Community Leaders Award Winners 2018

Hooksett Community Leaders 2018

Youth Volunteer of the Year: Katelyn Howe

Katelyn HoweKatelyn Howe is a senior at Manchester Central High School who has already accomplished much in her short life. Prior to attending Central, she was a high achiever at Cawley Middle School where she achieved high honors, participated in the Builders Club and excelled in multiple sports. At Central she is a member of four National Honor Societies, achieved excellence in band and sporting activities, written for the Little Green newspaper, volunteered for multiple organizations, and excelled in leadership positions.

Katelyn participates in the Central Key Club, where she performs community service, including bellringing, working at the Manchester Marathon, preparing goodie bags at Christmas for firemen, working at Central Open House and Freshman Orientation, and collecting gifts for backpacks sent to patients at Tufts Medical Center. Her appointment to four honor societies involved additional volunteer hours of service.

As part of her involvement with the Life of an Athlete Club, which promotes healthy lifestyles and positive role models for peers, she worked on refurbishing bicycles given to underprivileged youth in Manchester. Her advisor wrote that, since 2009 Central no longer had funding to purchase championship banners for state athletic championships. Katelyn heard about this disappointment from her peers and brought a project before LOA in May 2017 to purchase Banners and repaint the gym. She spearheaded this entire project and worked on every detail from organizing three fundraising events to raise $20,000, to performing outreach to alumni, to sitting at football and basketball games with a poster board.

She is a point guard the Central Varsity Basketball team, member of Central Crew team, headquartered in Hooksett, where she was named MVP in 2017. This past January she was selected as Student/Athlete of the month. She is also a section leader and drum major for the school’s band. In Early 2017, she was selected for the Hooksett Youth Achievement Award by the Hooksett Town Council.

Adult Volunteer of the Year: Tammy Hooker

Tammy HookerTammy is a vital member of many volunteer groups in Hooksett. These include the Library’s Board of Trustees, Friends group, Boy Scout Troop 292 and Hooksett Unit of the Salvation Army. In each of these roles she brings a level of dedication, enthusiasm, humor, and organization that is unmatched.

In her years as Library Trustee, Tammy served as Secretary and member of many Board subcommittees. While she is adept at all trustee responsibilities: reviewing policies, overseeing personnel issues, analyzing expenses, and managing physical plant, Tammy is also the first to volunteer when things need to get done. She caters library events, hosts the annual mother- daughter teas, and sorts books for the Friends book sale. Hopping into the role of Easter Bunny, she was the star of the Library’s Egg hunt.

Tammy does the heavy thinking and the heavy lifting. She excels at both making policy and making snacks. She is the first to respond and won’t leave until the job is done.

In her years as fundraising coordinator for Troop 292, a position that helps make scouting affordable for all Hooksett families, she has reached out to develop new revenue sources, including Old Home Day food sales, gift wrapping, dine-to-donate at area restaurants, and connecting with Bon-Ton. In addition to her fundraising role, she actively participates in the Troop’s many community service projects. For the Hooksett branch of the Salvation Army, she was the chief scheduler for the 2017 Red Kettle Campaign, substitute bell ringer, Facebook page coordinator, and team member of the Back to School Shopping Spree.

Tammy is a rare individual who tirelessly gives and then gives even more to her community. Her leadership and her willingness to jump in and get things done has made her an indispensable fixture of this community. These efforts have had a large and lasting impact on our town and countless individuals and families.

Small Business of the Year: Merrimack County Savings Bank (MCSB)

Merrimack County Savings BankMerrimack County Savings Bank had its charter approved in July 1867. Starting with a small office space on School Street in Concord, through growth and expansions and acquisitions, the bank has grown to 8 branches and $600 million in assets. Its merger with Meredith Village Savings Bank enabled the creation of NH Mutual Bancorp (NHMB) Not only did this provide more financial strength, for lending purposes, but it allowed both institutions to continue with the philosophy on which it was founded, that having a strong connection between customers and community. In 2016 it opened its first branch in Hooksett at the Welcome Center on Route 93, and in 2017 it opened a second beautiful new branch at the intersection of Route 3 and 28 bypass.

Prior to its expansion into Hooksett, they were selected as Business of the Year by the Concord Chamber of Commerce. Although MCSB has only been in Hooksett for a very short time, the Bank and its employees have already made a positive impact in our community.

