CONCORD — The New Hampshire Children's Trust and Gov. Chris Sununu will present 29 awards Feb. 22 to honor and recognize extraordinary parents and caregivers who go above and beyond to be the best parents that they can be. Honorees and their families will gather in the Governor and Council Chambers at the New Hampshire State House in Concord for the annual Unsung Hero Awards ceremony.
Below are local honorees:
• Erica Brough of Laconia was nominated by Scoop Welch. Erica is a single mother, working two jobs to support her two sons. While expecting her second child, she was informed that she would not be able to access Child Care Scholarship funding. Erica wanted to continue to work, but knew the cost of child care would be prohibitive. Utilizing the NH Child Care Scholarship Wait List, Erica was eventually provided the additional financial support that she needed. After taking additional college courses, Erica is now the center director at the Belmont location for Lakes Region Child Care Services. On top of working and taking care of her family, she is an active volunteer at the Family Violence Prevention Council and Granite United Way.
• April Hanks of Belmont was nominated by Mary Mirkin. April is the single parent of twin boys, Crystian and Brooklyn. Because they were born prematurely, their first years of life were very difficult. April showed great strength and tenacity in reaching out to medical providers and arranging a vast array of early intervention services for her boys. April continues to travel from Belmont to Lebanon for numerous medical appointments at Dartmouth, all while maintaining a full-time job to support her boys. Her sons, now 6, are making great progress, thanks to April's courage and resilience.
• Denise and Syl Lapierre of Belmont were nominated by Jennifer Doris. Denise is an amazing mother to her children. When Denise received her son's autism diagnosis, she looked at the many opportunities that ASD would bring to the family. Denise advocated for all the services her son needed in order to excel. Not only is she a strong resource for her son, but also for many people in the community. She found her way through leadership programs and has become an advocate not only at the local level, but also the state level.
• Ross Leclair of Belmont was nominated by Amy Leclair. Ross is a single dad to a beautiful baby girl named Olivia. Olivia was born five weeks early, and shortly after she arrived home, Ross and his partner separated. Having a newborn is difficult, but it is particularly difficult when there are two separate parenting styles. Ross had to fight to stay in his daughter's life, and with perseverance and determination, he now shares custody. He always has his daughter's best interests at heart and supports her emotionally, physically and financially.
• Lesle and Rudy Tibbetts of Meredith were nominated by Kierin Williams. Lesle and Rudy have two children and are foster parents to a 2-year-old boy, Cade. Every day is another adventure – this year was Cade's first time seeing and playing in snow! Lesle and Rudy are loving and caring to Cade and intend to adopt him. Lesle and Rudy are working hard on building his communication and social skills. The Tibbett family and Cade are a perfect example of understanding a child's physical, developmental and emotional needs. They work diligently to help Cade grow with competence while promoting his well-being.
• Crystal Cutting of Ashland was nominated by Tricia Murphy. Crystal and her daughter, Izabelah, came to the Bridge House Homeless Shelter and the Whole Village Family Resource Center in Plymouth in November 2015. Crystal secured a spot for Izzy in Head Start at Whole Village and began taking advantage of the resources offered. She took classes to secure her diploma, get a job, and began renting an apartment. Crystal has also obtained a vehicle through a program with DHHS and Good News Garage. She has also been able to reestablish a relationship with her two older children. Crystal has undoubtedly put in the hard work necessary to point her life in a positive direction.
• Jason Kingsbury of Northfield was nominated by Christina Beadle. Jason is a doting father to his son, Landen. Landen was born with a dangerous venous lymphatic abnormality in his windpipe, causing the risk of closing his airways. Jason makes the best of every visit to Boston Children's Hospital, advocating for Landen in any setting. When Landen is healthy, Jason always plans fun learning adventures while incorporating ways to give back to the community. Jason strives to set a good example for his son to follow, all while growing his own small local business.
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