Town police among awardees at UCS gathering


BENNINGTON — The Bennington Police Department and a longtime youth mentor were two community members honored at the United Counseling Service's staff recognition luncheon on Wednesday.

The nonprofit presented the police department with the Cleveland and Phyllis Dodge Community Service Award for the law enforcement agency's support of UCS's mission.

UCS Executive Director Lorna Mattern talked about the police department's participation in their children's 5k races and annual legislative event, concern for the welfare of their clients, as well as providing active shooter training.

"This past year, I have been particularly grateful for their help through several serious and credible threats to staff and the agency," Mattern told an audience of around 220 people gathered for lunch Wednesday in the social hall of Sacred Heart Saint Francis de Sales Church in Bennington.

"They provided an additional police presence throughout our campus and consulted with Health and Safety staff and me to make sure all our bases were covered and that we were safe."

Established in 1958, UCS serves some 3,000 people across 15 facilities in Bennington County. Its services include infant care, youth education, assistance for people with developmental disabilities, substance abuse treatment and emergency help.

Police Chief Paul Doucette, who received the plaque along with several members of his department, described the community service award as an honor. He acknowledged the police department's close relationship with UCS, adding that protecting its staff and clients was a priority.

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John Cave, a resident of Manchester, received the Harold C. "Archie" Warner Memorial Award for his contribution to UCS children's programs.

Cave, a retired New York City financial professional, has served since 2010 on the advisory board of the Mentor, formerly known as Big Brothers Big Sisters. He has also volunteered with the Boy Scouts and mentored young people at his church, Mattern said.

Some 60 other people — all UCS staff — were honored at the annual spring gathering, including receiving awards for service, excellence and professional development.

The most prestigious internal award, the Peter D. Scully Award, which recognizes a longstanding employee who has worked with "compassion, skill and distinction" went to Customer Service Manager Rose Hall.

Hall was cited for her exemplary customer service, pursuit of excellence and leadership skills.

The luncheon "recognizes and celebrates our staff and the contributions they make to our agency, their support to clients and the community," said Heidi French, UCS Director of Community Relations and Development.

The event is the nonprofit's biggest staff gathering each year. UCS has around 300 employees working in Bennington, North Bennington, Pownal and Manchester, and the organization had to close its main offices for two hours to make the luncheon happen.

Tiffany Tan can be reached at, @tiffgtan at Twitter and 802-447-7567 ext. 122.


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