Two Arlington residents have received the 2022 Commonwealth Heroine Award from the Massachusetts Commission on the Status of Women.
Christine Bongiorno and Aimee Coolidge are two of 121 women across Massachusetts who were honored at the 19th annual Commonwealth Heroines ceremony on June 22 at the The Venezia in Dorchester.
Bongiorno, head of town health and human services, was recognized by the Select Board on Monday, June 27.
Bongiorno was nominated for the award by Sen. Cindy F. Friedman (D-Arlington) for her positive impact on the community and for dedicating her life to service.
Friedman nominates Bongiorno
“When the nominations for Commonwealth Heroines came out I immediately thought of Christine as the perfect nominee,” said Sen. Friedman in a town news release. “Her work during the pandemic to support and provide services for people not only in Arlington but across the Commonwealth was unparalleled.
"Christine is one of Arlington’s greatest assets, and she deserves every bit of this recognition as a member of the Commonwealth Heroines Class of 2022.”
For the past two years, Director Bongiorno led a team that worked tirelessly to combat the Covid-19 pandemic. During that time, the team coordinated food delivery and distribution of masks to residents in need, enforcement of Covid-19 protections, contact tracing, and testing and vaccination efforts, both at clinics as well as in-home vaccinations for home-bound residents.
"I am so thrilled to receive this designation alongside so many other talented, dedicated, professional and passionate women," Bongiorno said. "It is a true honor to be recognized."
Bongiorno is passionate about improving community mental health services and support to residents in need.
In addition to overseeing the Health Department, she also is responsible for Veterans Services, the Council on Aging, Diversity, Equity & Inclusion and the Youth Counseling Center.
Michlewicz nominates Coolidge
Coolidge was recommended by Rep. Aaron Michlewitz (D-Boston).
The Arlington resident has been a longtime advocate for those experiencing homelessness in Boston. As vice president for community and government relations at Pine Street Inn, Coolidge has provided leadership in
Boston for many years.
Michlewitz wrote: “I recognize that this accomplishments would not be possible without a considerable investment of her time, hard work and dedication. Aimee’s tireless efforts in advocating for permanent housing for the homeless population is truly heartwarming and an inspiration to all of us in the community.”
Commonwealth Heroines are women who have been chosen by their legislators for their extraordinary acts of service that are making a big difference in their communities. According to the commission, they perform unheralded acts daily that make Massachusetts' homes, neighborhoods, cities, and towns better places to live.
The honorees use their time, talent, spirit and enthusiasm to enrich the lives of others in their community and serve as mentors, volunteers and innovators who strive to protect and represent the interests of seniors, victims of violence, children, immigrants and other vulnerable populations.
"They are the glue that keeps a community together," the commission said in a statement.
The program book with bios of each Commonwealth Heroine is available here >>
The commission is an independent state agency created in 1998 to advance the women of Massachusetts to full equality in all areas of life, to promote their rights and opportunities, and to provide them a permanent, effective voice.
Each year, the Massachusetts Commission on the Status of Women recognizes women from Massachusetts communities who perform unheralded acts on a daily basis that make their homes, neighborhoods, cities, and towns better places to live.
These heroines use their time, talent, spirit, and enthusiasm to enrich the lives of others in their community. Many serve as mentors, volunteers, and innovators who strive to protect and represent the interests of seniors, victims of violence, children, immigrants, and other vulnerable populations.
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This news announcement was published Wednesday, June 29, 2022. Some of the information was provided by John Guilfoil Public Relations.
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