VNA's Lenzini to receive chamber's Citizen of the Year Award

Mary Lenzini, President of the Visiting Nurse Association of Southeastern Connecticut, looks to Tony Sheridan, president and CEO of the Chamber of Commerce of Eastern Connecticut, as she is honored as the organization's 67th Citizen of the Year on Tuesday, Feb. 28, 2017, at the Visiting Nurse Association's offices in New London. (Sarah Gordon/The Day)
Mary Lenzini, President of the Visiting Nurse Association of Southeastern Connecticut, looks to Tony Sheridan, president and CEO of the Chamber of Commerce of Eastern Connecticut, as she is honored as the organization's 67th Citizen of the Year on Tuesday, Feb. 28, 2017, at the Visiting Nurse Association's offices in New London. (Sarah Gordon/The Day)

Waterford — Mary Lenzini, president of the Visiting Nurse Association of Southeastern Connecticut, has been named the Chamber of Commerce of Eastern Connecticut’s 67th Citizen of the Year.

Lenzini, whose selection was announced Tuesday morning during a news conference in the VNA’s offices, will receive the award May 31 at a dinner celebration.

"Mary has contributed to the community in ways that go well beyond the call of duty," Tony Sheridan, the chamber president, said. "We're so full of parochialism in this state that we get in our own way sometimes. Mary has been able to bring the region together."

Lenzini manages the VNA's home health care, school health and community services divisions, which serve thousands of eastern Connecticut residents, including new mothers, the elderly and the homeless. She oversees a 234-person staff.

She said it has been "a gift to work with so many great people for so many years," adding, "This award is the icing on the cake."

According to a biography supplied by the chamber, Lenzini joined the Navy after earning a nursing degree and served in active duty during the Vietnam War, from 1968 to 1970. At the age of 22, she oversaw a 40-bed ward.

Upon leaving the Navy, she joined the Groton Public Health Nursing Service, where she soon moved into management. She was an integral part of the team that pushed for a coordinated approach to community nursing, an effort that led to the formation of what is now the VNA of Southeastern Connecticut.

Lenzini co-founded the soup kitchen at the Second Congregational Church in New London in 1987, and still oversees it. Since 2006, she has served on the board of directors of the New London Homeless Hospitality Center.

The ceremony will be held Wednesday, May 31, at Mystic Marriott Hotel & Spa, Route 117, Groton. Tickets and sponsorship opportunities are available online at www.ChamberECT.com/events or by calling the chamber at (860) 701-9113.

b.hallenbeck@theday.com

Editor's Note: This article has been updated with the latest information about the ceremony.

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