OIC's awards gala to be held outdoors for first time ever with double the honorees

Published on Friday, 19 February 2021 15:14
Written by Ciara Hooks


NEW BRITAIN – Opportunities Industrialization Center of New Britain will hold its 48th annual Awards Gala outdoors for the first time ever.

The event will take place underneath a tent at 1 Liberty Square Saturday, June 5 from 5-9 p.m.

“Our saying this year is ‘Unsung Heroes Matter,’” said Paulette Fox, executive director of OIC.

Each year the gala recognizes those in the community who have been supporters and friends of OIC that helped it accomplish what it needed to do as an employment and training program.

“OIC is the oldest employment and training program in New Britain,” Fox said. “We’ve trained over 47,000 people in the last 47 years and our primary focus is preparing the future workforce beginning with youth ages 11-24.”

The pandemic caused OIC to postpone 2020’s gala, so during this year’s event there will be double the honorees.

The recipients of the Leon Howard Sullivan Award (the founder of OIC of America) will be James Jones, executive director of the Boys & Girls Club of New Britain, for 2020 and William Tomasso for 2021

“That’s the highest award an individual or business can get from OIC,” Fox said.

The recipients of the Angela Tomasso Community Award are Michael Schroeder, publisher of the New Britain Herald, for 2020 and Tracey Madden-Hennessey, the new YWCA executive director, for 2021.

The recipients of the OIC Essence Awards are Nancy Puglisi for 2020 and Cheryl Conaty for 2021.

“Jason Miramant, principal at Brookside School, Mark Fernandes, director of New Britain Adult Education Center, Idalia Crespo-Zillarini, school councilor/assistant to the principal, Clifford Parker, teacher at Slade Middle School and president of Bike NB, Jason Gibson, family school liaison, and Father Israel Rivera of Saint St. Joachim Parish will receive a special award that we established last year for Unsung Heroes,” Fox said.

Guests will enjoy food from Teresas Catering, which has been catering the banquets for the last six years, and there will also be a silent auction.

“This year we want people to actually party, so we got a DJ and it’s going to be fun,” Fox said. “We didn’t want to have speeches and all that; we just wanted people to have fun. The (auction) has a little bit of something for everybody and it is cost effective and fun stuff people can use. We will have seven island vacation trips auctioned off.”

Typically the gala would require a certain dress code, but that could change considering the outside location.

“It is a gala so we’re hoping people will dress up, but because it’s outside and summer has not yet kicked in we know people need to be comfortable,” said Fox.

The early bird ticket is $90, through May 7, and then the price goes up to $100.

“This is our 48th year so we’re hoping that people again will come out and support the awardees because they are people who are known in this community and have made a difference in the lives of our young adults,” Fox said.

Posted in New Britain Herald, New Britain on Friday, 19 February 2021 15:14. Updated: Friday, 19 February 2021 15:16.