Agganis Classics Week kicked off for 2011 with the annual awards breakfast Sunday at Manning Field.
Chairman of the Agganis Foundation Board of Directors Thomas Demakis welcomed the gathering to the ceremony.
“As good an athlete as Harry Agganis was, he was an even better person”, Demakis told the Agganis Scholarship recipients, All-Star players and coaches, parents, and guests. “This is a tremendous honor for all of you who are being honored as Agganis athletes and scholars and we’re very happy that you are here today.”
Bill Pettingell, retiring coach of the Newburyport High School baseball team, received the Dr. Elmo F. Benedetto Athletics Award for his dedication to student-athletes.
“Bill has been a great influence on thousands of kids who’ve come through Newburyport in the last 40 years,” said Paul Halloran, executive director of Agganis Classics Week. “We’re very pleased to honor and recognize not only his achievements this year but his entire career by presenting him with the Dr. Elmo F. Benedetto Athletics Award.”
Bob Holmes, high school sports editor for The Boston Globe, was the recipient of the David F. Weidner Media Award.
“Each year the Foundation presents an award in David’s memory to someone who has given outstanding coverage of school sports in general and the Agganis Foundation in general,” said Halloran. “All the coverage you see in the Globe over the course of the school year is at his direction. I can tell you first hand that he does a great job for us every year promoting all the Agganis All-Star Classics. We’re very pleased to present the award to Bob Holmes.”
George Markos, owner of Brother’s Deli in Lynn, received the Attorney Charles Demakis Heritage Award.
“George is one of the most generous people that I have ever met,” said Thomas Demakis. “Every Thanksgiving he opens his restaurant and gives a free Thanksgiving dinner to anybody who walks in. His reputation for community service is so great that earlier this year he was honored by President Obama who gave him the President’s Volunteer Service Award in recognition of the work George has done for the Lynn community.”
Charles Geata, executive director of the Lynn Housing Authority and Neighborhood Development, received the Paul F. Cavanagh Community Award.
“The Cavanagh family is a large East Lynn family with a lengthy history in the city,” said Edward Grant, chairman of the Agganis Foundation. “Paul Cavanagh was a three-year starter when he was at Lynn English and then went on to become a three-year starter at Boston College. He went on to become an FBI agent.”
Grant said the Cavanagh Award has been given to people who made a significant contribution to the city of Lynn “and that tradition continues today.”
“Nobody has helped more people in the city of Lynn than Charlies Gaeta has,” said Grant in tribute to his impressive record of community service that dates back to being the city’s youngest president of the city council at the age of 23.
Richard E. Holbrook, chairman and CEO of Eastern Bank, was the recipient of the Harold O. Zimman Foundation Award.
Grant credited Eastern Bank for its sponsorship of a special show about Harry Agganis and the Agganis Foundation that debuted Monday night on the New England Sports Network. He also praised Holbrook’s generosity to organizations and events throughout the North Shore.
Addressing the Agganis athletes, Grant said, “Rich Holbrook is one of the reasons that you are here today, because Eastern Bank is one of the principal sponsors of the Agganis Foundation.”
Joseph Riley, executive vice president of Eastern Bank, and Michael Shanahan, trustee of Eastern Bank, joined Holbrook in accepting the award.
“One of the things that I believe in very strongly is the issue of legacy,” said Holbrook. “Eastern Bank has a legacy of 185 years in the Lynn community and the Agganis Foundation has a legacy of 56 years of serving this community on the North Shore. You, all of the athletes, are now a part of that legacy and have the opportunity to become part of a very important historical event – this week’s Agganis games. I want to congratulate all of the players, parents, and the folks in this community for making our community what it is: a very vital, important and healthy place for us to raise our families and have our kids grow up.”
David Webster, a graduate of St. Mary’s High school, received the Edward H. Cahill/Agganis Scholarship, instituted this year in memory of the late Daily Evening Item sports editor. Mr. Cahill’s son, Edward, presented the award.