CTC Awards to community members

Each year, CTC gives two awards to recognize community members for their contributions to advance the work of the coalition.

The Sarah Cummings Coalition Leadership Award goes to an individual who is integrally involved with the daily work of the coalition. The award was first given to Sarah Cummings of Community Action, in appreciation of her years involved with CTC as Co-Coordinator.

The Mike Fritz Community Builder Award goes to a member of the community who contributes to the health and well being of local youth through efforts aligned with the work of the coalition. The award is named for Mike Fritz of Rugg Lumber, a founding member of CTC who contributed funds to help the coalition get off the ground. Cheryl Dukes, the 2016 recipient of the Community Builder Award recently peered back into CTC's origins and interviewed Mike Fritz himself. Here's what she learned:

Interview with Mike Fritz

Getting involved in community; it’s the right thing to do. In this place, in this time, it is important to remember that small things matter, and that great things began with an inkling, a question, or a smattering of a little something that someone decided needed to be done, explored…asked.

 As the current keeper of the Community Builders Award, I was curious about all the award recipients before me, and their work. Brimming with curiosity and exercising a penchant for treasure hunting, I thought it would be instructive to knock on some doors to see who would open up and answer some questions. I wanted to learn about the award’s namesake –Mike Fritz. Thanks to Kat Allen, I was able to meet and speak with the Mike Fritz.
The question I had for him and have been pondering a great deal in these recent weeks – what is community and does it matter? There are plenty of complex, intractable, problems that seem beyond any solution that will require a lot of time, money, energy, brain-and-will-power to resolve. While many turn away, there are some people who lean in to immerse themselves in finding a solution.
Mike Fritz is one of those people. A successful businessman with his own interests living a good life in this community….Why would he become involved with the community’s youth and care about their challenges and difficulties?
How did he pull other people together to name and address the issue using a community involved, collective impact strategy? What can we learn from the tiny beginning of this effort that has grown over the years and is nationally recognized?
Mostly, I wanted to know, “So why did you care so much? You put a lot of energy into this.”
“…It needed to be done.”
“Things like this need to be done all the time, but not everyone steps up to do it. So, why did you care so much?”
He shared reflections on his father’s humble and challenging beginnings in life. Growing up in Wisconsin, he experienced his father’s caring attitude, despite his difficult formative years. He saw how hard his father worked. This strong foundation made Mike feel extremely fortunate to end up where he did.
He succeeded in school and sports, received an appointment to the Naval Academy, went to and returned from the Vietnam War, became a businessman, and wondered at the state of the youth in Greenfield with gaps in their leadership and a lack of care for and recognition of them.
He thought it was the right thing to do working with community. He was pretty blessed, and wanted to give back.

--photo and interview by Cheryl Dukes


Sara Cummings Coalition Leadership Award
2019: Stacey Langknecht
Stacey Langknecht, for her steadfast leadership of the Parent Education Workgroup as she has worked in a variety of positions in the community -- first as a parent actively involved in her kids' school, then as staff at the Salasin Center, the Children's Advocacy Center, and the Gill-Montague Regional School District.

2018: Glen Franklin
Glen Franklin, currently Coordinator of Community Action's Stand Up support group for youth of color, for his years of connecting with young people and inspiring them, always in his joyful, enthusiastic way.

2017: Nicole Zabko
Nicole Zabko, Director of the Greenfield Health Department for 12 years, for her leadership on health initiatives from oral health to tobacco access, and for collaboration with community partners on many issues, including the opioid crisis and promotion of good nutrition and active living. She is pictured here with CTC's Rachel Stoler, who presented the award.

2016: Kara McLaughlin
Kara McLaughlin, Coordinator of the Gill-Montague Community School Partnership, for years of leadership connecting people in the community, and for the attention she has brought to the importance of students' connection to school, and to restorative practices and trauma-informed approaches in interactions with young people.

2015: Jeff Ferranti

Jeff Ferranti, Director of Special Education, Athol Royalston School District, for taking the lead in bringing the district into collaborative relationships with community agencies, for serving on the MassGrad Coalition and the Regional School Health Task Force, and for promoting LifeSkills prevention curriculum and LifeLines Suicide Prevention in Athol-Royalston schools.

2014: Jana McClure

Jana McClure and the Office of District Attorney David Sullivan, for their dedication to prevention and collaboration with the prevention community.

2013: Vickie Rowe
Vickie Rowe, School Nurse at Pioneer Valley Regional School, for her hard work, dedication, and leadership over the life of the coalition. Vickie was a founding member of the Regional School Health Task Force, served on the Coordinating Council, and was active on the CHANGE Team.
2012: Ann Hamilton
Ann Hamilton of the Franklin County Chamber of Commerce, for her advocacy for the CTC's work in the business community and beyond since 2002. Ann is a true leader in helping to facilitate collaborations between local businesses, government and the Coalition.  

Mike Fritz Community Builder Award

2019: Yves Salomon-Fernandez

Yves Salomon-Fernández, President of Greenfield Community College, for reaching out to the community to build on GCC’s successes and reinvent high education in ways that not only strengthen GCC, but contribute to the community as a whole.


2018: Dana Mengwasser

Dana Mengwasser, Executive Director of The Brick House, for leadership and vision at the Brick House, and for fostering collaborative relationships with partner agencies to support young people in the community.

2017: Sherry Patch 

Sherry Patch, Sunderland Town Administrator, for acting on the principal that municipal government plays a vital role in creating an environment that is conducive to physical activity, active transportation and access to healthy food. 

2016: Cheryl Dukes 
Cheryl Dukes of UMass Nursing School, for working to build linkages between UMass and health and prevention initiatives in Franklin County and the North Quabbin. 

2015: Corey Sanderson
Corey J. Sanderson of Second Congregational Church in Greenfield for his heart and dedication on the CTC Coordinating Council. He also serves on the Board of Directors for The Literacy Project, is a member of the Ethics Committee at Baystate Franklin Medical Center, AND he is president of Interfaith Council in Franklin County.


2014: Lucinda Brown
Lucinda Brown, Coordinator of Franklin County's Reinventing Justice Initiative, for an effort to make the courts more user-friendly, for her involvement in CTC from the very beginning, for participation in the Community Laws and Norms Workgroup, and for deep work to create a positive environment for local young people and their families. In her work with the drug courts, she helps those who have made an error to repair harms and rejoin the community.

2013: Jared Libby
Jared Libby, Director of Operations at the Brick House Community Resource Center in Turners Falls, for his faithful presence in numerous community groups, and work with community partners to identify and address the needs of youth and families in Turners Falls and beyond.