Mayor honors youth for community involvement

Mayor Ben Blake and Milford Youth & Family Services presented the 29th Annual Mayor’s Youth Award on May 4 at the Veteran’s Memorial Auditorium, honoring youth who demonstrated an outstanding commitment to improving the Milford community.

Teachers, parents, clergy, friends and group leaders nominated finalists for the awards.

Award recipients are as follows:
Elementary School: Ashley Borecki
Nominees said Ashley is a “respectful, considerate and conscientious student.” She is also very active in the community, especially through her efforts with the Colbert Veterinary Rescue Organization. In the past year, Ashley has worked with the group to help dogs living in a Georgia high kill shelter get adopted in Connecticut, city officials said.

She also serves as secretary for the Student Leadership Team at her school, and she partnered with her fifth grade classmates and teachers to help raise funds to build a water well in South Sudan.
Middle School: Hunter Fonck
“Hunter is a model student: positive, hard working and constantly preserving,” nominees said. His goal is to spread awareness to the citizens of Milford about a rare genetic connective tissue disorder – Epidermolysis Bullosa. He has already begun to tackle this goal through his foundation, Hunter’s Wish.

Hunter fundraises for Hunter’s Wish and donates to the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) and the Make-A-Wish Foundation. With his donation to the AAD, Hunter made it possible for a child to attend Camp Discovery, AAD’s camp where children living with skin diseases get one-of-a kind experiences in a traditional summer camp environment.
Middle School: Joseph Honcz
“Joey battled and beat non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma,” according to an award announcement. “Since then, recognizing the impact a wish can have on a child battling a life threatening illness, he has found numerous ways to fundraise for Make-A-Wish. He has asked for donations in lieu of birthday gifts, participated in Walk-For-Wishes and played on a Lacrosse-For-Wishes team.”
Joseph has also participated in the Evening of Wishes Gala and the Wishes in Flight Campaign.
High School: Nicholas Bettencourt
Nicholas exudes the message of Milford: A Small City with a Big Heart, according to city officials. In the past three years, he has volunteered as an assistant teacher for children with special needs in the first and second grade Sunday School class at Mary Taylor Memorial United Methodist Church. He is also Methodist Youth Fellowship President at his church. A musician, he performs during various services. He also is a mentor for other students and is a counselor at Camp Happiness.
Group Category: Milford Food 2 Kids
Children and youth from every corner of Milford have raised funds, collected donations and packed bagged lunches for Milford Food 2 Kids, city officials said, in recognizing the volunteers in this program.

“The young volunteers are developing an awareness of what food insecurity is,” city officials said. “It is important to understand the need, but equally important for these young people to know that they can do something about it.”