ADVERTISING CLUB OF WESTERN MASSACHUSETTS ANNOUNCES 2012 PYNCHON AWARD MEDALISTS
SPRINGFIELD, MA – Cast in bronze, the William Pynchon Award bears the name
and likeness of Springfield’s founder, and is inscribed with a simple but powerful quotation:
“They honor us whom we honor.”
This year, three distinguished individuals have been selected to receive the William
Pynchon Medal and induction into the Order of William Pynchon, established in 1915 by the
Advertising Club of Western Massachusetts, then known as the Publicity Club. The honor is given annually to individuals from the region who have demonstrated exceptional community and civic service.
The 2012 honorees are Ellen W. Freyman of Longmeadow, Stephen E. Hays of Springfield
and Robert J. Perry of Wilbraham. Selection of these individuals marks the 98th year the Pynchon Awards have been presented.
Ellen W. Freyman – A Helping Hand and Heart for the Underserved
Nominated by Susan Jaye Kaplan of Link to Libraries, and a 2009 Pynchon medalist
Ellen Freyman is a full time lawyer and humanitarian who has spent a large portion of her successful career creating opportunities for some of our most underserved populations.
She worked with a team of community volunteers to save the Dunbar Community Center from closing. She co-founded the nonprofit organization On Board Inc. which works with area boards to help them achieve diversity and cultural sensitivity.
She’s also made it her mission to help Somali families who’ve made Springfield their home for the past three years. Freyman’s found them housing and helped furnish their homes. She’s helped them find jobs and discover new skills. She’s mentored, tutored and rallied for adult literacy; she’s also worked with City officials to facilitate services for the Somalis and add educational services for their children through the Springfield School Department. But her efforts go above and beyond advocacy.
Freyman has also helped launch a Somali youth soccer team, single-handedly arranging for funding for their uniforms, transportation to and from games, and money to purchase gas and equipment. She’s also been instrumental in finding the fields where they play, and securing a coach who calls the plays. Her friends and colleagues say she is a real champion.
A partner with the law firm Shatz, Schwartz & Fentin P.C., Freyman serves as vice president of the Springfield Technical Community College (STCC) Foundation, which works to assist the college in meeting its academic goals and providing educational opportunities to members of the community. She also serves on more than ten additional boards in the area focused on a wide array of educational and community service-oriented pursuits and she’s working with the City’s Planning Department in rewriting the Springfield Zoning Ordinance that’s currently before City Council for approval.
In May of this year, Freyman was named the 2012 Woman of the Year by the Professional Women’s Chamber, a division of the Affiliate Chambers of Commerce of Greater Springfield (ACCGS).
Freyman lives in Longmeadow with her husband Richard. They have two sons, Neal and Stephen.
Stephen E. Hays – Arts Impresario: The Role of a Lifetime
Nominated by Carol Kinsley, a 2003 Pynchon medalist, and husband Ken
Steve Hays believes in the transformative power of the arts. A playwright, pianist, and composer, he established StageWest in 1967 and remained its producing director through 1984 when it was dissolved. That year, he founded the Boar’s Head Festival, a re-creation of a musical medieval festival conceived in Oxford, England that now attracts more than 4,000 people annually to Trinity Church in Springfield.
In 1987, he founded The Drama Studio in Springfield’s Forest Park neighborhood, one of only a handful of after-school acting conservatories in the U.S. where young people ages nine to 18 can intensively study a theater curriculum. Each year, more than 200 youths take classes in acting, improvisation, musical theater, writing, and other performance skills. But it’s about more than performance training. It’s about changing kids’ lives.
On the Drama Studio stage students take cues beyond stage direction. Here, they are free to express themselves in a welcoming environment, exploring creativity, sharing ideas, emotions and life stories without fear of ridicule, peer pressure, or competitive behavior. A second home for many students, they grow into their lives here, developing self confidence and social maturity, life skills and leadership abilities.
Hays believes everyone has gifts to share and the arts are a way to express these talents. He is also the creator of Illumination Night for the Forest Park Civic Association, and the chief organizer of the former Springfield Arts Festival. He chaired the Springfield Cultural Council and the Springfield Historic Commission. He is also the 2011 recipient of the WFCR Arts & Humanities Award, given each year to an outstanding individual in the arts and humanities community of western New England.
