When Luis Fernandez received his PARC Shining Star Award, with a whoop he leapt across the dance floor. His joy echoed the feelings of many of the people attending the PARC Spring Dance May 7 at Testa’s restaurant in Southington. It had been several years since the non-profit had held its annual dance that celebrates members, families, staff and supporters.
PARC, based in Plainville, was founded 65 years ago to provide individuals with developmental disabilities and their families connections to the community, social opportunities and advocacy.
PARC member Samantha Burgess also received a Shining Star Award at the event, which featured a dinner, dancing and music. She is one of the many individuals who participate in a variety of activities, programs and special events that PARC offers.
The Shining Star Award is given to participants whose positive attitudes promote friendship and enhance activities.
Other honorees were William A. Petit, Sr. and his wife, Barbara. The Petits received the John Sullivan Award, which was established to recognize community service. State Rep. William A. Petit Jr., one of their five children, presented his parents with a state citation.
“I am proud to see PARC recognize my parents for their outreach efforts. They have loved the Plainville community throughout their lives, from PTA to Boy and Girl Scouts, Little League, Town Council, Rotary, the Board of Education, the Historical Society and PARC. They love helping others to create a kind and giving community that helps all. Congratulations, Mom and Dad,” he said.
Petit Sr. said, “We are honored and humbled to receive the John Sullivan Award. We do not volunteer to receive recognition but it is nice to be so honored. It was a wonderful evening being with the PARC board and clients and, of course, our family.” He added that he knew John Sullivan who, as a young salesman, stopped by various stores which the Petits owned.
“We were so thrilled to have such a successful event,” PARC executive director Erica Donovan said. “After a two-year hiatus, it was absolutely wonderful to see our members, families, friends and supporters smiling and enjoying a terrific night together.”
Brenda Rodriguez, who is active with PARC’s senior ladies group, said she loved being able to attend this spring event again – and to get out on the dance floor.