STAATSBURG, N.Y. -- Anderson Center for Autism of Staatsburg honored three local community leaders with the prestigious V.V. Anderson Community Service Award on Monday, March 7.
The honorary ceremony took place at the Saugerties Police Department on High Street. The recipients, whom will be honored again during an event later in the year, were Ulster County Executive Michael Hein, Town Supervisor Greg Helsmoortel, and Saugerties Police Chief Joe Sinagra.
“The individuals in our care often struggle with significant challenging, and sometimes fluctuating, behaviors," Patrick D. Paul, Anderson Center Chief Operating Officer and incoming CEO in 2017 said. "We rely on the actions and understanding of our elected officials such as these gentleman to know Anderson, understand the population we serve, and trust that when we come to them for help, we mean it.”
Hein, Helsmoortel, and Sinagra responded to Neil J. Pollack’s, Anderson Center CEO and Executive Director, request for assistance with an emergent need. The men were asked to obtain immediate approvals to allow for the development of a temporary emergency residence within Anderson’s Saugerties LifeLong LearningSM Center in just 24 hours. As insurmountable as this appeared, the teams prevailed with approval for the site and it was opened the following day.
“Weighing how one can best express appreciation, I do not feel that words are enough,” says Pollack.
“I am truly humbled to receive to the V.V. Anderson Community Service Award, but the reality is that we, as a community, must always recognize the tremendous work and the huge number of lives the Anderson Center touches on a daily basis,” said Ulster County Executive Mike Hein. “I am proud of the collective efforts of Town of Saugerties Supervisor Greg Helsmoortel, Police Chief Sinagra and my office in helping an individual in great need and averted a serious potential crisis. As public servants it is our honor to serve this amazing community.”