Fairfield, CT, December 7, 2015 –The Building Hope Foundation, a non-profit organization affiliated with the Home Builders and Remodelers Association (HBRA) of Fairfield held their annual gala , “A Celebration of Hope” on December 5th at the Water’s Edge at Giovanni’s in Darien. The Building Hope Foundation benefits disadvantaged homeowners, veterans, and handicapped children in Fairfield County, and provides scholarships to young people interested in pursuing construction-related careers, and to HBRA members and dependents.

Each year the HBRA presents awards and recognitions to association members for their excellence in their respective industry. The Building Hope Foundation presents their philanthropic awards to both association members and non-members for their outstanding commitment of donated time and resources to the Building Hope Foundation, a non-profit organization that benefits disadvantaged homeowners, veterans and special needs children in Fairfield County.

“We at Building Hope are truly blessed that many of our industries top professionals are dedicated to our vision for a better world. It seems only fitting that we honor their philanthropic donation of time, money and expertise to our cause,” stated Andrew La Sala, Jr., President of the Building Hope Foundation. “We are also thrilled to be honoring our invited Veterans and two other charities for the first time making this a night to remember and a true Celebration of Hope.”

The awards included the Philanthropists of the Year Award to Interstate Lakeland Lumber for their generous donations of materials and services on 2015 Building Hope projects. A new award, the Steven Berko Community Service Award, was established in part to the work of Steven Berko and his dog Dascha with the children at Sandy Hook Elementary School in the aftermath of that tragedy. There was moving tribute given by Karen King, a teacher at Sandy Hook Elementary on Mr. Berko and how his efforts helped these children deal with the anger and confusion of the events using his therapy dog.  Mr. Berko is a member of the HBRA and the Building Hope boards.

The first Steven Berko Community Service awardees were Campbell Kinsman, a teenager from Ridgefield who started Bear Hug, a non-profit association that sends care packages and teddy bears to children of deployed military personnel, and Joe Kaliko, The Needs Clearing House, Inc., a 501(c)3 that provides a “clearing house” service free of charge, to facilitate the identification and matching of charitable needs with resources from other charitable organizations and individuals to meet those needs.

Building Care Awards were given to the following companies for their commitment and service to the organization: M&T Bank, Norwalk, Ray Sullivan Architect, Reynolds and Rowella, VASE Construction, and Riverside Fence.

The Home Builder awards included a Hall of Fame presentation to the Campbell Family, owners of Rings End Supply. The John P Rowans Meritorious Service Award named after the first president of the association, to Nicholas Yanicelli, Susquehanna Enterprises, LLC for his continued work with the Government Affairs Committee that represents the industry before key government decision-makers on legislative and regulatory issues. 

“Our award winners are deserving of this recognition for the accomplishments they have made within our industry and their commitment to our association’s standard of excellence,” stated Pete Gaboriault, President of the HBRA of Fairfield County. “The support given by all our members have helped our association continue to grow since its inception in 1947.” At

Additional HBRA award recipients included:

Builder of the Year: DeRosa Builders, Anthony and Michael DeRosa, Stamford, a full service construction company. 

Remodeler of the Year:  A&J Romano Construction, John Romano Jr., Stamford, a family owned and operated Remodeling and New Construction business started by John Romano Sr. in 1964.       

Associate of the Year: Michael Church, Real Estate agent with William Pitt Sotheby's, Norwalk. 

Woman of the Year:  Maureen Hanley-Bellitto, United Bank, Westport, a mortgage banking company.

Business of the Year: The Elevator Service Company, for over 50 years, a leading supplier for all of residential and commercial lifting needs.

Supplier of the Year: County TV & Appliance, Norwalk, a Family run business for 3 generations that has been providing Fairfield and Westchester County homes with the Best Brands in Appliances & Electronics.

Member of the Year: John Hertz, Hertz Construction.  Hertz Construction Inc. is a building and development company doing business in Fairfield County since 1983.

New Member of the Year: Jonathan Small, Marlin Electric, LLC.  Marlin Electric has been serving Fairfield County since 2002.

Volunteer of the Year: Birgit Anich, Birgit Anich Staging & Interiors, Norwalk.  An SAR Certified Advanced Staging Professional. 

President's Choice Award: Tony Calistro, Ring’s End. Tony was instrumental in establishing an education program through Ring’s End for Builders, Architects and Building officials throughout the State of Connecticut.

For more information about the Building Hope Foundation or the Home Builders & Remodelers Association of Fairfield County (HBRA), contact Gina Calabro, Executive Officer at (203) 335-7008 or visit www.buildfairfieldcounty.com.

BUILDING HOPE FOUNDATION “A CELEBRATION OF HOPE GALA”