The Special Awards Committee worked very hard while deciding the Special Awards in 2016. These are their choices from the many great nominations submitted this year:
Chuck Sherwood Leadership Award
Lisa Byer, Executive Director of Catamount Access TV in Bennington received four separate nominations from four different parts of Vermont for the Chuck Sherwood Leadership Award. In just one nomination: “Lisa has been the driving force behind the Certificate of Public Good renewals for Comcast and Charter for the entire state of Vermont. She has made enormous professional and personal sacrifices to combat greed that jeopardized the future of access media in Vermont.” She diligently and effectively corralled, motivated, and inspired the 26 Access Management Organizations in that state to unify their voice before the Vermont Public Service Board. “Her tireless work to file literally thousands of pages of testimony [showed] fellow PEG media personnel that what we do matters and is worth fighting for.” In another nomination, it was noted that during these three years of intense work she moved twice.
Her roles as president of Vermont Access Network, keeping the state chapter organized and focused on mission, and as leader of her own access center was also praised by all nominators.
Brian Wilson Mentor Award
The Brian Wilson Mentor Award is given to Eric Dresser, Executive Director of Hingham Community Access & Media in Hingham MA. Eric stood out in this category as someone who really cares about his job and family. His nominator, a recent college graduate who had experienced other internships before coming to HCAM, commented on how “Eric makes himself available to his entire staff… even an intern” and how he continued to offer professional advice when this intern moved on to other centers. His dedication to the job is rivaled only by his dedication to his family.
In addition, Eric has taken time to return to Bridgewater State University for career fairs, giving advice to the students of his alma mater. He has the ability to see the best in others and an unparalleled, seemingly natural instinct to nurture their growth.
Rika Welsh Community Impact Award
The Rika Welsh Community Impact Award goes to Georgian Lussier for production of her program “Midlife Matters” over the past three and a half years. This program from WPAA-TV in Wallingford CT features stories from everyday women aged 40 to 75,with reflections on what they do and what they could tell a younger self. The interviewed guests find themselves unexpectedly empowered in the process. They and the viewers get a new perspective on midlife.
Past guests offered comments on the preparation process before recording. They felt they had discovered a good friend in Georgian and realized that they have an inspiring story to offer. Some made courageous life choices after the interview.
“Midlife Matters” is the program that receives the most audience feedback—all positive and from women of all ages—to WPAA-TV. Georgian has covered women’s health, employment, addiction, care giving, veterans, and so many more topics. She has made connections with all her guests and has helped to get the message about their respective causes out to the community.