Hundreds 'Celebrate Community' At Auburn VNA Dinner

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Worcester County Sheriff Lew Evangelidis (second from right) received the community partnership award at the Auburn VNA Health Network's annual recognition dinner Thursday.
Worcester County Sheriff Lew Evangelidis (second from right) received the community partnership award at the Auburn VNA Health Network's annual recognition dinner Thursday. Photo Credit: Rick Sobey
Auburn Selectman Robert Grossman and Auburn resident Ann Brooks enjoyed their time at the dinner.
Auburn Selectman Robert Grossman and Auburn resident Ann Brooks enjoyed their time at the dinner. Photo Credit: Rick Sobey
Jay Dahlstrom, 15, entertained with some card tricks at the dinner in Auburn.
Jay Dahlstrom, 15, entertained with some card tricks at the dinner in Auburn. Photo Credit: Rick Sobey
Two tickets to the Dec. 10 Patriots game were auctioned off at the event.
Two tickets to the Dec. 10 Patriots game were auctioned off at the event. Photo Credit: Rick Sobey

AUBURN, Mass. – The Auburn VNA Health Network celebrated its accomplishments and recognized individuals who have “given above and beyond to the agency” at the annual recognition dinner Thursday.

More than 135 people attended the dinner at the Auburn/Webster Lodge of Elks, which paid tribute to the many health-care professionals, volunteers and community business partners who have contributed to the success of AVHN.

“We’re very pleased with the turnout, and it’s a great event to celebrate the community,” said Kellie Dahlstrom, clinical social worker and fund development coordinator at the agency. “All of the money raised benefits the agency and assists with our free care programs and services that we offer, such as skilled nursing, medical social services and physical occupational therapy.”

AVHN, a nonprofit, local home health organization that serves Auburn and Central Massachusetts, presented awards to its 2012 recipients at the dinner: President’s Award, Bradley Howes; Leadership Award, Sally Robichaud; Health Care Hero Award, Tanya Holmes; Deanna D. Goggins Award, Sheila Barter; and the Community Partnership Award, Sheriff Lew Evangelidis.

Evangelidis received the award for his inmate community service program.

“These are inmates trying to turn their lives around, so we have them go into the community and work hard,” Evangelidis said. “They say, ‘I thank you for letting me be in this program. When I get out, I’m not coming back, because I want to do something better than what I’ve done before.'

“If every government program worked this well, then all of our country’s problems would be solved, because we save money and turn peoples’ lives around,” Evangelidis added.  

District Attorney Joseph Early, who was the dinner’s special guest speaker, said Evangelidis is a great choice for the award.  

“It’s been a pleasure working with our sheriff, and he shares our emphasis with regard to prevention,” Early said. “He understands you can’t arrest your way out of these problems. You have to work with communities, you have to work with the youth, and you have to get into the jails and talk to them about drugs and alcohol.

“The sheriff is doing a great job with this program,” Early added.

In addition, state Sen. Michael Moore (D-Millbury) and state Rep. Paul Frost (R-Auburn) both brought congratulatory citations from the State House for all the award recipients.

The dinner included turkey, stuffing, roast beef, potatoes, green beans, pastries and strawberries with ice cream. There was a raffle for several items, including Worcester Sharks tickets, and an auction for New England Patriots tickets.

The organization offers two distinct divisions: Auburn VNA Nursing & Therapy and Bancroft Private Care. For more information about AVHN, visit its website.

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