Trocaire Presents 2011 Reflections Awards

Nancy R. Dobson, Christopher L. Jacobs & John Kanutsu are recipients; Gary & Linda Tatu receive President's Award for Community Service


Release Date: October 20, 2011

BUFFALO, N.Y. - Trocaire President Dr. Paul B. Hurley, Jr. and Board of Trustees Chair Lisa M. Kirisits presented Reflections awards to this year's recipients Nancy R. Dobson, Christopher L. Jacobs and John Kanutsu. Gary and Linda Tatu received the President's Award for Community Service. The annual awards reception was held at Salvatore's Italian Gardens and the funds raised from the reception benefit the college's scholarship endowment.

The Reflections Award was established in 1992 to be awarded annually by the college to individuals who have continually reflected their best, putting forth unlimited energies to achieve success while sharing their unique talents for the benefit of others. President Hurley, noted, "The 2011 honorees have contributed greatly to Trocaire College and the Western New York community. The college has been greatly enriched by their presence."

2011 Reflections Awards Honorees

Nancy Dobson started her career with Uniland Development in 1972 and is currently the Executive Vice President/Partner with primary responsibilities in the areas of sales, marketing, design, and property management. Dobson is committed to education and the Western New York community. She credits her parents for instilling the value of community involvement in their children. She is the current chair of the Kenmore Mercy Hospital Foundation, a director for St. Mary's College Board in Indiana, and a Eucharistic Minister at the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary Church. Dobson has served in various volunteer roles for Canisius High School, Sisters Hospital, the Amherst Chamber of Commerce, and the Buffalo and Erie County Botanical Gardens.

Christopher Jacobs, president of Avalon Development, has won numerous awards for his preservation efforts in the City of Buffalo. Jacobs co-founded The BISON Scholarship Fund, a private charity that raises funds to provide tuition assistance to low/moderate income families in all eight counties of Western New York. He also co-founded the South Buffalo Charter School and served as the first president of the board of directors. Jacobs has always had a keen interest in government, serving as New York State Secretary of State during the Pataki administration while simultaneously serving on the Buffalo Board of Education. He recently announced his candidacy for Erie County Clerk.

John Kanutsu is the president of J.E.G. Contracting, a full-service commercial contracting business. John spent eleven years as an electrician at Jim's Electric & General Contracting, a company founded by his father more than fifty years ago. In 1984, he partnered with his father and Joe Fanera creating J.E.G. Contracting. Kanutsu started in small residential work and built up his reputation as a hard-working, reliable contractor who eventually transitioned successfully into a small commercial contractor. Some of his notable projects are: Pano's Restaurant, Garden Place Hotel, Trocaire's Russell J. Salvatore School of Hospitality & Business and Anderson's on Sheridan Drive.

Gary and Linda Tatu, founders of Harvest House of South Buffalo, were the recipients of the President's Distinguished Service Award. This award is presented to a person or group whose community participation exemplifies Trocaire College's mission without regard for community profile or philanthropy. The Tatu's have selflessly dedicated their life to Harvest House; a facility on Seneca Street for use by the community's underserved population. Gary and Linda continue to make a difference each and every day in the lives of so many in the community.

Trocaire College Board of Trustee member Cindy Rich and her husband Jay Rich III served as the chairs of the event. Mark Bryndle, Registered Nursing student, was the featured speaker. Bryndle spoke to the audience about his search for a career where he could make a difference in the community and have an impact on someone's life. "(Nursing) is not an easy program, but it is incredibly rewarding," noted Bryndel. He went on to say, "Making the decision to return to school was an easy choice, but not an easy path. I investigated other programs, but liked what I saw here. I was drawn to Trocaire's commitment to the community, with an emphasis on personal empowerment."

Kevin O'Connell, WGRZ Chief Weather Anchor, was the Master of Ceremonies for the evening.

Photo: (l to r) Nancy R. Dobson, Dr. Paul Hurley, Jr., Christopher L. Jacobs, John Kanutsu,

Linda & Gary Tatu