HCN News & Notes

BFAIR Recognizes Employees, Distributes Awards at Annual Meeting

NORTH ADAMS — BFAIR held its annual meeting on May 14 at Berkshire Hills Country Club with a gathering of more than 175 staff, community partners, and supporters.

CEO Rich Weisenflue, and Peter Mirante, BFAIR board chair, led the meeting. Mirante welcomed Pittsfield Mayor Peter Marchetti and Pittsfield City Council President Pete White. The meeting included recognition of employees with five or more years of service, Keystone awards, and an inaugural presentation by Sally Petersen of the Hart Family Fund Award.

Guest speaker Peter Johnson inspired the room with his presentation, representing the Massachusetts Developmental Disabilities Advisory Council, recounting his positive life experiences as well as his advocacy work on behalf of people with Down syndrome and developmental disabilities.

The following Keystone Awards were given out:

• Crosby/Quintal Memorial Award: Casandra Magner, ABI residential house manager. The award is named in remembrance of two former employees for their commitment to equality, advocacy, and human rights.

• Edward Frampton Self-determination Award: Kaytlyn Stringer, BFAIR-supported individual. The award is presented to a person served by BFAIR who achieved a personal goal.

• Leadership Award: Kris Neep, director of Community Based Day Services. This distinguished honor is given to an employee who has accomplished professional leadership qualifications and opportunities.

• Community Partners of the Year: restaurant partners who participated in BFAIR’s first annual Dine for Disabilities event last fall, including the Barn, Boston Sea Foods, Brookhouse Pub, Grazie, Hot Harry’s, Olympic Pizza, On a Roll Café, Proprietor’s Lodge, and Zucchini’s Restaurant.

• Hart Family Fund Award: Christine Meiklejohn, director of ABI Residential Services. The Hart family has been engaged with BFAIR for more than two decades through a family member receiving day and residential services. In 2023, they created the Hart Family Fund to support staff education assistance and appreciation to cultivate a more informed, well-trained team of employees committed to providing quality services for people served by BFAIR.

In addition to the Hart Family Fund, Tara Jacobsen, director of Development, shared how donors and community support further BFAIR’s mission in several ways, including promoting independence, creating accessibility, and enhancing program resources on an individual basis and program-wide.

Board members were recognized for their support of BFAIR’s mission and volunteer work. Officers elected for a two-year term include Pete Mirante, chair; Kim Baker, vice chair; Andrew Briggs, treasurer; and Dana Johnson, clerk.

BFAIR also announced plans for its 30th-anniversary celebration on Friday, Oct. 25 at the Williams Inn.