BBA Holds Annual Awards NightJun 29, 2015 10:07AM ● By Steven Chisholm
Unsung Hero Officer Len Gosselin was happy to have his Navy Corpsman son Kyle back from deployments with the 1st Marines to attend the BBA awards ceremony. Shown (l-r) are Heather and Kyle Gosselin, Len’s wife Jenn Gosselin (also a police officer) and Len, holding Heather & Kyle’s child, his grandson, Kellan Gosselin.
On June 10, the Bellingham Business Association (BBA) hosted its annual Awards Night meeting at the Bamboo Express, where they introduced the winner of Bellingham’s Unsung Hero Award and presented two exceptional Bellingham students with $1,500 scholarships.
BBA President John Orthman commenced the evening’s program by honoring Bellingham’s Unsung Hero, Officer Len Gosselin of the Bellingham Police Department. Presenting Officer Gosselin with the award was Ryan Gonthier, one of Officer Gosselin’s protegés—and one of the two scholarship winners.
Officer Gosselin earned his Unsung Hero commemorative plaque for his years of service and community involvement. Gosselin lectures classes for the DARE Program and has contributed to its continuing success using his own personal funds and the donations acquired through his several organized fundraisers. Gosselin stressed the importance of teaching children good decision-making skills by saying, “They’re going to be the ones to take over.” In addition, he played a major role in establishing the town’s K-9 unit. Petitioning for grants and seeking donations, Gosselin assisted in procuring specially trained dogs, specialized K–9 unit equipment, and day-to-day dog supplies. He and his family have contributed countless hours of personal time to help train the dogs and perform K-9 demonstrations for school and community events.
To top it all off, Gosselin has worked vigorously to establish the Bellingham Police Dept. Youth Center. By raising funds, deciding on a location, and recruiting volunteers, he has been responsible for providing innumerable extracurricular activities for the children and youth of Bellingham. And as the school resource officer, he’s forged a personal bond with the youths in the area. Simply put, “Officer Gosselin is far from being unnoticed in Bellingham,” said Mr. Orthman.
After concluding Officer Gosselin’s award presentation, the BBA moved on to recognize the students who had earned the association’s annual scholarships. “Applicants are evaluated on the basis of academic performance, community involvement, leadership, and what we like to call a commitment to excellence. And our winners this year do not disappoint us,” said Orthman.
First to be recognized for her astounding academic performance was Suzanne Wright, who graduated as a member of the National Technical Honor Society from Blackstone Valley Regional Technical Vocational High School and is a two-time District V Gold Medalist in the Technical Computer Applications Contest. Her credentials further include Outstanding Achievement Awards in English, biology, and business technology. She has taken on numerous volunteer responsibilities within the community and graduated second in her class. She will attend Framingham State University in September and intends to major in management and possibly minor in history.
The second student to receive a $1,500 scholarship was Bellingham High School graduate Ryan Gonthier, who was among the top 20% of his class and was a member of the National Honor Society. He has been awarded both the Coach’s Award for Soccer and the Scholar Athlete Awards recognition for his adept athleticism, practiced sportsmanship, and outstanding academic performance. Gonthier is also an Eagle Scout and actively participates in volunteer work for the community. He will attend Westfield State University to major in criminal justice. Following in the footsteps of his mentor, Officer Gosselin, he hopes to one day become a police officer with a focus on K–9 unit involvement.
The credentials and selflessness of those honored at the BBA Awards Night showed that they are indeed deserving of admiration. The two students, Wright and Gonthier, along with Officer Gosselin, have taken greats steps in improving the community and wholly deserve the recognition and respect of Bellingham’s citizens as they undertake even greater endeavors and work toward shaping a brighter future for their peers and our youths.