Pat Tarasovic earns Valley United Way’s Charles H. Flynn Humanitarian Award

Patricia “Pat” Tarasovic will receive the Charles H. Flynn Humanitarian Award.

Patricia “Pat” Tarasovic will receive the Charles H. Flynn Humanitarian Award.

Valley United Way / Contributed photo

SHELTON — Patricia “Pat” Tarasovic, long known for her efforts in battling food insecurity in the Valley, will receive the Charles H. Flynn Humanitarian Award next month.

The Valley United Way board announced its selection of Tarasovic, an Oxford resident who has spent 25 years serving the Valley United Way, this past week. She will formally receive the award during the organization’s Annual Community Meeting to be held virtually on May 5.

“I am incredibly honored to have been chosen," Tarasovic said. “Mr. Flynn's lifelong dedicated service to the entire Valley is legendary. Working with Valley United Way for 25 years, I learned the solemnity of this award and now, joining past recipients, so many of whom I greatly admire and respect, (is) truly a gift to me.”

Tarasovic said, throughout the years, people would say to her that she had a passion for what she did at Valley United Way.

“Looking back, I see, I truly did,” she said. “I loved being able to help individuals, families, working corporations and high school youth along with being able to connect volunteers with agencies. I will endlessly remember the many people who have crossed my path. So many have left long-lasting footprints on my heart.”

The award is named for the late Flynn, who was, at the time of his death, editor of The Evening Sentinel, a daily newspaper that was the main source of community information of the Lower Naugatuck River Valley.

Flynn had also been one of the founders of the Valley United Fund and had been president of the Ansonia Community Chest. In 1968, he led that organization into a merger with the Derby-Shelton Community Chest and the Seymour United Fund, which resulted in the formation of what is now known as the Valley United Way.

The Humanitarian Award was established because of his lifelong dedicated service to the entire Valley. The award was presented for the first time in 1971 to Alice Russ Cochran of Shelton.

Tarasovic, according to a Board statement, was an ideal candidate to receive this year’s award.

“Her 25 years of service while working with Valley United Way allowed her to touch the lives of Valley citizens in all five Valley towns on a regular basis,” the statement read. “Through her 25 years of service with the United Way, she was integral to many initiatives and provided tremendous service to the non-profits in the Valley Region.”

“I have been fortunate enough to see first-hand the deep respect and profound admiration so many have for Pat in the community,” David Kennedy, Interim President/COO, said. “It is clearly a respect and admiration that has been earned through hard work and consistent care, year in and year out, for over 25 years.”

Tarasovic joined Valley United Way after volunteering in Oxford for many years. During her time at VUW, she founded the Corporate and High School volunteer councils, which have provided non-profits and individuals with hundreds of projects, and thousands of hours of service. Such initiatives helped tackle food insecurity in the Valley and assisted vulnerable families in need through programs like the Back to School Drive and Holiday Giving, officials said.

One of the major projects Tarasovic led, along with the Corporate Volunteer Council, was Harvest House, a community-wide initiative to build a food donation clearinghouse that provided hundreds of thousands of pounds of nonperishables to local pantries since 2005.

She has received multiple awards over the years from Griffin Hospital, the Greater Valley Chamber of Commerce, Health and Human Services Council, was named a Paul Harris Fellow from the Derby Shelton Rotary Club, was a delegate to the Valley All-America City Team, a member of the founding committee of the LEAD/Leadership Program and in 2015, was appointed by the governor to become a board member of the Connecticut Corporation for National Service.

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