Banquet to honor community champions

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NAUGATUCK — The Naugatuck Exchange Club will highlight the contributions of four members of the community at its 17th annual Community Champions Banquet.

The club will recognize a citizen, firefighter, police officer and teacher at the dinner, which is March 13 at the Crystal Room, 98 School St. Cocktail hour is 5:30 p.m. and dinner will be served at 6:30 p.m. Tickets for the dinner are $40 for adults and $20 for children 12 years old and under. For more information or tickets, email Kelly Pinho at kellymannix@sbcglobal.net.

Citizen of the year

Attorney Maureen Horgan, a daughter of Irish immigrants, graduated from Notre Dame Academy in Waterbury at the age of 16, her bio states. She went on to earn Doctor of Philosophy and Juris Doctor degrees, and was admitted to the Bar of the State of Connecticut, the United States District Court for the District of Connecticut, and the United States Supreme Court.

Horgan, who has also taught at the University of New Haven, Central Connecticut State University and Post University, is known in Naugatuck as an Irish dance teacher at the Horgan Academy of Irish Dance with her sister, Irene Horgan.

The Horgans and their students share their Irish step dancing talents at community events across the state. The academy also awards scholarships to graduating high school seniors.

Firefighter of the year

William Scanlon retried from the Naugatuck Fire Department as deputy fire marshal on March 1, 2017 after a 20-year career.

Scanlon, who has a degree in business administration from Sacred Heart University and a degree in accounting from Metropolitan State College of Denver, began volunteering as a member of the Connecticut Brush Fire Crew in his early 40s, according to his bio. He then joined the Naugatuck Volunteer Rescue Squad, where he became an EMT. Scanlon was a member of the Naugatuck Volunteer Ambulance Corps, and became a certified firefighter in 1994 as a member of the Naugatuck Volunteer Fire Company. In 1997, he was hired as a fire inspector with the Naugatuck Fire Department and held the position until 2010 when he became deputy fire marshal.

Scanlon coordinated fire prevention programs for many years and initiated Naugatuck’s Connecticut Fire Prevention Program Poster Contest. He has been involved in programs at the Naugatuck Senior Center and established a Head Start reading program during his time with the department.

Scanlon is also a member of the Knights of Columbus and was a coach and treasurer with Naugatuck Youth Soccer.

Police officer of the year

Sgt. Amanda Devan began her career with the Naugatuck Police Department in 2001 after working as a correctional officer.

During her time in the patrol unit, she served as a DARE Instructor, police explorer advisor and field training officer, her bio states.

Devan graduated from Post University with a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice and earned her master’s degree in forensic psychology from Nova Southeastern University. She is a doctor of forensic psychology candidate at Walden University.

Devan was promoted to detective in 2011, investigating child exploitation and sexual assault cases. She is a member of the Internet Crimes against Children Task Force and is assigned as the task force officer to the Department of Homeland Security Human Trafficking Task Force.

Devan has received numerous awards over her career, including the life-saving award for rescuing a woman from a burning vehicle, the outstanding service award for extensive sexual assault investigations, outstanding service award for a bomb threat investigation that lead to the arrest of a suspect who was responsible for over 150 bomb threats and swatting incidents around the country, and the unit citation award for a 2012 homicide investigation. She has also been honored by Safe Haven of Greater Waterbury for outstanding service to the victims of domestic violence.

Devan serves as a board member on the Connecticut Public Broadcasting Network Community Advisory Board and for the Wellmore Behavioral Health Annual Festival of Lights.

Teacher of the year

Jodie Burns began her teaching career in 2003 in Naugatuck. Burns teaches first grade at Maple Hill Elementary School — where she’s worked the past 14 years — and has also taught at Salem Elementary School and Cross Street Intermediate School.

Over her career, Burns has taught first through third grades and coached the Naugatuck High School girls basketball team for 10 years. She is currently an assistant boys basketball coach at Waterbury Career Academy.

After graduating from Point Pleasant Borough High School in New Jersey, Burns attended Post University in Waterbury where she received a degree in sociology and played basketball. She received her master’s degree in education from the University of Bridgeport.

Burns is a team mentor and cooperating teacher, and has mentored over 10 aspiring teachers, her bio states. She also runs a voluntary after-school program called Hoops and Homework, helps coordinate fundraising activities at the school and has partnered with the Naugatuck Fire Department to hold an annual toy drive.

Outside of school, Burns has run clinics at the YMCA and oversees the Josh Ruccio Memorial Scholarship, which has awarded thousands of dollars in scholarships to Naugatuck High seniors.