TOMPKINS COUNTY, N.Y. ––Tompkins Trust Company, in partnership with the Tompkins Chamber, announced today the first recipients of the “Community Hero of the Month Awards,” which recognize individuals from Tompkins County who have, “significantly impacted the community” in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The first recipients of the Community Hero of the Month Awards are all from Tompkins County Emergency Operations Center –– a centralized response group of local officials that address the shifting community needs in the face of COVID-19.

“Starting this work a year ago I don’t think any of us knew what we were in for, the ups and downs of a pandemic are something you can’t quite prepare for –– it’s been great to be a part of a flexible team ready to respond as the situation changes. I’m really proud of the way our community has communicated with one another during all of this, from sharing proven public health guidance to checking in on each other,” County Communications Director Domenick Recckio said.

He continued, saying, “at the County, we’ve made every effort to communicate with every resident of Tompkins County, and I’m excited to see how this wide-scale community communication infrastructure can help inform one another moving forward, as we face new challenges and see new opportunities.”

Recipients go from left to right in the photo above:

  • Deputy County Administrator Amie Hendrix, for providing oversight of all aspects of the pandemic response and recovery in Tompkins County over the last year as Emergency Operations Incident Commander
  • Tompkins County Administrator Jason Molino, for providing the County government with the appropriate resources and steady leadership, to ensure the public remains safe and has access to the services needed to stay healthy.
  • Tompkins County Public Health Director & Mental Health Commissioner Frank Kruppa, for serving as the County’s operations lead ensuring all aspects of the COVID emergency are addressed and remaining a consistent, credible source for information as to how the community can most effectively respond to the pandemic.
  • Tompkins County Communications Director Dominick Recckio, for keeping the Tompkins County community informed and overseeing the County’s overall communications and messaging efforts, especially throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We’re all really grateful to be recognized by the Chamber. This community has been remarkable in its ability to rally around and take care of one another. I’m reassured and inspired by how we’ve been able to raise the profile of Public Health in our community,” Public Health Director Kruppa said. “The work that we’ve been doing to respond to COVID-19 and stop the spread is built off of what our Health Department does on a daily basis even when there isn’t a pandemic. We have an amazing team at the Health Department who have worked tirelessly to respond to this pandemic, and we’ve seen such an outpouring of support and encouragement from all corners of Tompkins County.”

County Administrator Jason Molino added, “we’re one year into what will amount to one of the greatest crises of many of our lifetimes, this response has taken an incredible amount of commitment and work from our County staff and our entire community. As I said in my letter to the community this week on the one-year mark, every mask worn, six feet of distance kept, and test taken have helped to make our community healthier and safer. Thank you to the Chamber for recognizing our team for this work, we’re proud to be a part of it.”

The new award has been directly inspired by this work and will continue to be given to, “individuals who have been on the frontlines, educating and informing the community about critical safety measures, seeking a strong economic recovery, allocating appropriate funding and resources, and maintaining public health during the COVID-19 pandemic.”  Additionally, the intention of the award is for recipients’ presence and leadership to continue inspiring essential workers who are providing a lifeline to the Tompkins County community as the pandemic stretches on.

“As we’ve come upon the one-year anniversary of the Coronavirus pandemic this past week and reflect on the remarkable way our community has managed this pandemic, it is appropriate and important that these individuals be recognized as the first Community Hero of the Month recipients.” Jennifer Tavares, president and CEO of the Tompkins Chamber said. “We are so grateful to them for all that they’ve sacrificed and done for our community during this time.”

Tompkins Trust Company President and CEO Greg Hartz added, “we are pleased to honor these incredible community heroes who have done so much for Tompkins County throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, which has had a tremendous impact on the entire community.”

The winners, according to a press release, will receive a “Community Hero of the Month plaque and a few additional surprises from Tompkins Trust Company.”

In acceptance of the award, Deputy County Administrator Aime Hendrix shared a final thought. “Our County team has shown up every day to respond to the pandemic for over a year now, as have so many workers across our entire community,” she said. “This pandemic has impacted all of us in different ways and required us to be resilient in new ways. I think we have an opportunity to come out of this stronger, both as a County government and as an entire community.”

Anna Lamb

Anna Lamb is a reporter for the Ithaca Voice. Questions? Story tips? Contact her at alamb@ithacavoice.com