Dinner to spotlight volunteers, YMCA


NAUGATUCK — The dedication of volunteers is not lost on the Naugatuck YMCA.

“Volunteers help the YMCA create moments of accomplishment, moments of joy and moments of learning for children and families,” Naugatuck YMCA CEO Susan Talbot said. “By donating their time, talent and treasure, they help create a warm and supportive environment for individuals, children and families.”

The YCMA will recognize a sampling of the volunteers Talbot referenced at the organization’s annual dinner June 5. The dinner will be highlighted by a program to honor three volunteers, one borough business and a YMCA employee.

“This year’s recipients, like those in past years were chosen for their dedication to the Naugatuck YMCA and its community. … They are the epitome of what committed YMCA volunteers and staff represent. Our successes are due to the tireless efforts and endless hours of the support of all of our volunteers, and we can not thank them enough for their continued dedication,” Talbot said.

Kim Ostuno
Kim Ostuno

Kim Ostuno, who works at Sarracco Mechanical Services, and Kenneth Healy, a senior accountant at Diversified Financial Solutions, will receive The Robert Whittemore (Unsung Hero) Award. The award is given to those who work behind the scenes to ensure that the YMCA and its programs continue to make an impact in the community.

“It’s just such an honor. I feel very humbled,” Ostuno said. “There’s so many people I can think of to win the award.”

Ostuno has been volunteering at the YMCA for the past several years, including on committees for the silent auction, Elf Project and Celtic Night. She began volunteering after seeing the fulfillment her bosses — Sarracco Mechanical Services President Thomas Sarracco and Vice President Yvette Wilmot — received from being involved in the community.

“I just saw all the work they do and the joy they get, and I thought I’d get involved and do something for the community I work in,” said Ostuno, who lives in Cheshire.

Healy’s relationship with YMCA stretches back to when he would go to the Y as a child. He also worked there while attending Naugatuck High School. Healy, a Naugatuck resident, has been volunteering at the YMCA for the past several years and uses his background in accounting to help get reports ready for the annul meeting as well as other areas.

Kenneth Healy
Kenneth Healy

Healy said he volunteers at the YMCA because it’s a great organization and he just wants to help out. There are so many people who give back to the YMCA, Healy said. He’s just humbled to be receiving the award.

“It’s such an honor to be recognized and given the award,” he said.

The Fred Zonino Volunteer of the Year Award recipient this year is Laurie Yelding, president of Yelding Inc.

Yelding is being honored for her commitment and diligent leadership of the special events and programs at the YMCA as well as and many other community organizations.

Yelding could not be reached for comment.

Ion Bank will receive the Jeffrey Witherwax Community Leadership Award for the support and leadership the bank provides to the YMCA and greater Naugatuck community. Earlier this year, the Ion Bank Foundation pledged $100,000 to the Treasure the Y capital campaign.

Laurie Yelding
Laurie Yelding

Ion Bank President and CEO Charles Boulier is no stranger to the Naugatuck YMCA and is a frequent user of its fitness center. During the capital campaign kickoff earlier this year, Boulier described the YMCA has an organization that is a part of him and recalled learning to swim at a YMCA as a child.

The evening will also turn the spotlight on of its own — Sherri Beck.

Beck, the YMCA’s youth and family director, will receive the Mary Elizabeth Mannweiler Employee of the Year Award. She is being honored for her efforts toward developing programs for youth, including an open mic night.

Beck first got involved at the YMCA in 1999 as a preschool volunteer when her daughter was attending preschool. In January 2000, Beck made the transition from volunteer to preschool teacher. She’s worked her way up the ranks since then, eventually to being named youth and family director last September.

The answer for why Beck has stayed at the YMCA for the past 14 years is a simple one.

Sherri Beck
Sherri Beck

“It’s the people,” said Beck, a Naugatuck resident. “It’s the giving back to the community.”

Beck said there were so many challenges and things to learn with her new position, and she’s honored the YMCA is recognizing her work.

“I’m still learning,” she said. “So, it was a real honor.”

The annual dinner is June 5 and will be held at The Crystal Room, 98 School St., Naugatuck. A reception will start at 5:30 p.m. followed by the program at 6:30 p.m. and dinner. Tickets for the dinner are $50 per person. To RSVP, contact Cathie Mauritz at (203) 729-9622 or email cmauritz@naugatuckymca.org.