On October 11, nearly 200 community members joined with Howard Center to celebrate Senator Patrick Leahy as Howard Center’s 2019 Help is Here Award honoree at the UVM Alumni House in Burlington. Now in its fourth year, the award recognizes an individual or organization whose contributions personify the agency’s mission and demonstrate a passion for helping the people served by Howard Center. Past award recipients include Lisa Steele (2016), Whit Smith (2017), and Gretchen Morse (2018).
Senator Leahy has made it a priority to deliver significant funding to Vermont—and the nation—to address mental health, substance use and developmental disabilities and to challenge the stigma and discrimination faced by those who struggle with these challenges. Last year Senator Leahy was instrumental in supporting federal funding which allowed Howard Center to implement low barrier access for opiate use treatment, another critical program to help curb the Vermont epidemic and save lives.
Howard Center Board of Trustees President Michael Simoneau hosted the evening and guest speakers included Congressman Peter Welch; City of Burlington Mayor Miro Weinberger; the Honorable William Sessions, III; Theresa Alberghini DiPalma; Kathy and Tom Connolly; Gretchen Morse; and Bob Bick. Throughout the evening, speakers praised Senator Leahy’s over 40 years of service to all Vermonters, including those served by Howard Center, his ability to reach across the partisan aisle, and his leadership as a statesman reflecting the best of Vermont’s values. Gretchen Morse, the 2018 award recipient and Howard Center CEO Bob Bick presented Senator Leahy with this year’s award.
Gerri Bloomberg, a long-time Howard Center supporter was also recognized for her 50 years of volunteer service to the organization.
The 2019 Help is Here Award celebration was supported by Geri Reilly Real Estate, Hickok & Boardman Insurance Group and HR Intelligence and numerous other local business sponsors.
Photo: Marcelle and Patrick Leahy, 2018 Help is Here Award Honoree Gretchen Morse, and Howard Center CEO Bob Bick