Friends and Neighbors

Benker named chamber's Staff Member of the Year

Marlynn Benker, social worker with Always Home in Mystic, has received the 2019 Staff Member of the Year Award from the Chamber of Commerce of Eastern Connecticut. She was honored at the chamber’s annual Social Service Recognition Breakfast, which recognizes outstanding work by employees of regional nonprofits.

“I’m very touched that out of all of my colleagues I was chosen for this honor,” she said in a release. “Preventing family homelessness involves working together. It’s a collaboration of agencies, staff, volunteers and the generosity of foundations, area businesses and individuals.”

Benker, who lives in Groton, has worked as a social worker for more than 30 years, 10 of which have been with Always Home. She works with families facing homelessness to find immediate solutions and a viable long-term plan.

Always Home served 232 families, including 424 children, in fiscal year 2019. For more information, visit


Waterford resident joins Randall Realtors' Mystic office

David Wolber has joined the Mystic office of Randall Realtors.

"As an active real estate investor myself, I know what serious investors are looking for in properties," he said in a release.

"With years of experience in property management and real estate investment, David will surely provide his clients with superb service and exceptional insights into the market," Bruce Drake, broker manager in the Mystic office, said in a release. "We're truly looking forward to getting him started here in Mystic."

Wolber lives in Waterford with his wife and two dogs.


Waterford resident invested into Order of Malta

Christopher Lipinski of Waterford was invested into the Order of Malta Nov. 15. He was invested alongside 70 other knights and dames during the Solemn Mass of Investiture at St. Patrick's Cathedral in New York City by Cardinal Seán Patrick O'Malley, Archbishop of Boston.

"It is a tremendous honor and privilege to belong to the Knights of Malta that gives to the sick and poor," Lipinski said in a release. He attends Our Lady of Perpetual Help Catholic Church in Quaker Hill and serves on the board of directors of Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Norwich.

The Order of Malta, founded in 1099, runs medical centers and other facilities for the sick and poor around the world. It employs 25,000 medical staff and 80,000 volunteers, and it operates the Malteser International relief corps for natural disasters, epidemics and wars. Lipinski joins 13,500 knights, dames and other auxiliary members.

For more information, visit


Friends and Neighbors is a regular feature in The Times. To submit, email


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