As part of its grand opening, the bank offered $1,000 to a town non-profit organization based on votes from the public. It quickly grew members and provided employee and financial support to the Hooksett Chamber of Commerce and Hooksett Kiwanis.

They pledged money to the summer reading program at the Hooksett Library. They offered to count coin for Salvation Army Bell Ringing when other financial organizations turned them away without having an account with the organization. The Bank also provides a community bulletin board for non-profit organizations to post events and allows community groups to use its conference room.

MCSB also offers scholarships, sponsorship and grants. MCSB offers competitive salary and benefit packages, including a 401K Program and bonus program. Most importantly, they encourage employees to volunteer in the community. Many of their other employees spend many hours a month volunteering in the community.

Large Business of the Year: Merchants Automotive Group

Merchants Auto GroupMerchants Automotive Group is a family-owned organization based in New Hampshire with over 50 years of experience. Its Fleet Management has more than 40,000 vehicles under lease and management throughout all 50 States. It provides fleet management and leasing solutions for more than 800 businesses and the federal government. It is the largest family-owned independent pre-owned car dealer in New England, and has been voted the #1 NH Used Car Dealership for 20 years.

Merchants maintains a basic philosophy to continually give back to the community. It has built a corporate culture that celebrates community involvement, investment, and volunteering. It supports local based charities to create a more productive and enriched community. Its 2017 commitment was led by the annual giant Singer Memorial Blood Drive. Merchants is a large supporter of Hooksett organizations. These include the Kiwanis Trail Race, Community Food Pantry, Bear Paw Regional Greenways, Hooksett Old Home Day, Hooksett Lions Club, Salvation Army Bell Ringing, and many other community events and organizations. It provides complimentary use of its giant LED sign for Hooksett community announcements. Merchants also contributes thousands of dollars annually to Hooksett’s tax base, both in property taxes and thousands of vehicle registrations.

In addition to its financial donations, resources are also dedicated to those causes where employees have significant passion and involvement. Each employee is given 16 paid volunteer hours, and Merchants Automotive will match up to $500 per employee for charitable donations. This dedication to our community also encompasses being a leader in the business community.

Merchants believes one of the best investments it can make is in its people, and it does by encouraging employees to achieve a healthy work life balance. This includes summer flex time, continuing education credits, and a wellness program. Merchants has been certified as a Great Place to Work and has been recognized several times on the Business NH Best Company to Work For list.

Municipal Employee of the Year: Donna Fitzpatrick

Donna FitzpatrickDonna joined the town in the Community Development Office where she was a lead coordinator for the office working with developers and potential businesses. Her current position as the Administrative Services Coordinator is unique and demanding. She provides administrative support functions for the Town Council with a wide variety of responsibilities. She also serves as the Human Resources Coordinator for the Town, a position that was once a full-time position within itself. Here she is responsible for all employee benefits management, assisting Department Heads in administering personnel policies, hiring, assisting with union contracts and a myriad of other details.

Donna approaches her work with department heads much like a coach and a mentor. Although Donna has an incredible penchant for attention to detail and organization, it is her care for the town employees and maintaining best interests of the Town that led to her nomination.

The past year was particularly challenging as the Town went through a bidding process for new health insurance. Donna made herself available for all 160 town employees remembering the differing needs of early retirees and current employees. She was there for the police officers ending their shift at 7:00am in the morning and for those who came in during the final hours of the evening. She counseled and supported employees who were struggling with the possible changes, arranging 17 sessions to accommodate everyone’s schedule. Donna was a one woman show coordinating it all!

This was reinforced at this year’s Employee Appreciation Picnic. Although she could have attended to just enjoy the event, but instead she arranged everything from the coordination of food to the solicitation of raffle prizes for employees. At the picnic, she was the host ensuring that everyone was taken care of. Donna demonstrates her commitment to the Town of Hooksett and all of the employees each and every day in all the steps she takes for our care.

Middle School Educator of the Year: Bernadette Olsen

Bernadette OlsenBernadette Olsen is the Family and Consumer Science teacher at Cawley Middle School, where she has served for five years, making a profound impact on the students, parents and Hooksett Community. She has been devoted to providing students with a well-rounded, authentic middle school experience. Bernadette is diligent in supporting students in order for them to achieve academically, socially and emotionally. One of her greatest qualities as a teacher is her ability to develop highly engaging instructional activities that are relevant for today’s students. Skills learned in grades 6-8 provide students with skills for life after school.

