6 - April 6, 2012 | Hudson - Litchfield News
6 5 3 8 4 Catie’s Closet Opens Doors 9 2 7 3 9 1
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Catie’s family - Anne-Marie (Mom), Victor (Dad), Dan (brother), Sam (sister) Mike (brother)
by Maureen Gillum If you haven’t heard of Catie’s Closet yet, rest assured you soon will. That’s because it is a brilliant solution to one of today’s greatest needs - supporting underprivileged children - and is championed by sisters-in-law, Anne Marie (Gagnon) Bisson, Laura Bisson (two-term Hudson School Board member), and three other indispensable Catie’s Closet (CC) board members, Mickey Cockrell, Denise Trombly, and Lynne Baril. The board mimics their inspiration, Anne Marie’s life-affirming daughter and Laura’s niece, Catie, who tragically died at 20, two years ago. In short, Catie’s Closet offers students facing financial hardship or homelessness help with fundamental needs, like clothing and toiletries, in the hope they can be better prepared to focus on their education. It strives to replace the effects of barriers, such as lack of clothing, hygiene products, or transportation issues, with hope, support and confidence so students may attend school and succeed in life. The inspiration behind Catie’s Closet is Catherine (aka Catie) Bisson, who died in March 2010 at the tender age of 20. Catie had faced a lifetime of obstacles and triumphed over them with characteristic optimism. Catie’s Closet was created to honor her unwavering determination, optimistic attitude, unselfish character, and generous spirit.
Te “Hudson Crew,” seated from left to right are Brian Knapp,
Jill Rosier, Sue Weis, Katie Anderson. Standing: Jeanna Knapp, Frank Rosier, George Weis, Tracy Gendreau, Mike Gendreau
took a giant leap of faith and rented space in Dracut, MA in late 2011, as their Distribution Center and Administration Office. This enabled greater efficiency in accepting, sorting and distributing goods to the ever-expanding in-school closets.
In another CC milestone,
Te life-affirming Catie Bisson (1990-2010) strongly believed in “the benefits of a good education” as the
“foundation of a strong and intelligent generation,” the key to “opening doors” and “building tolerance and peace.”
She practiced “paying it forward” and dreamed of “inspiring people to be the best they can be.” Trough generous community support and the growing success of Catie’s Closet, her positive legacy impacts many regional children in need each day.
more than 200 people attended the First Annual Gala to benefit Catie’s Closet held at the Tewksbury (MA) Country Club on March 24, where more than $22,000 was raised through ticket sales, 54 auction items and 27 raffle baskets. “The benefit was an
awesome success, far better than we ever imagined,” reported Catie’s Aunt, Laura Bisson. “It was a wonderful night to celebrate Catie and how she always believed in helping those less fortunate.” Laura also thankfully commented that Gala support from friends, family and the community was “overwhelming and humbling.” A second Annual Gala date will be announced soon. A notable highlight of the Gala was directly hearing from one of the many hundreds of grateful Catie’s Closet recipients in the region. A high school Junior, Alexandra, powerfully shared how “hard it was to initially go into the closet” but once she was there, “it opened up a whole new world for me. For once I felt like the other students.” Catie’s Closet was founded to foster confidence in local students
Anne-Marie and Victor Bisson (Catie’s parents) and Founders of Catie’s Closet
Anne Marie Bisson, CC Founder and President, recently shared about her daughter, “Ever since Catie was a baby, she was a survivor. Catie faced many challenges throughout her life, from major reconstructive heart surgeries, to diligently working to keep up with her schoolwork and achieving honor role.” She explained, “For the students who are struggling in school, whether it’s for acceptance, attendance or grades, I wanted Catie’s story, and her drive and desire to triumph over adversity to inspire them.” Having recently celebrated its first annual Gala and sixth school location opening, Catie’s Closet is truly an amazing success and fast-growing regional phenomenon. Just two months after her death, the flagship Catie’s Closet opened on May 23, 2010, at Lowell (MA) High School, where Catie graduated. Based on the enormous need, other closets quickly followed and there are now currently four locations in Lowell Schools and two in Hudson - Nottingham West Elementary (pre-school to grade 5) and Hudson Memorial School (grades 6-8). Of note, these closets not only serve kids in these six schools but are open to all regional students in need from Hudson, Pelham, Dracut, and Lowell.
