WALTHAM, MA – The 2020 Waltham Hero Award winners were announced recently. Created by the Waltham Lions Club in conjunction with Discover Waltham, the Waltham West Suburban Chamber of Commerce and the Waltham Community Access Corporation, the yearly awards recognize the unsung members of the community who help drive it forward.
The organizations act as a panel of judges and select three to five local heroes from nominees submitted by Waltham residents and businesses in three categories – business hero, community hero and unsung hero. This year, there are two unsung heroes, two business heroes and a community hero that’s actually an organization.
Usually, the heroes are honored at the annual Waltham Heroes banquet at the Forefront Center on Wyman Street. But this year, that event has been postponed because of the coronavirus pandemic, said co-organizer Justin Barrett, who is a member of the Lyons. It’s unclear when the banquet will happen. Organizers are looking at possibly having the event in the fall, and holding it online is not out of the question. But, said Barrett, what’s most important is recognizing the individuals in the community who are going above and beyond.
Lions sift through piles of nominations that come in by email and by forms on the website. This year, there was a long list, members told Patch.
“There are so many people in the city that people don’t know that do things to help others on a daily basis below the radar,” said Barrett. “They’re not seeking recognition, and yet they do so much for so many people.”
The 2020 award winners, the ninth year of the awards:
Bruce Burke – Business Leader
Betty Mazzone – Business Leader
David Josef – Unsung Hero
Bob LeBlanc – Unsung Hero
The Waltham Womans’ Club – Community Leader
Geoff Stanton – Joe Burgoyne Memorial Award
A little more about the honorees:
Bruce Burke, a graduate of Waltham High School and the Rittners School of Floral Design, worked for Frederick Brasco Florist, for two decades before buying it 1987. He grew the business to be in the top 300 stand-alone florist shops in the U.S. and in 2012, he passed the business baton to his son. He is a member of the Waltham Rotary, and has served on the Board of Directors of Waltham Weston Hospital, the Waltham Boys and Girls Club and the Bay State Florist Supply in addition to the Leland Home’s board.
“They give anybody who asks for flowers for any nonprofit thing, they are the first to come up and donate with the floral bouquets or center pieces,” said Barrett.
Elizabeth “Betty” (McMullin) Mazzone is the president of the Waltham Rotary Club. She is vice-president of the Rockland Trust Bank in Waltham and also been a mentor for the Big Brothers Big Sisters of America for the past four years. She lives in Bedford, but whenever there’s an event in Waltham, she’s there, according to Barrett.
“Since she got to Waltham she’s been one of the most active in the community,” he said. “Anything and everything that happens in the community, she’s there.”
David Josef is a Waltham-based fashion designer well known for creating wedding dresses and gowns for Broadway glitterati. He is the winner of the 2018 Boston Fashion lifetime achievement award and nominated as best designer for evening, and couture in 2019. He’s an animal rights activist, and donates to local causes anything from the Salvation Army to several local non profits. Now, he’s making face masks amid coronavirus.
Bob LeBlanc is also a resident of Waltham, he’s on the Community Preservation Commission, and the Waltham Housing Authority. He’s coached Waltham youth hockey for the past 25 years.
The Waltham Women’s Club is a service organization, that is responsible for coming up with the idea to “help” Santa answer mail from children in Waltham, which they’ve done for years now, making sure that anyone who writes and puts a letter in the Santa Mailbox during the holiday gets a response. The group also dedicates itself to helping out a charity a month, be it through financial donations or some other means, according to Barrett.
“They do a ton of stuff,” he said.
Geoff Stanton is a lifelong resident of Waltham and graduated from Waltham High, according to his bio. He then graduated with a degree in Psychology from Providence College in 1998. He joined Stanton Insurance in the claims department in 1999. He is also a member of the Waltham Lions Club and serves on the board of the Waltham Education & Beyond Foundation, Waltham West Suburban Chamber of Commerce, The Leland Home and the Waltham Boys and Girls Club.
Read more: Hero Awards: 2019 Winners Read about the 2018 Winners and the 2017 Winners
Patch reporter Jenna Fisher can be reached at Jenna.Fisher@patch.com or by calling 617-942-0474. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram (@ReporterJenna).Have a press release you’d like posted on the Waltham Patch? Here’s how to post a press release, opinion piece.
This article originally appeared on the Waltham Patch