Berkshire Eagle 06/21/2014, Page B01
Berkshire Community Action Council
By Scott Stafford
Berkshire Eagle Staff
PITTSFIELD — State Rep. Paul Mark and North Adams Walmart store manager Alexis Bartos were honored for their efforts on behalf of the area’s low- income residents by the Berkshire Community Action Council during its annual meeting Friday at the Berkshire Hills Country Club.
Also honored as an outstanding employee was Walter Barnes, who is a facilities specialist but pitches in to help out many other of BCAC’s departments like transportation and weatherization.
BCAC Executive Director Deborah Leonczyk presented the organization’s Community Hero Award to Mark.
Among the efforts Mark has made on behalf of low-income people, Leonczyk said, was his effort to bring much- needed relief in the form of heating aid.
“When it was looking like the state would not support the additional money that we asked for to supplement the everdiminishing fuel assistance program, Paul stepped up with an amendment and fought to include a $20 million allocation in the state budget,” Leonczyk said. “That meant over $800,000 came to Berkshire County.”
She said Mark is “an ordinary person doing extraordinary things for the community and well-deserving of BCAC’s Community Hero Award.”
According to Aleta Moncecchi, BCAC director of community partnerships, Bartos has stepped in a number of times to aid BCAC’s efforts to bolster the lives of low-income families by offering local Walmart employees to help as volunteers and contributing to fundraisers and food pantries.
“Not only has Alexis helped BCAC,” Moncecchi said, “but when asked to help at a fundraiser for the Louison House shelter in Adams with their Bunny Run, she again came through. She had 15 Walmart employees come and help man the tables and participate in the walk. Whenever I have asked for her help, she is willing to go above and beyond to make the event successful.”
Bartos was presented with the Volunteer Leadership Award.
In presenting Walter Barnes with the 2014 Dave Lachowski Service Award, Bryan House, BCAC’s Project RECONNECT director, said Barnes’ fellow employees described him as dedicated, cheerful and happy to do whatever is asked of him.
“In addition to all of this, Walter is a very nice guy and I believe he understands and embodies the mission of the agency on all the important levels,” House said.
BCAC is a countywide nonprofit agency dedicated to assisting the low-income, elderly and working-poor in achieving sustainability and self-sufficiency by providing transportation, heating aid, transitional housing, education, workforce development and energy-saving weatherization.