Announcing United Way of the Dutchess-Orange Region’s 2020 Kindness Champion Finalists

United Way of the Dutchess-Orange Region will reveal the 2020 Kindness Champion during its Virtual Community Breakfast on Wednesday, September 30 (8-9am, The 14 finalists were notified on Friday and the community will choose the the Kindness Champion by voting for their choice through 5pm on September 28 (

“We are so pleased to recognize the amazing acts of kindness by so many members of our community,” said Jeannie Montano, President & CEO, United Way of the Dutchess-Orange Region. “It was incredibly difficult to narrow the nominees to just 14 finalists. We look forward to seeing who our community chooses as the champion, but know that each of the nominees and finalists are champions of kindness.”

The fourteen finalists are: Susan ArmisteadSimone BerryJo Ann BrownDana CollinsJoan Cusack-McGuirkIrene DeckerAmanda FriedemannMichael GalmLisa and Gabby HodgesCynthia JamesAmanda PecorellaBrian RiddellTara Shafer and Sarah Weikel

The finalists range from a young student in the Newburgh Enlarged School District (Michael Galm) to a woman in her 80s who continues to volunteer (Irene Decker). Many were nominated for acts of kindness during the COVID-19 crisis that range from helping feed community members and first responders (Dana CollinsTara Shafer) to providing compassionate care in hospital settings (Joan Cusack-McGuirkLisa and Gabby Hodges). Others received their nominations for their ongoing compassionate work in the community (Simone BerryJo Ann BrownCynthia JamesBrian RiddellSarah Weikel) as well as being volunteer superstars for their community causes (Susan ArmisteadAmanda FriedemannAmanda Pecorella). To find out more and vote for each of these finalists, go to and click on their individual page.

Make sure to join United Way of the Dutchess-Orange Region on September 30 to find out which of these 14 amazing people is the Kindness Champion. You can register at In addition, we’ll be honoring two Community Champions, the Dutchess County Regional Chamber of Commerce and Frank A Castella, Jr & the Orange County Chamber of Commerce and Lynn Allen Cione. During the program we will also hear about Equity and Inclusion in our community through presentations by Jody B. Millerand Inaudy Esposito


For more information about United Way, its events, programs and initiatives, go to

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