Borough residents honored: Mayor praises McCormack and McSherry

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United Way of Naugatuck and Beacon Falls 2020 and 2021 Mary Connolly Community Caring Award recipients John McCormack (left) and Kevin McSherry at The Crystal Room on Thursday, March 31. Andreas Yilma Citizen’s News

By Andreas Yilma Citizen’s News

NAUGATUCK — Two members of the community, Kevin H. McSherry and John McCormack, were honored for their support to the borough.

United Way of Naugatuck and Beacon Falls honored McSherry and McCormack with the Mary Connolly Community Caring Award for 2020 and 2021, respectively. The award is presented annually to recognize an individual that has demonstrated outstanding support to United Way and the entire community and who has set the standard for service to the community.

The awards dinner ceremony was held for the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic occurred. About 125 people filled The Crystal Room on School Street on Thursday, March 31 evening.

Coleen Grommisch, the 2019 award recipient, said the award couldn’t go to anyone better than McSherry.

McSherry said many people grew up in a transition in the borough where they were taken care of by big corporations but then the next generation of people stepped up on behalf of the community to replace the void of those corporations.

“It’s one thing to be really proud of our community that we all pulled together to make Naugatuck the great place that it is,” McSherry said.

Attorney Kevin H. McSherry has practiced law in the borough since 1984 and is Chair of the Naugatuck Chamber of Commerce, on the Holy Cross High School board of directors, on the Midwestern Connecticut Council of Alcoholism of Danbury, President of the Saint Francis School Foundation and since 1982, Commissioner, Director and coach of the Naugatuck Basketball Association, its Friday Night League and Sunday Night at the Armory Men’s League. McSherry is also a member of the Board of the Naugatuck Education Foundation and works on the United Way’s Professional Division Fund raising efforts.

United Way of Naugatuck and Beacon Falls 2020 Mary Connolly Community Caring Award recipient Kevin McSherry speaking at The Crystal Room on Thursday, March 31. Andreas Yilma Citizen’s News

McSherry has previously served as president and member of the board of directors of Family Services of Greater Waterbury, president of the board of directors and board member of the Naugatuck YMCA for 32 years and Chair of the Trustees for 25 years of the Naugatuck YMCA as well as General Counsel, a member of the Hillside Intermediate School Governance Committee and Treasurer of the Friends of the Whittemore Library.

McSherry held public office in Naugatuck as a member of the Planning Commission, Zoning Commission, on the Economic Development Corporation and is a Justice of the Peace since 2003.

McSherry also coached American Legion Post 17 Baseball, Naugatuck High School Girls Basketball team in the offseason during Coach Keith Raczkowski’s tenure and was the Head Freshman Football coach for 20 years at Holy Cross High School.

Mayor N. Warren “Pete” Hess said he has known McSherry for a long time and has got to know him very well.

“I have to say Kevin, your list of accomplishments is astonishing,” Hess said. “I think the point I want to make is, it’s not the list or the number of things you’ve done, it’s the amount of effort you’ve put into most of them.”

The 2021 award winner, McCormack, has a different journey behind his service to the area.
United Way board member Marcelo Martins said McCormack wasn’t born in the borough but he’s a true son of the Borough of Naugatuck.

“He has dedicated countless hours in helping the people of Naugatuck and beyond,” Martins said.

McCormack opened his State Farm Insurance office in the borough in January of 2006, after working for a nonprofit organization, and has been involved with community ever since.
“It’s a high honor to get the award and it makes me think that after 16 years that I have some scruples,” McCormack said.

United Way of Naugatuck and Beacon Falls 2021 Mary Connolly Community Caring Award recipient John McCormack speaking at The Crystal Room on Thursday, March 31. Andreas Yilma Citizen’s News

McCormack has been a member of the Rotary Club of Naugatuck since April 2006 and has held several volunteer roles for the United Way of Naugatuck & Beacon Falls including the board, allocations, and the golf committee. He is currently Vice President of the board of directors and most recently, co-chair with Donna Andrew for the Annual Campaign for 2020 and 2021. He is also a member of the Naugatuck Chamber of Commerce, the Naugatuck Elks and a member of Naugatuck Ancient Order of Hibernians. He serves on the golf committee of the Naugatuck Rotary Club, where they have turned around the tournament, raising thousands of dollars to give scholarships to local high school students.

On the second Thursday of every month McCormack can be found at the Mobile food bank at the Naugatuck Events Center, helping crew provide food for hundreds of families.

McCormack served as board member for the Naugatuck YMCA and chairman of the New Haven Gaelic Football & Hurling Club from 2006-2016, where all six of his children played Gaelic football.

Hess said McCormack has done a lot of things with passion in 16 years.

“Nothing is more contagious than enthusiasm,” Hess said. “He (McCormack) infects all of us with his enthusiasm and he’s so fun to be with.”

Hess presented both award recipients with proclamations from the borough.

State Rep. Rosa C. Rebimbas, state Rep. David K. Labriola and state Sen. Joan V. Hartley presented McSherry and McCormack with citations of recognition on behalf of the state General Assembly.