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Anderson Center Honors Elected Officials with Community Service Award

Date March 18, 2016


Anderson Center Honors Elected Officials with Community Service Award

On Monday, March 7th, Anderson Center for Autism of Staatsburg, N.Y. honored three local community leaders with the prestigious V.V. Anderson Community Service Award. The honorary ceremony took place at the Saugerties Police Department on High Street. The recipients, whom will be honored again during an event later in the year, were Ulster County Executive Michael Hein, Town Supervisor Greg Helsmoortel, and Saugerties Police Chief Joe Sinagra.

Dr. Victor V. Anderson founded Anderson School in 1924. He believed that children with special needs would benefit from an integrated program that comprehensively addressed their educational, emotional, and social needs. He began with one student. More than 90 years later, Anderson Center for Autism continues Dr. Anderson’s work, currently serving more than 200 children and adults with a primary diagnosis of autism.

Patrick D. Paul, Anderson Center Chief Operating Officer and incoming CEO in 2017 explains, “The individuals in our care often struggle with significant challenging, and sometimes fluctuating, behaviors. We rely on the actions and understanding of our elected officials such as these gentleman to know Anderson, understand the population we serve, and trust that when we come to them for help, we mean it.”

Mr. Hein, Mr. Helsmoortel, and Mr. Sinagra responded to Neil J. Pollack’s, Anderson Center CEO and Executive Director, request for assistance with an emergent need. The men were asked to obtain immediate approvals to allow for the development of a temporary emergency residence within Anderson’s Saugerties LifeLong LearningSM Center in just 24 hours. As insurmountable as this appeared, the teams prevailed with approval for the site and it was opened the following day.

“Weighing how one can best express appreciation, I do not feel that words are enough,” says Pollack.

Paul presented the award on behalf of the Board of Trustees of Anderson Foundation for Autism and the Anderson Center for Autism Boards of Trustees.

“I am truly humbled to receive to the V.V. Anderson Community Service Award, but the reality is that we, as a community, must always recognize the tremendous work and the huge number of lives the Anderson Center touches on a daily basis,” said Ulster County Executive Mike Hein.  “I am proud of the collective efforts of Town of Saugerties Supervisor Greg Helsmoortel, Police Chief Sinagra and my office in helping an individual in great need and averted a serious potential crisis.  As public servants it is our honor to serve this amazing community.”

About Anderson Center for Autism
Anderson Center for Autism is New York’s premier autism treatment and care center. It is a not-for-profit organization located in picturesque Staatsburg, N.Y., dedicated to providing the highest quality programs possible for both children and adults with autism. It employs 800 specialists who are expertly trained to diagnose, treat, and care for adults and children on the autism spectrum.