Mission Hill Main Streets Awards night (continued) The evening exceeded expectations with remarkable presentations and dining delicacies prepared by Lilly’s Gourmet Pasta, Chacho’s, and the Laughing Monk Café. The cuisine is always a hit but this year’s awardees added to the sizzle.
The 2017 Outstanding Public Servant prize bestowed upon retiring Boston Police Community Services Officer Jerry Smart brought the crowd to its feet. Jerry’s heartfelt remarks about his initial reluctance in accepting such an assignment led to touching reminiscences about how the posting in Mission Hill transformed him into a better cop and a better man brought out several Kleenex tissues in the audience. His will be big brogues to fill.
Speaking of shoes, the next awardee’s sneakers have a more global significance. The importance of our youth to the future vitality of the neighborhood prompted Main Streets to unveil its first “Inspiration to Youth Award” and presented it to a young lady from the Mission Main housing development, Sheylani Peddy. I’m sure local basketball fans recognize Shey’s name from her days as a senior counselor at the Tobin Community Center and her record-setting performance in Massachusetts high school ball. Scoring over 1,000 points in two years at Temple University brought her Atlantic Ten Player of the Year honors while being drafted by the WNBA Chicago Sky in 2012. Peddy’s career in international women’s professional ball garnered her global acclaim after a rookie year in Israel, followed by Austrian League MVP honors the following year, and then being named the German League MVP in 2015, 2016, and 2017. In Germany, they shout “Daran besteht kein Zweifel” meaning “No doubt about it” when referring to Shey’s talents as an athlete. We in Mission Hill say, “Danke” for her humility and dedication displayed to young people around the world, especially to those in Mission Hill.
The newly arrived hotel manager at EnVision Hotel, Richard Walker, seemed puzzled when I asked him to the awards event, but he quickly figured it out when he received our “Golden Broom Award” for operating the Cleanest Business on Mission Hill. Dozens of shopkeepers whispered to him of their envy for the highly coveted prize, but all acknowledged that EnVision merited the plaque especially with all the heavy construction in its midst. Walker stated that he’s still been selling-out for months, which is a testament to the little boutique hotel’s outstanding reputation for excellence. Main Streets is very proud to have them here.
MHMS’ biggest prize is selected by the Fitzgerald family and given to a person whose actions personify the boundless love for the Mission Hill neighborhood as exhibited by the late local state Rep. Kevin Fitzgerald. Tricia Fitz and her son Michael presented the award to the legendary Senior Advocate Laura Adams whose acceptance speech made the night. The always understated and reserved Laura displayed an unexpected exuberance and hilarious riff, which stunned the crowd. Laura stole the show…a la Kevin Fitz!
Each year MHMS awards a photograph of our beloved basilica spires to worthy individuals who, by virtue of their just “being themselves,” enrich our community. Called Great Neighbor Awards and alphabetically they were awarded to;
SUZANNE DIMECO, co-owner of Boston Green Realty, who with her husband Leland will be constructing an energy efficient development at the old KofC hall while providing a new home for our longtime Knights Council. Two years ago, Suzanne constructed wooden box frames around the street trees and planted flowers beautifying the Tremont streetscape. This year, Suzanne crafted several more during the mayor’s annual clean-up along with the beautification committee members she created with Jennifer Sandlin.
COLLIN FEDOR, aide to local state Rep. Jeffrey Sanchez, claims he fell in love with the Mission Hill neighborhood and winning the affection of its residents. This thoughtful gentleman puts his heart, soul, and credibility into his work and caught the eye of MASCO where he has just begun the next phase of his career and will continue to be a great neighbor.
The Great Woman standing behind Great Man Charlie Monahan is the senior vice president and chief of staff at MCPHS University, MARGUERITE “PEG” JOHNSON, and nothing is ever a problem or imposition for Mission Hill. Peg tries to stay “under the radar” on behalf of MCPHS, yet her performance personifies the concept of town/gown cooperation.
Former Penguin Pizza manager KEITH PATRICK opened a new sandwich and poutine shop called GRUB bringing authentic Philadelphia cheese steaks with him. He’s been going gangbusters, helping other merchants, caring for the Mission Hill neighborhood and recently marrying his work partner Lucia Austria at the Mission Church Basilica.
When BARBARA PETERSON and PHIL QUARTIER settled on Hillside Street their enthusiastic and complementary personalities put them on the Mission Hill map. Barbara’s horticultural flair and artistic eye and Phil’s friendly and outgoing manner made them true neighborhood activists. Barbara and Phil are soon retiring to Florida, and this husband and wife team has been beloved neighbors and will be missed.
JEFF PIKE’s role as chief operating officer at Mass Eye and Ear has made him a fixture in the community, even hosting the MHMS Awards event for us in their lobby last year. Jeff encourages his employees to shop and dine locally, promotes job openings to locals and sets the tone for everyone at Mass Eye & Ear to become great neighbors and corporate citizens.
No one is more committed to preserving and promoting indigenous plant life, our wooded parcels, the remaining fruit trees and the parkland for the use of all than DENNIS PULTINAS. No one told him to maintain the beautiful woodlands atop Mission Hill…he just does it! His longtime commitment to the Mission Hill Little League gives one an indication how Dennis’ priorities are well in order. He and his wife Alison are why Mission Hill continues to be such a delightful community for everyone.
JENNIFER SANDLIN’s intelligent enthusiasm for Mission Hill is a reason why so many young people wish to stay in the community. Supporting the St Vincent de Paul walks, community clean-ups, civic meetings, building gardens or planting flowers, when she sees something wrong, she wants to fix it. Co-founder of the beautification committee she’s recruited dozens of young people to beautify the hill and has ideas, energy and warmth to motivate others to become great neighbors.
Finally, keep your eyes open to become one of the first customers at the Milkweed Café and Bistro set to open soon following final inspections and finishing touches. Located at 1508 Tremont St. at the corner of Burney Street, owner Ben Johnson will be featuring a soft opening throughout July and will undoubtedly become a Mission Hill destination.