Distinguished Service Awards recognize youth, seniors, and educators in North Attleborough

Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito (far left) stands with Betty and Kevin Poirier at the Distinguished Service Awards Banquet held by the North Attleborough/Plainville Rotary Club on Monday, March 21, 2022. File Photo
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The North Attleboro/Plainville Rotary Club has announced the winners of its 2024 Distinguished Service Awards.

Olivia Carver and Lynn Casey, co-owners of the Chieftain Pub in Plainville, will both receive the Outstanding Citizen Award. In their nominations, Carver and Casey were credited with having been involved in their communities and supporting charities and families in need.

Among the many causes they have worked with include the For Kids’s Sake Foundation, donating food to Plainville seniors, Pan-Mass Challenge fundraisers, local sports teams and the creation of the Sunshine Fund, which helps pub staff that fall on hard times.

“They are actively involved in the area towns and their generosity has helped many organizations and families,” the nomination read.

The recipient of the Outstanding Youth Award is Faith O’Hanlon. A senior at Bishop Feehan High School, O’Hanlon’s nomination credited her involvement with many different organizations, from the All District Choir and Jazz Select Choir, to the Bishop Feehan Book Club, McAuley Ambassadors, and as a writer for the school newspaper, The Rock Report.

O’Hanlon, 17, is an activist for heart disease awareness due to her younger sister, Scarlett, who was born with a rare cardiac defect called Pulmonary Atresia with Intact Ventricular Septum, which made it impossible for blood from her heart to go to her lungs. Since then, Scarlett has had two surgeries, one after her birth and one in February 2020. She will need another open-heart surgery soon to replace her valves.

Faith, along with the rest of her family, has been working to raise awareness and money for a cure for Congenital Heart Defect (CHD). Faith’s mother, Jamie, co-founded Sisters@Heart, a local non-profit organization founded and directed by North Attleborough residents whose mission statement is to improve the lives of those suffering from heart attacks and strokes.

“Faith has worked tirelessly in her mission to educate and bring advocacy and awareness to her community about heart disease along with all of her other service work,” her nomination read.

John Teiner will receive the award for Outstanding Public Employee. Park director for the Plainville Park Department, Teiner was nominated for his devotion to his work, which he does within the limits of a small budget, the nomination read. Among the things he has done was the recent tree lighting in honor of James Faille, a pillar of the community who died on Jan. 7, 2022.

“He (Teiner) stretches every dollar, all in the hope of making it better for the kids,” Teiner’s nomination read. “He genuinely cares about the children of Plainville.”

Laura Croteau was chosen to receive the Outstanding Educator Award. Croteau, a fourth-grade teacher at Amvet Boulevard School in North Attleborough, was chosen for her “deep passion for educating our students,” one nomination from a school parent read. That nomination went on to credit Croteau’s ability to meet the needs of each student with “unwavering positivity and support.”

Another nomination stated that their child had experienced significant anxiety due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and when schools resumed, they faced challenges. When the student entered Croteau’s class, the teacher stayed in touch with the family to ensure they were doing well.

“As the weeks tick by in what feels like a flash, I know our time with Ms. Croteau is coming to an end, and honestly, I get teary-eyed just thinking about that,” the nomination read.

The Outstanding Senior Award will go to Ernie Sandland, a lifelong resident of North Attleborough. His wife, Anne Sandland, was the recipient of last year’s Outstanding Public Employee Award, along with the rest of the town’s nurses. Following a 20-plus career as director of facilities with the Whitman-Hanson Public Schools, Ernie came out of retirement to help the North Attleborough Schools, which their two daughters went to.

“During his time with North Attleboro Public Schools, Ernie has led projects adding updated playgrounds to elementary schools, worked with school and building committees to get the new high school project off the ground, and most importantly, shared the history of North Attleboro along the way,” the nomination stated.  “Our days are brighter when Ernie comes singing down the hallways.”

The awards will be presented at Plainridge Park Casino (Boylston Function Room), in Plainville on Monday, March 18. A reception begins at 6 p.m. followed by dinner at 6:45 p.m. Tickets can be purchased from Dr. John W. Barone at 107 North Washington Street, North Attleborough, or by calling 508-699-2481, for $45 per person. The deadline to purchase tickets is Tuesday, March 12.