Hays and his wife Catherine have lived in Forest Park since 1970. Their daughter Amelia Hays-Rivest heads the Drama Studio’s teaching program. She and her husband Rob live in Springfield with their two daughters, Sierra and Lalia. Hays’ daughter Abney Seyler and husband Jeff live in Wilbraham with their two daughters, Charly and Cally.
Robert J. Perry – A Gentleman and Scholars’ Program Founder
Nominated by York Mayo, a 2010 Pynchon medalist and former executive director of Springfield Habitat for Humanity
As a partner with the accounting firm Meyers Brothers Kalicka, Bob Perry realized the importance of keeping a business operating without hitches, delays or miscalculations. As a volunteer for several nonprofit organizations, including the Greater Springfield Habitat for Humanity, Greater Springfield YMCA, Putnam Technical Fund, Children’s Chorus of Springfield and Millbrook Scholar’s Program, he realized the importance of helping people account for their own lives.
The mission of the Millbrook Scholars’ Program, under the auspices of The Children’s Study Home, is to enable young adults in Springfield with potential, but difficult home circumstances the chance to complete high school and community college, by providing comprehensive housing, academic tutoring and a life skills mentoring program. Bob Perry has been fully involved with the program since its inception, providing the roof over their heads as well as the everyday life lessons they need to succeed.
Currently, he works daily with four young men aged18 to 22 who live in the house on Jonquil Street. He takes them grocery shopping; teaches them how to budget their money and time; taxi’s them where they need to go, and takes them places they’ve never been. In short, he’s the dad they may never have had.
The program began with Nick Perez, who was about to graduate high school when he realized he couldn’t continue because his home situation was intolerable and dangerous. He reached out for help and soon the Millbrook Scholars’ Program was born. Today, the 20-year old Perez is a straight A sophomore at Springfield Technical Community College. He says being with Perry has changed his life, showing him there are good people trying to make things better in Springfield.
The Scholars’ Program is just one example. Others include Habitat for Humanity, where Perry has served as president of the board for eight years, just recently extending he and his wife’s commitment to the organization by contributing $70,000 toward a new Habitat home in honor of their 35th wedding anniversary. He also served as a board member for more than ten years at the Greater Springfield YMCA. In 2011, he was awarded the Hometown Hero Award by Reminder Publications, Inc. and BusinessWest’s Difference Makers Award.
Perry lives in Wilbraham with wife Bobbi. They have two sons, Jason and Matthew who live in Springfield.
Nominations for inductees into the Order of William Pynchon are reviewed by a Board of
Trustees comprised of six recent past presidents of the Advertising Club of Western
Massachusetts: Alta Stark, senior communications specialist with Baystate Health; Marsha
Montori, owner of Six Point Creative Works; Chris Buendo, Realtor and associate partner
with Keller Williams Realty; Rick DeBonis, senior vice president of marketing at Hampden Bank of Hampden Bank; Gary Czelusniak, marketing director with Insuritas, and Barbara Perry, vice president of sales and marketing for Reminder Publications, Inc.
98th William Pynchon Awards Dinner
The awards dinner and ceremony for the 98th Annual William Pynchon Awards will be held Thursday, November 15, 2012 from 6 – 9 p.m. at Chez Joseph in Agawam, Massachusetts. Rich Tettemer, news anchor and reporter, 22News will serve as emcee. For ticket information call the Club Administrator at 413-736-2582.
ABOUT THE ORDER OF WILLIAM PYNCHON
The Order of William Pynchon was established in 1915 by the Advertising Club of Western Massachusetts (then known as the Publicity Club) for the purpose of giving public recognition to those citizens in the region who have rendered distinguished civic service. The award bears he name of Springfield’s founder, whose life and achievements typify the ideals of promoting citizenship and the building of a better community, qualities the award is intended to recognize and encourage. Recipients are presented with a bronze medal bearing Pynchon’s likeness and inscribed with the quotation: “They honor us whom we honor.”
ABOUT THE ADVERTISING CLUB OF WESTERN MASSACHUSETTS:
The Advertising Club of Western Massachusetts is the premier organization for all marketing and communications professionals in western Mass and northern Connecticut. The club offers its members the ability to advance and enrich the advertising community, by acting as a catalyst for idea exchange, professional development, and creative energy. The club offers its members a forum to learn, network, and recognize achievement and give back to build a stronger advertising and marketing community. Visit online at adclubwm.org for more information and a complete listing of Pynchon Recipients since 1915.