When Tony Sheffy learned he was going to be named the Southington-Cheshire YMCA’s Person of the Year, he was in his own words “floored.”
The Southington-based attorney has long served the town behind the scenes, working for many non-profit and local organizations as both a lawyer and local resident, but Sheffy said he never expected to receive the honor and be placed among a long list of well-known recipients.
“I try and stay out of limelight, just do my work and help as organizations need it. I never expected recognition for it,” said Sheffy, a founding partner of the law firm of Sheffy, Mazzaccaro, DePaolo and DeNigris. “I do what I do because I love it and if it helps an organization in the process, it only makes it that much more worth it.”
John Myers, Executive Director of the , said Sheffy’s involvement in the community, from education to business and arts, made him a natural selection for the annual award.
“Tony has done a lot for the community over the years and yet it seems like every year he finds a way to contribute even more,” Myers said.
The Jonestown, Penn., native has made an impression since coming to town and his list of accomplishments only continues to grow. He was an original member of the Southington Education Foundation and the foundation’s first president, is a member of the ’s board of directors, serves on several chamber committee’s including the executive committee and is the legal compliance chair and an original member of Southington Community Cultural Arts, Inc.
Sheffy has also been involved in a variety of youth organizations in the area including as the founder of the Alumni Mat Club, a member of the Southington Band Backers, a past youth fellowship advisor at Grace Methodist Church, a past president of the and a past president of the Southington Community Theater.
He is currently working with other members of the community to develop a science center in town as well, an effort he said is designed to promote both the sciences and the humanities.
The volunteerism he shows comes from his parents, Sheffy said, after he watched them provide humanitarian services while growing up.
“For me, it’s really about one thing: creating opportunities for young people and opportunities for the community as a whole,” Sheffy said.
Sheffy wasn’t the only one honored by the YMCA earlier this month.
STEPS, represented by youth coordinator Kelly Leppard, was named recipient of the Reaching Out Award and Rachel Wache was honored with the Unsung Hero Award.
The STEPS program, or Southington Townwide Effort to Promote Success, has been around for four year, securing $125,000 in grant money and helping provide opportunities for today's youth.
Wache, the immediate past president of the Women’s Auxiliary, has been involved in countless programs over the past six years, many which Myers said don’t usually drawn much attention from the press, including the following:
- Care package program – started with our troops who were serving in Bosnia but has continued with wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
- Heroes to Hometown program to help returning Southington troops with injuries.
- Memorial Service put together for a Southington soldier killed in Iraq.
She has also been directly involved in literacy drives, the town’s Touch-A-Truck program and countless fundraising efforts.
“For myself, for all of us, these awards are a great honor, but that’s not what it’s about,” Wache said. “We are in a position to help people and that’s all we were trying to do.”
The trio will be honored at the YMCA’s annual meeting on Feb. 1, 2012.