Greater Westfield Chamber of Commerce Announces “Of the Year” Award Winners

WESTFIELD – The Greater Westfield Chamber of Commerce is pleased to announce their “Of the Year” Awards for 2018. “I am so pleased with the choices our nominating committee selected this year,” said Kate Phelon, executive director. “It is never an easy decision, and I know they gave all the nominees careful consideration.” 

2018 Business of the Year: Armbrook Village 

Armbrook Village is a senior retirement community that offers, independent, assisted and memory care options and opened for business in Westfield on April 1, 2013. With over 25 years of experience operating senior communities they know what the senior customer wants. Residents of Armbrook Village in Westfield enjoy an independent lifestyle with gracious accommodations, amenities, award-winning dining, programs, and services that support their well-being, essential to maintaining good health and an enriching life.

Beth Cardillo, executive director at Armbrook, has been working with the senior population for over twenty years in senior living communities. “I couldn’t be happier to be selected as Business of the Year from the Westfield Chamber,” stated Beth when notified by Kate. “Beth has worked tirelessly over the past five years to make Armbrook known in the surrounding area, and it has been a joy working with her and her team,” said Kate. Beth implemented Armbrook Village’s initiative to make Westfield, MA a dementia friendly community, the first community on the East Coast to have this distinction. Creating People Friendly Communities is their newest initiative which addresses the issue of senior bullying. 

The building, with its wide array of dedicated community spaces, was designed to support a vibrant community of individuals doing the things they love, trying new experiences, and enjoying the company of their neighbors. 

2018 Nonprofit of the Year: The Westfield Athenaeum 

Dan Paquette, who became director of the Athenaeum in 2015, expressed, “What a nice surprise to be recognized by the Chamber as Nonprofit of the Year,” when notified by Kate Phelon. With major renovations to the tune of $1.7 million to be completed this year, “What a great year for the Westfield Athenaeum not only to be nominated, but to be selected as the Nonprofit of the Year,” said Kate Phelon.

While the Athenaeum is grateful for local and state funding, many residents aren’t aware it truly is a nonprofit and not funded 100% by the city. They must raise funds to cover the gaps for overhead and operating costs. It has access to endowments, but these too come with restrictions. Since the Athenaeum owns the building, it is responsible for the upkeep and any upgrades. 

The renovations include the entire reference area; the Boys & Girls Library; back entrance with a new ramp; two new bathrooms; new door for patrons to enter either the Boys & Girls Library or the adult library. Prior to the upgrade, patrons would have to go through the children’s library to enter the adult library. Later this fall, the public will be able to see and enjoy the completed renovations. 

2018 Lifetime Achievement Award: Ann Lentini of Domus, Inc.                     

Since 1986, Ann Lentini has dedicated her life to providing affordable housing and educational services to Westfield Residents. Domus, Inc. was established in 1982 and is a nonprofit, affordable housing developer. Since its inception, Domus has developed 11 properties. Soon a 12th property will be added to the list with completion of the Mosely School Apartments and will optimistically open by August 2019.

Domus, Inc. plays an important civic role by helping the City of Westfield meet its state-mandated quota of affordable housing. Their mission is to provide safe and affordable, decent, sanitary housing for the homeless, low-to-moderate income persons, and persons with special needs. “I was speechless and completely moved when I got the call from Kate about the award,” said Ann Lentini.  “This work is so important to me, and I am so grateful to be recognized.”

In addition to managing Domus, Inc. Ann, along with Kenneth White, also created Westfield Community Education program in 2008. This program addresses adult, basic educational needs to improve the lives of community members by providing GED and pre-GED preparation classes, along with individual and group tutoring programs. To date, they have graduated over 225 students and are celebrating their 10th anniversary. 

The three award winners will be recognized at the Greater Westfield Chamber’s Annual Meeting & Awards Banquet on Wednesday, November 21, 2018. There will be a cocktail hour from 5:30 to 6:30 pm followed by a program from 6:30 to 8:30 pm. The event is hosted by Tekoa Country Club located at 458 Russell Road, Westfield, MA. Our Event Sponsor is Westfield Bank and more details will be forthcoming. To pre-register, or for more information please check out our website, or call the Chamber office at (413) 568.1618. 

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