Drew Marine, in collaboration with Naugatuck Valley Community College, hosted an award presentation honoring local First Responders for going above and beyond during the pandemic. Hosted in the in the First Responders Lecture Hall on the Waterbury campus of NVCC, the event honored responders from Waterbury and Naugatuck police and fire departments, Saint Mary’s and Waterbury Hospitals, Trinity and American Medical Response Ambulances, and Naugatuck Valley Community College.
Frank Monteiro, President and CEO of Drew Marine, addressed the importance of teamwork as crucial to the success of anything. He especially wanted to show appreciation for those who are often unnoticed and sometimes underappreciated, but whose work even in the background plays a critical role in the whole process of working for the good and safety of the community.
NVCC CEO, Lisa Dresdner, Ph.D., who provided welcoming remarks, commented that “the diversity of the honorees speaks directly to the importance of the value of all individuals on a team and how their combined strength leads to the greater good.”
The honorees received glass awards, and Drew Marine generously committed to a $500 donation in the name of each honoree to their organization. Awards were presented to Sergeant Nadine Amatruda, Officer Querino Maia, and Victor Aviles, IT Systems Administrator of the Waterbury Police Department; Jim Burns, Battalion Chief and Adam Rinko, Administrative Officer of the Waterbury Fire Department; Matthew DaSilva, Training Officer of the Naugatuck Police Department; and Michael Ames and Christopher Foster, Firefighters with the Naugatuck Fire Department. Also honored were Kent M. Burgwardt, MD, James J. Odom, Manager of Environmental Services and Lisa M. Ciarlo, Nursing Manager ICU of Saint Mary’s Hospital - Trinity Health of New England; JoAnne Cosgriff, MD., Justin Lundbye, MD., Susan Kuhla, RN, and Erika Fry, RN of Waterbury Hospital; Elisabeth Szantyr and James Guerrera of Trinity Ambulance; and John Racloz, Paramedic and Chaz Fernandes, EMT of American Medical Response.
NVCC’s honorees were Dana Elm, Dean of Administration; Margaret Guerrera, MS, RCP, RRT, Professor/Director of Respiratory Care Program; Chuck Buchanan, AMTC Academic Associate; and Curtiss McClure, Business & Industry Instructor.
Dean Elm was praised for her work with the Connecticut Department of Health, strategizing how to make the campus safe with carefully implemented guidelines. Along with her weekly COVID Communication that provides crucial information to the college, she addressed concerns and questions from employees that arose seven days a week, replying to each inquiry about a positive case, a possible exposure, or just general questions, with a combination of science and compassion.
Professor Margaret Guerrera not only identified ventilators that NVCC could loan to local hospitals and health care centers, but she also led her team to create alternate learning experiences for NVCC’s Respiratory Care students to ensure they would graduate on time in May 2021. As a frontline caregiver for patients in respiratory distress, she understood the importance of getting new graduates into the workforce during a time when they were desperately needed in health care.
Chuck Buchanan and Curtiss McClure responded quickly to the increased need for PPE equipment to address the COVID crisis in Waterbury and surrounding communities. Chuck and Curtiss repurposed NVCC’s Advanced Manufacturing Technology Center to produce face shields and ear savers for medical professionals using the college’s 3D printers. In collaboration with St. Mary’s Hospital and Danker Design, LLC, Chuck and Curtiss ran the printers 24/7 and produced over 1000 items to keep health care professionals safe.