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Voting for Merrimack Valley Credit Union ‘Biggest Heart Awards’ to Close March 23

Merrimack Valley Credit Union to honor
veterans and home chefs in final categories

Lawrence, Mass. (March  13, 2018) – Merrimack Valley Credit Union’s ‘Biggest Heart Awards’ contest, which celebrates community members for using their big hearts to promote kindness and public service, will wrap up voting in this year’s contest Friday, March 23, with the Veteran and Home Chef categories. Each category winner will receive a $200 gift card and Merrimack Valley Credit Union will make a $500 donation to the charity of his or her choice. For more information and to vote, visit: www.votebiggestheart.com.

“It is our pleasure to be able to honor the veterans who use the skills they developed while serving our country to improve our community,” said Peter Matthews, President and CEO of Merrimack Valley Credit Union.  “We’re also excited to celebrate the home chefs who use their passion for cooking to enhance the lives of others.”

The nominees in these categories bring their passion to jobs, volunteer activities and advocacy projects every day. Learn more about several nominees below:

Veteran Nominees
Serving in the Navy for 27 years, Shannon Lynch of Haverhill, MA knows the bonds and camaraderie that form from serving in the military. Lynch now works to help other veterans find that camaraderie on the ice with the Skate for the 22 Foundation. The organization works to reduce the number of veterans that take their own lives. Through the Foundation, veterans can join a hockey team or learn how to skate to get them back into a supportive team environment. Lynch provides event support, running raffles at games and promoting local events. She also organizes a team to participate in the “Run for the Troops” event to raise funds for several other veterans’ organizations. If Lynch wins the Biggest Heart Award for Veterans, she said she plans to direct Merrimack Valley Credit Union’s $500 donation to the Skate for the 22 Foundation.

Doug McCollum of Haverhill, MA loves Christmas more than most. After serving in the Navy for more than two years and raising three kids, he started dressing up as Santa for friends, family and community members. He has led kids in Christmas carols at a local bank, lifted the spirits of kids at the North Shore Medical Center Hospital in Salem, MA, and shared joy with kids at a local day care center. McCollum said he is motivated by seeing the awe and excitement from the kids he works with. If he wins the Biggest Heart Award for Veterans, McCollum plans to direct Merrimack Valley Credit Union’s $500 donation to an organization dedicated to researching a cure for kidney disease, in honor of his mom, or an organization that helps foster care children, as he was adopted when he was younger.

Home Chef Nominees
Don Herook of Haverhill, MA is a chef by trade, and nearly 20 years ago, he decided to use that training to help others. For the past 18 years, Herook has volunteered with Community Meals in Haverhill, helping to manage the kitchen and cooking delicious, healthy meals every Monday. Cooking for more than 200 people some weeks, he made sure both the kitchen and dining room were filled with respect and compassion. Herook has trained other volunteers to take over his responsibilities at Community Meals and has focused his attention on opening “The Artist Café,” his own restaurant in downtown Haverhill. He hasn’t strayed far from the organization close to his heart – he can be found helping in the Community Meals kitchen when a chef or server is out. If Herook wins the Biggest Heart Award for Home Chef, he said he plans to direct Merrimack Valley Credit Union’s $500 donation to a local organization that helps homeless veterans, in honor of his 20 years of service in the Army National Guard.

Beverly Dowdy of Hampstead, NH helps others in times of need through cooking. When a loved one passes, or a baby is born, family members are often too busy to worry about cooking, which is where Dowdy shines, bringing families multi-course meals. From cooking for town residents at Garden Club meetings or helping her kids’ track team eat a big meal before an important meet, Dowdy has a recipe for every occasion. If Dowdy wins the Biggest Heart Award for Home Chef, she said she plans to direct Merrimack Valley Credit Union’s $500 donation to the Animal Rescue League of New Hampshire or St. Anne’s Food Bank in Hampstead.

About Merrimack Valley Credit Union
Merrimack Valley Credit Union is a $600 million asset not‐for‐profit community credit union serving anyone who lives, works or worships in the Merrimack Valley region. MVCU offers a wide range of services to meet the financial needs of its members, and has branch locations in Haverhill, Lawrence, Methuen, and North Andover, Mass., and Plaistow and Seabrook, N.H.  To learn more about Merrimack Valley Credit Union, please visit www.mvcu.com.

vet_shannon lynch.jpg
Photo 1: Shannon Lynch of Haverhill, MA (shown above) served in the Navy for 27 years and now works to help other veterans find camaraderie on the ice with the Skate for the 22 Foundation. Lynch is nominated for Merrimack Valley Credit Union’s Biggest Heart Award in the Veteran category. The Biggest Heart Awards celebrate community members in eight different categories for using their big hearts to promote kindness and public service. Each category winner will receive a $200 gift card and Merrimack Valley Credit Union will make a $500 donation to the charity of his or her choice. Visit www.votebiggestheart.com for more information and to vote in the Veteran category through March 23, 2018.

vet_doug mccollumn 1.jpg
Photo 2: Doug McCollum of Haverhill, MA (shown above) dresses up as Santa for friends, family and community members. McCollum is nominated for Merrimack Valley Credit Union’s Biggest Heart Award in the Veteran category. The Biggest Heart Awards celebrate community members in eight different categories for using their big hearts to promote kindness and public service. Each category winner will receive a $200 gift card and Merrimack Valley Credit Union will make a $500 donation to the charity of his or her choice. Visit www.votebiggestheart.com for more information and to vote in the Veteran category through March 23, 2018.

chef_donald herook.jpg
Photo 3: Don Herook of Haverhill, MA (shown above) has volunteered with Community Meals for the past 18 years, helping to manage the kitchen and cooking delicious, healthy meals every Monday. Herook is nominated for Merrimack Valley Credit Union’s Biggest Heart Award in the Home Chef category. The Biggest Heart Awards celebrate community members in eight different categories for using their big hearts to promote kindness and public service. Each category winner will receive a $200 gift card and Merrimack Valley Credit Union will make a $500 donation to the charity of his or her choice. Visit www.votebiggestheart.com for more information and to vote in the Home Chef category through March 23, 2018.

chef_beverly dowdy
photo.jpg
Photo 4: Beverly Dowdy of Hampstead, NH (shown above) helps others in times of need through cooking. Dowdy is nominated for Merrimack Valley Credit Union’s Biggest Heart Award in the Home Chef category. The Biggest Heart Awards celebrate community members in eight different categories for using their big hearts to promote kindness and public service. Each category winner will receive a $200 gift card and Merrimack Valley Credit Union will make a $500 donation to the charity of his or her choice. Visit www.votebiggestheart.com for more information and to vote in the Home Chef category through March 23, 2018.

ValleyPatriot

ValleyPatriot

The Valley Patriot is a free monthly print newspaper serving Northern Massachusetts, and Southern New Hampshire. The print edition is published by the 10th of each month and is distributed to 51 cities and towns.

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