Another attribute is her ability to always find something positive in a student. Her classroom environment is one that promotes kindness, caring, high expectations and the ability for all students to succeed. Bernadette’s enthusiasm and passion for teaching and learning is evident daily with her interactions with students. She serves as a role model for students encouraging them to make the most of their middle school experience through co-curricular activities and volunteering.

Bernadette is also an active and integral member of the school community. In 2017 she was a literacy coach for teachers, an advisor for the Student Leadership Council and member of the Wellness Committee. She is often seen at afterschool events to support students. She served as advisor for the Builders Club involved in organizing and coordinating student volunteerism in the Hooksett Community. She has led an endless number of additional activities to support students and the Hooksett Community.

A former student writes: “I have always admired Mrs. Olsen, and the roles she has played in my experience at the Cawley. Not only did I have the privilege of having her as a classroom teacher, but as a mentor, advisor, and inspiration. Mrs. Olsen is a kind, genuine teacher who easily builds rapports with her students. She offers guidance to her pupils in both an academic and personal light, and is seen as a very caring staff member. She taught me to believe in myself."

Elementary School Educator of the Year: Shannon Baldoumas

Shannon BaldoumasShannon is a first-grade teacher at Underhill School. She has been a teacher in the Hooksett School District since 2001 and has excelled in teaching kindergarten, 1st and 2nd grade. Shannon’s “can-do” spirit has served her well as an educator and as a member of the school community, including being an instrumental part of leading major initiatives across the school and district through her work on committees such as the SAU’s Report Card, Science Pilot, Science Curriculum, and Schoolwide Events Committees.

Every year Shannon’s students are among the highest performers in the district. She has the respect and trust of parents and involves them in discussing educational progress, needs, and solutions. She considers every student in the classroom, with specific learning activities varying from child to child. These are done in a way that the students do not know who is receiving remedial instruction and who is participating in an enrichment activity.

She cares about her students’ emotional well-being and puts their needs in front of her own. An example involved a transferring student, with a variety of challenges, including a difficult home life including the loss of a parent. Shannon was empathetic, sensitive, and supportive. She brainstormed ways with team members to develop a transition plan for the student. As a result, the student made a remarkable transition to the school and continues to thrive.

A peer shared that Shannon is one of those teachers that was born with “it”, the teachers who have a natural gift and make it look easy. Shannon demonstrates the kind of growth mindset we want for our own young learners. Her principal remarked that having worked with hundreds of teachers in his career, he can confidently say that Shannon is one of the best educators that he ever had the pleasure of working with.

Community Impact Award: Girl Scouts Troop 10085

Girl Scout Troop 10085The Girl Scouts of Troop 10085 are High School Juniors who have been together since Kindergarten. In addition to working hard in High School, participating in activities such as band, sports, and working part-time jobs, they have provided outstanding service to our community.

Examples of its community service include landscaping and building a sign for the Cawley Middle School Outdoor Classroom, landscaping and painting a sign at Underhill School, bell ringing for the Salvation Army, planting a tree at Hooksett Memorial School in memory of a janitor, gift wrapping at PTA holiday fairs, hosting ice skating parties to guide younger troops, and cleaning up local parks.

In May 2017 the Troop participated in a clothing drive to benefit the Epilepsy Foundation of New England, collecting 213 bags of textiles weighing 3,744 pounds. This not only kept textiles out of landfills and made clothing available to others at a reduced cost, it raised money to send children living with Epilepsy to a highly specialized camp. Due to seizures, most children living with Epilepsy do not have the chance to attend camp.

The group also participates in Scouting for Food, volunteers at the Hooksett Food Pantry, and coordinates the Father­ Daughter Dance. Most recently on February 4, they organized the Girl Scout Olympics for over 100 Girl Scouts from Hooksett. The group’s donations include allocating proceeds from its Fall Product Sale to a local family whose daughter lost her life, teddy bears to the Hooksett Fire Dept, and money to several Hooksett families in need. These are just a few of the services this troop has provided over the past 13 years. These scouts have been active in supporting local activities such as old home day, veterans and Memorial Day parades. Not only are they a troop but a sisterhood.