In order to manage the closets more efficiently, the non-profit
Selectmen Authorize the Purchase of Chevy Tahoe
by Doug Robinson The Town of Hudson Board of Selectmen reversed their decision regarding the purchase of a four wheel drive, Chevy Tahoe for the Fire Department. The motion passed by a vote of 3/2, with Selectmen Maddox and Nadeau against.
During the previous meeting, Selectman Ted Luszey’s motion to
purchase the vehicle died as the motion failed to get a second. The vehicle being purchased is to replace the 1999 Crown Victoria
which is currently being used by the Fire Inspection Division. While all agreed that the current vehicle replacement program needed to be evaluated, Chairman Roger Coutu stated that “I do not disagree … I am adverse too. This was a plan put in place years ago and it is an ongoing plan.”
Selectmen also commented that the vehicle had been approved via the budget process and that the voters had also approved the purchase as the voters approved town budget. Selectman Rick Maddox stated that “The command vehicles should
be Tahoes. The support services do not need the commercial vehicle.” Selectman Ben Nadeau stated that he was not in favor because I “want to look at a smaller vehicle. We do not need something this big for the Inspections Division.”
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who are financially struggling. With this support, students are able to walk a little straighter, hold their heads a little higher and focus on their education. Ultimately, they have a greater sense of belonging, which boosts higher attendance rates and better grades. “As our tagline says, it is ‘an open door to a brighter future.’ But
it’s not just about the tangible items we provide. Most importantly, our students know there are people who care about them, support them and love them,” expressed Anne Marie Bisson. “These are the basic necessities all human beings should have and Catie’s Closet is proud to be a small part of their lives.” Catie’s Closet’s greatest current needs are toiletries (shampoo,
razors, sanitary supplies, deodorant, toothpaste, toothbrushes), new socks and underwear, and gently used trendy teenage clothes, for kids of all sizes, age 5-18. As warm weather approaches, flip flops will be in especially high demand. For more information, visit www.catiescloset.org
or e-mail email@example.com
. “We know that Catie is exceedingly happy about the success of
Catie’s Closet!” declared her parents, Victor and Anne Marie Bisson. “We have helped so many students already and there is no end in sight to how far we may go. Catie’s Closet is a fitting tribute to the wonderful, inspirational young woman who touched all of our hearts, and forever will.”
Benson Park Trash Problem Corrected
by Doug Robinson Pinard Waste, Hudson’s Trash Contractor, has offered to supply
the Town of Hudson a limited supply of totters, with lids, for use inside Benson Park. “I want to empathize that this is not a contractual obligation on the part of Pinard. They are doing it as a good gesture to the Town,” commented Hudson’s Road Agent Kevin Burns. The 96 gallon totters will be placed strategically along the main roads “so that they are conveniently located for the residents” commented Burns.
In addition, Burns stated that the totters will be emptied twice
weekly. “This solution will eliminate the need for either volunteers or my staff from having to manually empty barrels and haul the trash away several days a week. The addition of more trash receptacles may also encourage compliance with the dog owners in picking up after Fido!”
Board of Selectman Chairman, Roger Coutu stated, “Please accept our gratitude with your having gone above and beyond, once again, with solving the trash problem at Benson Park. Please let Pinard Waste know that we are very grateful for this contribution and their willingness to unselfishly work with us to solve the problem. “This Park is a perfect gem in the making and, if we keep working to solving these minor problems as they arise, we will, ultimately, achieve the successes we all believed this park would provide.” I will monitor the program and adjust it as necessary. I will keep the existing dumpster in place for now at the parking lot, but if it becomes unnecessary I will have it removed to free up more parking.
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