June 7, 2023 (North Adams, MA) – BFAIR (Berkshire Family & Individual Resources) held its Annual Meeting of the corporation on May 16th at the Williams Inn. The meeting was led by Pete Mirante, Board Chairperson, who welcomed guests and State Representative John Barrett. Newly elected Board members introduced at the meeting included Barbara Chaput, Jake Dabrowski, Dana Johnson, and Marissa Kirchner.
Rich Weisenflue, CEO, remarked that a dynamic team of agency staff have driven the organization forward through both challenging and exciting times, are critical to providing high quality services and that “our staff’s compassion and human connection placing the person served first is the BFAIR difference.”
The meeting included awards for employees with five or more years of service, with special recognition of Terry Blair, Liz Rolland, Nancy Torres, and Jackie Thomas for twenty-five years of service and their commitment to people with disabilities receiving support from BFAIR.
In addition, Rebecca Ritcher, HR Generalist, received a Leadership award in recognition of her professional accomplishments, Isaac Otchere, Residential House Manager, received the Crosby/Quintal Memorial award, and Bill Hensley and Matt Girard both received the Edward Frampton Award presented to people served in recognition of self-determination and accomplishing personal goals.
Berkshire Scenic Railway was presented with a Community Partner award for hosting a high school intern receiving services through BFAIR’s Pre-Employment Training program. Also, for his prior years of Board work and role as Chairperson, Brittany Dorwin on behalf of ‘We are the People,’ a self-advocacy group, presented Alex Kastrinakis with a copy of a book the group created: Inclusion Is. Brittany noted, “We dedicated this book to Alex for all his support, dedication, and advocacy on behalf of BFAIR.”
Tara Jacobsen, Director of Development, shared how donors and community support furthers the BFAIR mission in several ways, including promoting independence, creating accessibility, and enhancing program resources on an individual basis and program wide. “As we work towards the equity of people of all abilities, your support is essential. Whether you are one of the many staff present tonight who put their heart and soul into this work, or you are a community member who expands BFAIR’s work through providing opportunities or donating – you are making a difference. Each of you in this room is the heart of BFAIR, and we are so thankful.”
Since 1994, BFAIR has been providing Adult Family Care (AFC), Residential, Employment and Day Services for adults and children with developmental disabilities, Acquired Brain Injury and Autism. BFAIR is a proud member agency of the Northern Berkshire United Way and the Williamstown Community Chest.