by Tony Schillaci & Don Church
photos by Dan O’Donnell, Christopher Annino & Toni Parker Johnson
(Click on photo for ID’s)
The Connecticut Rivers Council of the Boy Scouts of America’s 14th Annual Outstanding Leadership Award Reception was held at the Mashantucket Pequot Museum and Research Center on Tuesday, June 16.
Honorees this year are Alexis Ann, editor & publisher, the Resident, recipient of the 2009 Outstanding Leadership Award, and Norwich Public Utilities, recipient of the 2009 Community Service Award, represented by John Bilda, general manager.
Alexis Ann was honored with this award because she “represents a person who lives by the Scout Oath in her daily life.” This annual award publicly acknowledges the accomplishments of an outstanding community leader.
The reception this year was co-chaired by former Community Service Award winner Kenneth Capano Sr., owner, ShopRites of New London and Norwich, and Attorney Jeffrey R. Godley, Eagle Scout.
After welcoming the more than 250 attendees, Eagle Scout Keith Fontaine, vice president of Corporate Communications, William W. Backus Hospital, introduced Crews 4 Norwich and 20 Jewett City for the opening ceremony. The Pledge of Allegiance and Scout Oaths were led by Nicholas Backus, Troop 13 Colchester, and Richard A. Chatell, Pack 19 Baltic.
Immediately following the opening ceremony, Spiritual Leader and Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Elder Laughing Woman Patrick gave the invocation and blessed the assembled community leaders, business professionals, family and friends of Scouts. Laughing Woman’s blessing was a combination of Native American traditions in a balance with her Christian beliefs.
Comments and presentations followed. Rosalina Iott, Sea Scout Boatswain, Ship 584 Groton, spoke of the way she experienced juggling scholarship, Sea Scout duties, preparation for her upcoming Chestnut Hill College entry and just being a teenager. Rosalina graduates this year from Fitch High School and is a member of the National Honor Society.
After a short greeting by Harry L. Pokorny, Scout Executive, Connecticut Rivers Council, James Sullivan, chairman, Norwich Public Utilities Board of Commissioners, presented the first of the evening’s two Eagle Awards (Community Service) to John Bilda, General Manager, NPU. John stressed that NPU “is community friendly because we are members of the community – we are your friends, neighbors and relatives.”
N. Jonathan Laflamme, an Eagle Scout of Troop 13 Colchester told how he once dropped out of scouting, only to be encouraged by his younger brother to reconsider and rejoin the Scouts. Jonathan graduates this month from Bacon Academy where he attained high honors all four years at the school and is also a member of the National Honor Society.
Highlighting the evening was the presentation and acceptance of the Outstanding Leadership Award. First, Chairman Bruce “Two Dogs” Bozsum, Mohegan Tribal Council, stepped up to the podium, all smiles. He introduce honoree Alexis Ann by singing her praises.
And sing he did. “Two Dogs” sang a “#49,” a song combining Native American song-chants with “Hey Good Lookin’” which brought laughter and applause from the audience.
Alexis Ann, a native of Southeastern Connecticut and a graduate of Stonington High School, who earned degrees at Central Connecticut State University and a Master of Arts degree at The University of Montana, happily accepted the 2009 Outstanding Leadership Award, presented in the form of a Golden Eagle.
She commented about her early years as a Brownie before flying up to become a Girl Scout. She said that Tribal Elder Laura Porter reminded her that selling Girl Scout Cookies was good training for selling advertising in the Resident.
After asking the Resident team to stand, Alexis stressed the importance of teamwork and community involvement, especially in challenging times, saying, “Happy readers make happy advertisers, which makes a happy Resident team.”
Her “Good News” philosophy, coupled with her up-beat and positive attitude led to her being a successful businesswoman, while she takes time to volunteer her expertise and serves on boards and foundations throughout the area. Congratulations, Alexis!