Chef Hector Velez from Crosby Commons at Wesley Village received the 2019 Humanitarian Award from the Connecticut Assisted Living Association (CALA) at its annual meeting.

“We are so fortunate to have Hector at our community,” said Lori Pisani, executive director of Crosby Commons, an independent and assisted living community located on the Wesley Village campus at 580 Long Hill Avenue.

“He exhibits a high level of customer service,” added Pisani. “Hector is always striving to meet the residents’ and their loved ones’ needs and recommendations. He truly is the poster child for the best customer service.”

Velez, a Naugatuck resident, was recognized for “filling the hearts and souls” of the residents at Crosby Commons with his meals and culinary creations, according to the nomination submission.

According to CALA, the Humanitarian Award is presented each year to “an individual whose personal integrity, decency, and contributions to the elderly best exemplify the ideals of our member organizations and who serves as an inspiration to all”

Some of the reasons Velez was selected for this award include his commitment to making the culinary experiences of the Crosby Commons’ residents personalized and memorable. From his authentic brick oven pizzas, pig roasts and paella, Velez has been touted by residents and family members as “five star.”

During the award presentation, special moments were highlighted like the surprise lobster dinner dock side after residents returned from a Lighthouse Tour in New London and his “table for two” dinner with a resident who was struggling with health issues.

Velez has been a chef at Crosby Commons for nearly seven years. He often joins with other staff and residents to do cooking demonstrations at area senior centers and participate in community cooking events. Velez received the Values in Action Award from the community in 2016 for his commitment to serving residents with respect and excellence.