By Jennifer L. Warren
BEACON – For Brooke Simmons, all it took was one glance around the Roundhouse to be absolutely convinced the past 10 years have been nothing short of pure magic.
Inside the restaurant, the room was filled with elegantly dressed, joyful guests as they lovingly came together to celebrate the powerful impact of collaboration and community.
Whether it was a fitness group carrying the vibe of unbridled energy and the importance of health, a native resident running 100 miles from Beacon to Albany as well as biking across the country in support of human rights while spreading the potency of positivity, the unwavering altruism of a local supermarket, or a former Mayor who has never stopped putting his small City first, there was an indisputable, tangible energy that permeated throughout the 10 Year I AM Beacon Gala Thursday night.
“I was blown away by the turnout for our first-ever Gala; the energy in the room was both electric and heart-warming,” explained Simmons, of I AM Beacon and whose sister, Tara, was one of the evening’s honorees. “For me, looking around the room, I felt the attendees were a beautiful representation of the many individuals who give back and care for the Beacon community.”
That compassion for community runs deep in Beacon and something that lies at the very epicenter of the Simmons family- created I AM Beacon’s mission.
“Our belief is that every individual has something to contribute to the community,” said Reuben Simmons, brother of both Brooke and Tara and also of I AM Beacon.
Those contributions have been impressively tallying up over the last decade. Fifty community-wide events, providing 327 turkeys for families in need, distributing 800 school supplies, developing four youth programs and awarding more than $30,000 in college scholarships to Beacon youth. Whether it’s a summer art program, the late August Back 2 School Block Party, or early fall I Run Beacon event, it’s always all about “unlocking the power of community and connection.”
And so too that very spirit could be felt rippling throughout the night at the Gala, which included; a cocktail hour, dinner, award presentation, entertainment by Just Two, highlights of the I AM Beacon journey as well as all those who have helped dispersed throughout the night and much, much more. Each of the honorees received a special plaque, commemorating their deep significance and indelible impact on the Beacon community. It was a recognition that was not taken lightly.
“I could not be more delighted to have our group, Beacon Endurance, recognized tonight as a contributor to the Beacon community,” said Jane Cervone, who accepted the plaque and who along with founder, Stephen Heath, oversees the fitness group. “We are so humbled and proud to be recognized and want to do everything possible to continue to support the wonderful community of Beacon by spreading the message of the importance of health and fitness and how we are all better together.”
Those receiving awards were; Dabashi Family (Yvonne McNair Award), Ethan Grogan and Cindy Pomarico (Pioneer Awards), Dr. Matt Landahl and Randy Casale (Leadership Awards), Tara Simmons (Trailblazer Award), and Roundhouse and Lanc & Tully (Corporate Philanthropy Recognition.) Certificates of Excellence for partnership and service to the community went to; Beacon Hoops, Beacon Elks Lodge #1493, Beacon Endurance, Contender eSports, St. Andrews Food Pantry, Howland Public Library, Beacon City School District and Salem Tabernacle.