NAUGATUCK — Naugatuck VFW Post 1946 will honor six community members and the borough this month at its annual Citizen’s Awards.
Awards will be given to a veteran, police officer, firefighter, fire police volunteer, citizen, and emergency medical technician during a ceremony Sept. 23 at the Crystal Room, 98 School St.
The event starts at 12 p.m. with a cocktail hour followed by dinner at 1 p.m. Tickets are $35 per person. For more information or tickets, call Charles Barnsley at 203-233-2318 or Jack LeBlanc at 203-231-8714.
Veteran of the Year
Stanley Borusiewicz, a U.S. Marine Corps veteran, served in Korea with the 9th Motor Transport Battalion, and received the Korean Service Ribbon and the Marine Corps Good Conduct Medal.
Borusiewicz has Gold Legacy Life Membership in the VFW Post 1946. He has served the VFW in many leadership positions, including All State Post Commander, District Commander and Department Commander.
Borusiewicz, who is a part owner of Avenue Auto Body in Naugatuck, has also held positions on numerous national committees, including vice chairman of the National Youth Education and Community Service Committee. He is a past recipient of the National Recruiter of the Year, Century Award.
EMT of the Year
Larry Santoro has been an emergency medical technician and member of the Naugatuck Ambulance Corps for over 40 years.
Santoro is a past emergency management director for Naugatuck and is a past member of the Naugatuck Volunteer Fire Department and the Naugatuck Volunteer Rescuer Squad. He also volunteered as a girls softball coach and an umpire for Union City Little League.
Fire Police of the Year
Matthew Toms served in the U.S. Army as a platoon sergeant in the mechanized infantry for 12 years, serving in various posts in the United States and Panama.
Toms joined the Naugatuck Fire Police in 1999 and became a Fire Police instructor in 2001. He has trained many Fire Police members and has served as a lieutenant and captain.
Toms helped with World Trade Center recovery efforts in New York City. He holds life memberships in VFW Post 1946 and American Legion Post 17 DAV Post 11, and is also a member of the Masons.
Police Officer of the Year
Matthew DaSilva joined the Army National Guard in 2001 and has been deployed to Afghanistan two times, receiving several commendations, including the Combat Infantry Badge.
DaSilva joined the Naugatuck Police Department in 2007. During his time with the department, he has been a school resource officer. He was promoted to training officer in 2017 and serves as the department’s quartermaster.
Throughout his career, DaSilva has been involved with youth activities and became an adviser for the Naugatuck Explorer Cadet Post. In addition, he helped the Naugatuck Board of Education to develop active shooter policies.
Firefighter of the Year
Kenneth Hanks served as a member of the Naugatuck Fire Department from 1982 until he retired in 2015 as fire chief.
During his time with the department, Hanks was chairman for the regional emergency planning committee for the Council of Governments of the Central Naugatuck Valley and the Naugatuck Emergency Management Advisory Council.
Hanks established a training program for the department, implemented procedures to improve service to the town and safety of the firefighters, developed strategic plans for fire apparatus replacement, improved labor/management relations, and has been part of the unified command team for several severe storms and power outages that affected Naugatuck. In addition, he has contributed material for two fire training manuals published by Fire Protection Publications at Oklahoma State University.
Citizen of the Year
Rev. Peola Hicks is the pastor of the Naugatuck United Methodist Church where she and the church have been helping veterans. For the past three years, Hicks and the church have hosted an appreciation service to veterans.
Hicks also established a veterans’ liaison to help with the day-to-day lives of veterans.
She has held middle management positions in major corporations, and she earned a master’s degree in divinity from The Iliff Schools of Theology in Denver, Colo. and a Doctor of Ministry Degree from Samuel DeWitt Proctor School of Theology at Virginia Union University.
The Borough of Naugatuck has been a major supporter of borough veterans and veterans organizations, including holding one of the largest Memorial Day parades in the Connecticut and beyond.
Over the years, borough administrations and burgesses have been present at various veterans events. Borough citizens have shown their support by attending various veterans events, including the parade, dinners and other fundraisers. In addition, the citizens contribute to the various Poppy drives.