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Gagliardi Highlights Heroes in our Community

By Kathy Brown.

Just like many other ideas that have started during COVID-19, someone had an idea that would make someone’s life a little brighter, a little easier. Because that’s what we do in our community of Haddam and Killingworth. On April 19, 2020, Beth Gagliardi, teacher at Haddam Killingworth Middle School and Killingworth resident, posted on her personal Facebook page, “My friend is doing this in her area and I would like to do the same. Here’s how it works — Nominate someone on the frontlines for a gift certificate to a local business. There will be a raffle for prizes. I am buying gift certificates from places [that] are either in town or owned by people who live in town. You can also donate and choose how you would like your money to be spent. You can Venmo the money to me or send it to me via PayPal-PM me for the info.” It started to take off, and she posted on the Killingworth Facebook pages. Then she made a Facebook page just for the “HK Local Heroes Project.”

“I am trying to recognize donors,” said Beth on her Facebook page. “I would like to begin by recognizing my RSD17 family. My colleagues-teachers, staff and BOE members have contributed over $800 to this cause.”

People and businesses were very generous. Gifts were donated such as heart-shaped blacksmith hooks, a bracelet, and a watch. Some businesses donated gift certificates and some gift certificates were purchased with funds that were donated. Cindy Pitts donated bags for people who didn’t receive a gift certificate or to go with their gift/gift certificate as well.

These were the gift certificates that were given to frontline workers:

  • Andies Cookies
  • Best Cleaners
  • Bread Girl
  • Café Routier
  • Club Cycle 5-pack of spin classes
  • Cooking Company
  • Copper Skillet
  • Dino’s Restaurant
  • HK Dairy Barn
  • HK Fitness
  • Ice Cream Emergency
  • Iliano’s Restaurant
  • Timeless Interiors (interior design)
  • Jack’s Country Restaurant
  • Killingworth Pharmacy
  • La Foresta
  • Montana Nights
  • Nutmeg Pharmacy
  • Pizzeria DaVinci
  • Po’s Rice & Spice
  • Savour Bakery
  • Soul Fit
  • Sunny View Window Cleaning
  • Teri’s Package Store
  • The Barrelhouse
  • Town & Country Nurseries

There were 78 prizes in all.

And names poured in of people who residents wanted recognized for their work on the front lines. One hundred eighty three people were nominated from Haddam and Killingworth, from nurses to doctors, from 911 dispatchers to EMTs, police and firemen, from Social Services director to Fire Chiefs, from store owners to cashiers, to mask makers, and more (see related story HERE):

