Business and Community Leaders, Board Members and Volunteers Recognized at Wheeler’s 9th Annual Hands & Hearts Award Reception

Yesterday, 12 organizations and individuals were recognized for their outstanding contributions to Wheeler at the organization’s 9th annual Hands & Hearts reception held at the Country Club of Farmington.


The event honors individuals and families, corporations and foundations that support Wheeler’s mission to provide equitable access to innovative care that improves health, recovery and growth at all stages of life. More than 60 philanthropists have been recognized since the inception of this event.

“Each member of this incredible group of recipients has given something unique and meaningful to our organization,” said Susan Walkama, LCSW, president and chief executive officer, Wheeler. “We are grateful for their gifts of generosity, imagination, time, and talent, all of which have helped to support and fuel our continued evolution.”

2019 Hands & Hearts Appreciation Award recipients:

  • State Representative Catherine Abercrombie (D-83) for advocacy and commitment to education, child welfare and social service issues
  • Claire Holden and Aline Towne for extraordinary volunteerism and commitment to Wheeler
  • Mutual of America for ongoing support and partnership with Wheeler, including becoming the first title sponsor in 34 years of Wheeler’s annual golf classic.
  • People’s United Bank for ongoing support of Wheeler’s Golf Classic, events, and volunteerism
  • Jane Tedder, Ed.D., former Wheeler Trustee, for her leadership on the Board of Trustees, and for special support in fundraising strategy during the organization’s 50th anniversary

Special Award for 10 Years of Service to the Wheeler Board of Trustees:

  • Jake Biscoglio, former Wheeler Trustee, and Vice President, Strategic Growth Initiatives/New Market Development, Prudential Financial
  • Richard E. Cartland, Secretary, Wheeler Board of Trustees
  • William D. Gombatz, CFP, ChFC, CLTC, CASL, former Wheeler Trustee, and Wealth Management Advisor at Northwestern Mutual Financial Network
  • Christine Skelly, Chair, Wheeler Board of Trustees
  • Gary Thomas, Wheeler Trustee
  • William J. Torres, former Wheeler Trustee, and Chief Executive Officer and President, Gibbs
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