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    March of Dimes Connecticut Chapter Recognizes 10 Individuals as 2011 “Volunteers of Excellence”

    Leigh-Anne Lefurge, March of Dimes, (860) 815-9353, llefurge@marchofdimes.com

    New Haven, CT, January 28, 2012 —

    Ten individuals from around Connecticut were recognized as the March of Dimes Connecticut Chapter’s 2011 “Volunteers of Excellence” at the Chapter’s Franklin Delano Roosevelt Spirit of Giving Celebration at the New Haven Lawn Club on January 28.  

    The Connecticut Chapter proudly honored the following volunteers:  

    Ron and Karen Pelliccia – Volunteers of the Year
    The Pelliccia’s have been volunteering with the March of Dimes since the loss of their premature twins in 2007.  Their loss spurred them to action, not wanting to see another family suffer the consequences of premature birth.  Walking in honor of Dominic and Danica, they have raised over $80,000 and in 2011 Team Peleach was the top family team in Connecticut and 19th in the nation.  They also host an annual fundraiser, Dance for Babies, which last year raised $12,000.  In addition to their fundraising efforts, they have shared their story at numerous events, via media and continue to support the NICU at Yale-New Haven Hospital, where their babies received specialized care.   

    Representative Elizabeth B. Ritter – Excellence in Advocacy and Government Affairs
    Representative Ritter has served as State Representative for the 38th House Assembly District since November 2004. The Chapter commends Representative Ritter for her leadership as Chair of the Public Health Committee and advocacy as a member of the Appropriations Committee, in expanding Connecticut’s Newborn Screening panel to include universal screening for Cystic Fibrosis and Severe Combined Immune Deficiency (SCID), and  her advocacy in developing a Blood Cord Bank Board to examine the feasibility of Connecticut having a statewide Blood Cord repository for research and discovery, including prematurity and low-birth weight.

    Roseanne Shay – Heritage Award
    For 18 consecutive years, Shay has participated in March for Babies, raising over $25,000 for the March of Dimes.  Each year she has promoted the event to the students and faculty of Dolan Middle School in Stamford, where she is a guidance counselor, recruiting many of them to join her in accomplishing her annual fundraising goal.  She has served on the Stamford March for Babies committee for three years with the role of promoting the event within the local public schools.  Not only have her efforts significantly increased participation in local events but raised awareness of the March of Dimes mission among the state’s youth.   

    Paul Kuehner, Building and Land Technology - Humanitarian Award
    Led by the efforts of Paul Kuehner, Building and Land Technology (BLT) has a long-standing history with the chapter.  In 2003 Kuehner and BLT were honored with the chapter’s annual Real Estate Award.  Since the event’s inception in 1996, BLT has contributed over $100,000.  They most recently have partnered to bring Stamford March for Babies to its newest redevelopment through 2015, continuing their event sponsorships, and have been instrumental in developing new relationships throughout Fairfield County.  

    Terry Christensen, Stanley Black and Decker - Humanitarian Award
    Since 1982, Stanley Black and Decker has been a supporter of the March of Dimes through March for Babies teams, fundraisers such as their quarterly “friends and family” tool sales, and volunteerism.  In nearly 30 years of support, the Stanley team has raised over $450,000 for the mission.  The presenting sponsor of the New Britain March for Babies event for six years, the Stanley team, led by Christensen, Charles Albrycht and Sebbie Fusco has set their standards high for 2012, hoping to beat last year’s total of nearly $76,000.  

    David Fiore - Legacy Award
    Fiore has been a proud supporter of the March of Dimes for 15 years, and a long-serving member of the chapter’s Real Estate Breakfast committee.  This annual event, which brings together more than 700 real estate professionals from around Fairfield County, raised $414,000 in 2011 and since it’s inception in 1996 has raised $4.75 million in support of the March of Dimes.  In 1999, the Fiore family also served as the event’s ambassadors, sharing their personal story of premature birth.  

    Joseph Clark – Leadership Award
    Clark, the chapter’s current board treasurer, has served on the March of Dimes board of directors for more than 10 years, and in his role leads the finance committee to provide expert guidance to discuss and review all financial activities of the chapter.  While leading the chapter’s financial efforts, he is also a longtime supporter of chapter events.

    Steve and Melissa Moroney – Ambassador Award
    The Moroney family served as a Stamford area Ambassadors in 2011, sharing their personal story of how premature birth has affected their family.  Throughout the year in their role, they not only spoke to over 1,200 walkers at March for Babies, but shared their story via media, became active members of the chapter’s Fairfield County division board of directors and led sponsorship efforts for events, garnering new support for the organization.  Their March for Babies team also raised nearly $5,000 in its first year, making it one of the top family teams in the state.

    Mason Passavant – Jr. Humanitarian Award
    Passavant, now a high school senior, has been supporting the March of Dimes since 1999 when he was just a toddler.  He has served as a chapter ambassador and since 2000, with the support of his mother Marcia, has raised $50,000 for the March of Dimes.  He is a youth advocate and has earned “Volunteer of the Year” honors for his past efforts.   

    Emily Dzialo – Trevor Palonen Top Youth Walker Award
    In 2011, Dzialo was named the Top Youth Walker in the state when she raised nearly $12,000 for March for Babies, and since 2005 has raised over $41,500 in support of the March of Dimes mission.  She has served as a long-time youth advocate for the chapter and continues her family’s tradition of support, as her father, Edward, is a founding member of the Middletown March for Babies event.  

    The volunteer celebration was held on January 28h, in honor of March of Dimes founder President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, whose birthday was January 30.   

    “March of Dimes was founded on the principal that by all Americans joining together to raise money and awareness for a cause, the seemingly impossible – curing a dreaded disease – became possible.  Within 17 years of our founding, volunteer efforts to raise millions of dollars helped fund research that lead to the discovery of the ‘safe, effective and potent’ polio vaccine,” said Michael Botelho, Chair, March of Dimes Connecticut Chapter Board of Directors.  “Today, our volunteers in Connecticut and around the nation are just as passionate – passionate about the health of our babies, and how working together we will see the day when all babies have a healthy start.”  

    The March of Dimes is the leading nonprofit organization for pregnancy and baby health. With chapters nationwide, the March of Dimes works to improve the health of babies by preventing birth defects, premature birth and infant mortality. For the latest resources and information, visit marchofdimes.com or nacersano.org.  Find us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

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