  • Jennifer Ackerman*
  • Lisa Diltveson-Anderson*
  • Sondra Arbona*
  • Carrie Armstrong
  • Rebecca Austin*
  • Sam Baber*
  • Paige Baccaro*
  • Allison Bailey
  • Camile Bair
  • Theresa Jennings Bair*
  • Katie Bauer*
  • Jason Beloin*
  • Jessica Beloin*
  • Julie Bergen
  • Eric Bergman*
  • Melissa Bergman*
  • Marissa Bernini*
  • Mary Bird*
  • Amy Brauchler*
  • Matt Brookes*
  • Peter Brown*
  • Cody Byrum
  • Damian Burr Caron*
  • Ming Chou*
  • Beth Civitello*
  • Heather Clark*
  • Jamie Clark*
  • Nanci Coleman*
  • Jessica Condil*
  • Diane Condon*
  • Laura Conklin*
  • Annette Sachs Cook*
  • Gina Cozean*
  • Zina Crescenzi*
  • Regan Cutillo*
  • Donna Czaja
  • Lynn D’Amico*
  • Joannie Darling*
  • Jessica Dascanio*
  • Ray Desjardins*
  • Jose Dias*
  • Lisa Dias*
  • Roberth Dickey*
  • Ethan Drain*
  • Rudy Durinick
  • Cathy Cassidy Enama
  • Helena Erskine
  • Rob Fair
  • Susan Faraone
  • Stephanie Farell*
  • Jo Ferjak
  • Melissa Feterra*
  • Kristin Foley*
  • Mikal French
  • Tracey Ouellette Frith
  • Kaye Fung
  • Michelle Gamache*
  • Stephanie German
  • Jennifer Green Gillund
  • Jessica Gordon
  • Kevin Gorman
  • Michelle Grasso
  • Madison Greace
  • Rachel Greenholt
  • Liz Griswold
  • Ashley Gummoe*
  • Marguerite Haaga*
  • Michael Haaga
  • Todd Hajek
  • Alison Haligan
  • Rick Henderson
  • Dana Henry
  • Kaitlin Hickey*
  • Shane Highter*
  • Betsy Shanahan Himmelman*
  • HK Cafeteria Workers
  • HK Cubs, providing childcare for essential workers
  • Meredith Inkel*
  • Paiten Jansek
  • Graig Judge
  • Bob Kadrle
  • Cara Keenan*
  • Josh Kekas*
  • Mary Knispel*
  • Blake Knockwood
  • Charles Koepke
  • Chuck Kowal*
  • Theresa Kuchyt
  • Chris Lawrence*
  • Natasha Lee
  • Susan Lelko
  • Ellen Olsen
  • Christine Williams Link
  • Whitney Loomis
  • Keith Lyke
  • Michael Madonna*
  • Frank Maglione*
  • Heather Marica*
  • Brad Marshall
  • Jane Seagrave Martin
  • Sarah Martone
  • Carolyn Rambus May
  • Marsha McGlynn
  • Jim McGlynn*
  • Dawn Mohammed
  • Lance Monroe
  • Jed Morrisey
  • Abigail Moskey*
  • Richard Mulhall
  • Anjel Munson*
  • Chris Munson
  • Dawn Nelligan*
  • David Newman
  • Yecenia Nowak
  • Dan O’Brien
  • Marina Parlapiano
  • Diane Phipps
  • Lisa Pinter
  • Sargeant William Porter
  • Shana Proulx
  • Carolyn Rambus
  • Stacy Neft Regan
  • Jenna Marie Reinwald
  • Mercedes Riccuti*
  • Darcie Rich
  • Lisa Rivera
  • Mary Robbenbarr-Fretz
  • Kelsey Roberts
  • George Roelofsen
  • Ali Rosenblum Jones
  • Susan Rossi
  • Charlie Rourke
  • Ryan Sadlowski
  • Jennifer Marie Santangelo
  • Christ Sargent
  • Noreen Saunders
  • Meghan Sepega
  • Sarah Harris Sheltra
  • Jamie Shipman
  • Dan Siegel*
  • Maureen Singer*
  • Sue Slane*
  • Alyson Somerville
  • Barbara Soucie
  • Robin Spencer-Klimaszewski
  • Barbara Spong*
  • Amber Stamm*
  • Mary Stanwick
  • Jan Stevens*
  • James Sullivan
  • John Scott Swolka*
  • Lee Swolka
  • Jeannie Swolka*
  • Stan Tee
  • Kristen Tee
  • Christina Tellechea
  • Jason Tetrault
  • Sharon Ticino
  • Nicole Tucker*
  • Lisa Tyndall
  • Kristen Tyrseck
  • Stephen Tyrseck*
  • Donnie Venuti*
  • Carolina Villamizar
  • Maura Wallin
  • Lynn Adams Walton*
  • Barry Weinsteiger*
  • Brian West*
  • Michelle West*
  • Paul Wheeler*
  • Jeanne Whitehead*
  • Erin Wilkos
  • Laura Wing
  • Paige Wink*
  • Diane Zak
  • Jared Zanelli*
  • Michael Zanelli
  • Josh Zarbo
  • Kate Zarbo
  • William Zeidler*
  • Noreen Fortin Zichichi
  • Albert Zichichi

On May 19, Beth held a Facebook Live event where she drew names of the winners (those names are denoted with an asterisk). Her friends Amy Koepke and Lynn Gallant helped as well, gathering prizes and helping hand them out. Beth handed out prizes in Sheldon Park on Saturday, and at Nutmeg Pharmacy in Higganum on Wednesday.

“In times of challenge it is important to come together and support our community,” said Beth. “We need to support local businesses and recognize those who are working on the frontline. I am blessed to have a family, friends, and community who supported me in this endeavor. We are all blessed to be part of the HK community.”

Photo by Beth Gagliardi.

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