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Connecticut Community Hall Of Fame


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Connecticut Hall of Fame


Brett Chernak, Windsor Connecticut. Winner Against the Odds: A friend of mine, Brett Chernak lives without a leg. Brett pulled over to help someone on the side of the road, and was hit by a car. He lost his leg and he has yet to miss a beat. I think his story is very inspirational; he would definitely be a good person to interview and write about. By Joseph F Neri

Carly Foyd, Hannah Morgan and Lauren Oswald, Madison Connecticut. Winning Benefactors:  There are three seniors on the Daniel Hand High School girls lacrosse team that are raising money for the National Kidney Foundation. Team co-captains Carly Foyd, Hannah Morgan and Lauren Oswald raised money for the charity by arranging a game for younger girls after a varsity game. The girls will play with team members and get a chance to play in a real game for the first time. Each girl paid $25 to participate in the event which will be donated to the charity. The event also honors the team’s coach, Kevin Siedlecki, who battled kidney disease and became a coach in the process. The Lax for a Cure event took place May 7, 2011 and my article can cover the event and the girls effort to raise money for the Kidney Foundation, By Ken Liebeskind

Dana Ronde, Hartford Connecticut, Winning Artist: Rondel is a veritable Renaissance woman of the twenty-first century. She refers to herself an “orator, author, artist, spiritual advisor, and community leader,” but she is more than any combination of alliterative expressions could possibly convey. She is a self-actualized person—a life who has found a voice, which expresses itself in a variety of media. Rondel published her first novel, A Flower: It Has Its Own Song, in 2004, independently published in 2006, and nominated in two categories by the Annual African American Literary Awards in 2007. Her second novel, Death Has Wings, was released on 17 July 2010. A portion of all the proceeds generated from her sales go to the Spirit Lake Foundation, which seeks to preserve “the awareness of American Indian culture, tradition, history, and current concerns.” By Sabadino Parker

Hayden, Connecticut. Winning Inspiration: Readers Choice. Hayden was supposed to be the newest addition to the Nowkhah family’s American Dream. Mom raised two vibrant children and Dad had a job as an ESPN sportscaster. Life turned upside-down however, when baby Hayden needed a new heart and wasn’t able to get one in time. Instead of letting it destroy the tight family, they have memorialized Hayden in some clever ways and created an organization called Hayden’s Hope, which has some very important missions. By Katy Thibault

Melissa Carney, Deep River, Connecticut. Winner Against the Odds:  Melissa is 13. As a toddler she lost her sight from Cancer. That has not stopped her from pursuing horseback riding as well as downhill skiing. She has been riding since age four and skiing since eight. She is training to compete in cross-country jumping, stadium jumping and dressage. All of which are very difficult. In 2008 she was named High Hopes Theraputic Rider of the year. She is a high honors student, who has won the National Federation of the Blind Connecticut Chapter’s Braille Readers are Leaders Contest  three years in a row. She is a member of the band and chorus, as well as the drama club and the Deep River Junior Ancient Fife and Drum Corps as a bass drummer.  Melissa is truly an inspiration. She has not let her condition hold her back from anything she has wanted to achieve in life and she lives life to the fullest on a daily basis. She is kind, willing, warm hearted and super excited about everything that she does. We could all learn a little about working with our strengths and overcoming our shortcomings from Melissa who is a winner at life! By Karena Garrity