Every December, CVEF bestows the Howard Kelley Community Service Award upon a worthy resident of our community. The award honors the memory of Howard Kelley, one of our founders and the first Superintendent of Schools in District 13. Kelley was committed to ongoing lifelong learning and selfless commitment to our community.

The 2017 award ceremony/reception was held on Thursday, December 7.  CVEF conferred its 2017 award upon a duo, community residents Mark Dionne and Heather Kannam of PaperHouse Productions, a local children's theater program.

Mark and Heather created the community theater several years ago, in part with assistance from a CVEF grant. PaperHouse runs an annual show for children in grades 1-8, a summer theater camp and a fall program for teens in grades 9-12. They also have a junior board for kids who are interested in the promotion of theater and related projects.

Nominated by Diane Sartor, whose children have been involved in the program, she noted the two "identified a need in our community and have worked very hard to build this program into a community treasure. They are wonderful and patient with the kids and a guiding force when it is needed."

About 40 CVEF board and committee members, along with past winners; Kelley's widow, Renee; and this year's award winners and their families attended the annual reception, held at Indian Springs Golf Course in Middlefield.

Previous winners of the Howard Kelley Community Service Award include Christine Willett, elementary teacher and founder of After the Storm, which benefits women with breast cancer; Susan Michael, high school educator and environmental activist; Robin Heath, outstanding Boy Scout leader; Sarah Atwell,— nurse, breast cancer survivor, and rejuvenator of the Durham Historical Society; Bernadette Basiel, key leader in the success of Durham Middlefield Youth & Family Services (DMYFS); and Bill Gleuck and Hugh McKutchen,  volunteers for Trout in the Classroom, an after-school educational program at Memorial Middle School sponsored by the Hammonasset Chapter of Trout Unlimited.

We seek nominations for the Howard Kelley Community Service Award all year long. Please submit your suggestions (along with a brief supporting statement) to Merrill Adams: merrilladams@comcast.net.

Mark Dionne and Heather Kannam accepting their awards. Photo credit: Martin Anderson

Mark Dionne and Heather Kannam accepting their awards.

Photo credit: Martin Anderson