Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Bay State Chapter of Freedoms Foundation to present G. Washington Honor Medals on Nov. 9

Friends of the Belle Isle Marsh, Hospitality Homes of Boston, the Ipswich River Watershed Association, and Thomas Materazzo of Boston to be Honored at Ceremonies in East Boston

The Bay State Chapter of Freedoms Foundation at Valley Forge will present prestigious George Washington Honor Medals to two community environmental preservation groups and an organization that provides temporary housing to families visiting the City of Boston during a loved one’s medical procedure. The Chapter will also present a “Spirit of '76” Award for meritorious service and patriotism to a long-time veteran’s affairs official in the City of Boston.

The awards will be presented at the Bay State Chapter’s 33st Annual Awards Luncheon on Saturday, November 9, 2013, at 12:30 p.m., in Spinelli’s Banquet Facility, Day Square, East Boston. Tickets are $40.

The Honor Medal will be presented to: The Friends of the Belle Isle Marsh; Hospitality Homes of Boston; and the Ipswich River Watershed Association.

“The Friends of Belle Isle Marsh, Hospitality Homes, and the Ipswich River Watershed Association all represent the best ideals of America – selfless service to community, helping those in need and preserving and protecting our natural resources,” said Joseph V. Ferrino, Sr., Founder and Executive Director of Bay State Chapter, Freedoms Foundation. “We honor these organizations with the George Washington Honor Medal because they have made a difference in the lives of countless citizens around our state and across this country.”

Thomas Matarazzo of Boston will be honored with the Bay State Chapter “Spirit of '76” Award for his dedication to the good works of Freedoms Foundation, and his many years of serving and supporting military veterans in the City of Boston.

The Friends of the Belle Isle Marsh is a grassroots environmental organization, formed in the early 1980s to help preserve the marsh and publicize its importance as an urban natural resource. Belle Isle Marsh is a 350-acre reservation administered by the state Department of Conservation and Recreation. Among the largest surviving salt marches in Boston Harbor, Belle Isle features plants and wildlife now rare to the Boston metropolitan area. The Friends of Belle Isle Marsh is a group of community-based volunteers who seek to protect the marsh from development and promote its environmental significance through educational and recreational activities available to the public.
Hospitality Homes of Boston provides free short-term housing in volunteer host homes and donated apartments for families and friends of patients seeking care at Boston-area hospitals. Since 1983, this unique home-away-from-home experience has brought a compassionate response, as well as emotional and financial relief to guests in need. These services are made possible by the generosity of volunteer hosts and supporters. Thirty years ago, Hospitality Homes was the first program of its kind in the nation, and since then, the organization has served more than 14,000 families.

The Ipswich River Watershed Association (IRWA) serves as a “Voice of the River” that was once one of the most stressed waterways in the country and is now being brought back to health and vitality thanks to the hard work and caring of its volunteers and professional staff. Through advocacy, education and conservation, the IRWA has improved stream flow in the Ipswich and saved the river. The organization has reached thousands of people through educational programs, inspiring people to enjoy the scenic beauty of the river and use its resources wisely. IRWA offers use of its canoe dock, sponsors fireside chats, develops school curricula and educational materials, offers programs on how to save water, supports low-impact development and water resource protection and trains citizen-scientists who help monitor the health of the Ipswich River.

Thomas Materazzo of Boston – the Spirit of ’76 Award winner – was the Commissioner of Veterans Services for the City of Boston for more than 27 years. He is a U.S. Army veteran who served in combat during World War II. As Veterans Services commissioner, he was instrumental in erecting memorials to those killed in action in the Korean and Vietnam wars, along with refurbishing the World War II Monument. He also initiated a program to award more than 200 high school diplomas to WWII, Korean and Vietnam veterans who left school before graduation to join the service. He is a long-time member of the Bay State Chapter of Freedoms Foundation and is a Past President of the organization.

Tickets to the Bay State Chapter awards luncheon are $40 and are available from Chapter Founder and Executive Director Joseph V. Ferrino by calling 617-846-2122.

Freedoms Foundation honors Americans who go above and beyond in their efforts to educate their communities about the values of good citizenship, either through teaching or by example. The foundation has recognized several thousand dedicated individuals and organizations in its 63-year existence.

Freedoms Foundation is a non-profit organization dedicated to teaching all citizens the principles upon which our nation was founded. The organization seeks to convey the close link between the rights and the responsibilities of citizens in a free society.