Marcelo Martins has also volunteered with the United Way of Naugatuck and Beacon Falls since 1999 and has served in numerous capacities for the United Way. He has also been involved with the Naugatuck Rotary Club since 2000 and served on the American Red Cross Board of Directors from 2001 to 2003.

Employee of the Year Award

The Mary Elizabeth Mannweiler Employee of the Year Award recognizes the dedication of a YMCA employee. This year’s recipient is Lisa Bethke.

Bethke, a California native who now lives in Naugatuck, greets people at the front desk and is typically the first face people see when they walk into the YMCA.

“Lisa is sure that the members understand how valuable they are by always greeting them by name with a wonderful smile on her face,” her bio states.

Along with juggling her duties at the front desk, Bethke’s responsibilities include coordinating membership and handling membership issues.

Her bio states that Bethke’s “commitment to hard-work and ability to tackle a challenge made Lisa a perfect fit for the Naugatuck YMCA.”