YMCA to honor ‘best of Southington’

Southington veterans committee member John DeMello will be honored as the YMCA’s person of the year. From left, Southington YMCA CEO Mark Pooler, DeMello, and former YMCA executive director John Myers.

The Southington-Cheshire Community YMCA recently announced the honorees for their 90th annual recognition and celebration to occur on Feb. 6, at 5:30 p.m., at the Aqua Turf Club.

The event will review the year and honor: Best Buddies, Unified Theater, and Unified Sports for their exemplary demonstration of youth development; Common Good Garden for their demonstration of healthy living; and Fancy Bagel for their demonstration of social responsibility for the Southington community.

This year’s youth leadership awards will go to Sarah McAuliffe and Caitlin Mulligan. The person of the year is John DeMello Sr. from the town’s veterans committee for his many years of outstanding service to the veterans of Southington.

Through his role on the veterans committee, DeMello and his team help ensure that all Southington area veterans and their families know what resources are available to them and help them access those resources, according to YMCA officials.

“There are so many amazing people here that we’re helping,” said DeMello in a press release. “It’s humbling. This is what I love to do. I love to help our veterans.”

At the end of 2018, the YMCA’s new CEO Mark Pooler and former CEO John Myers surprised many of the honorees with the news at their work at the YMCA’s veteran’s day luncheon. The youth leadership honorees were surprised by their friends and colleagues, Justin Hubeny, Tom Sangeloty, Katie Sherman, and Kari Robarge.

“We are all excited for the YMCA’s 90th annual celebration and recognition,” said Pooler. “We are all looking forward to celebrating the incredible contributions all of the honorees have made to our community, and as always, the entertainment portion of the night will be something no one will soon forget.”

The YMCA marketing director Brittany Tripp recalled the moment DeMello learned he would be recognized at the event.

“When we surprised him with news of the award, he spoke briefly, and entirely off the cuff, listed off the names, wars fought and service years of an extensive list of veterans he noticed in the YMCA’s all-purpose room,” she said in a press release. “That was the moment it became clear that John doesn’t simply serve the veterans in our community. He cares deeply about them.”

To ensure that all of DeMello’s fellow veterans can attend the event, the YMCA will offer tickets to all veterans and active military for just $30, and guests over 80 years old attend free.

This year’s annual celebration theme is “The Greatest Gift Of 1949” for tickets visit www.SCCYMCA.org/annualmeeting. Tickets are $50 per person. For additional ticketing information please contact Kristin Kelly at kkelly@sccymca.org

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