Being present at the 3rd Annual FSC Awards this past June left those in attendance with a profound sense of the impact Lasallian Volunteers, Alumni, De La Salle Christian Brothers and those that support us have on one another as well as those we serve.
The 2012 FSC Awards were celebrated in collaboration with the Buttimer Institute at Saint Mary’s College California. The Lasallian Volunteers recognized:
- Brother Anthony Lenz, FSC with the Farrell Community Award;
- BJ Cassin (accepted on his behalf by son Jon) with the Johnston Faith Award; and
- Chris Giangregorio, LV 01-03 with the Bassen Service Award
The awards have been created in honor of and named after three Brothers that exhibited a wide range of support for and presence to the Lasallian Mission during their life times. Learn more about the Awards themselves here.
Recipient and Alum Chris Giangregorio offered the following speech and reflection after being recognized:
“It is quite an honor to be receiving one of these three Lasallian awards, especially in front of so many dedicated and amazing fellow Lasallians. Being here is made even more meaningful because all three of the namesakes for tonight’s awards have played a significant role in my formation as an educator.
12 years ago I had no idea what it meant to call myself a Lasallian. I got my first real glimpse of what it meant to serve the underserved during my senior year here at St. Mary’s College when I would go to the LEO center in Oakland once a week and work with the students for a few hours. Br. Chris Bassen was there every time and would welcome us and explain to the new volunteers what they would be doing. More important than just welcoming us, though, was the fact that Br. Chris could be seen modeling
for all of us what patience and working with those entrusted to our care is truly about.
The next year I became a Lasallian Volunteer. I lived in a small community in St. Louis, where I worked at first year San Miguel School, De La Salle Middle School. It was in my first few months that I met former Superior General, Br. John Johnston. He came to our small 2 bedroom apartment, which had no dining room, and had dinner with our community of 2 people. During that dinner with Br. John I learned how widespread the Lasallian world really was. I also learned that no matter how small or new, every single site where the Lasallian mission is at work is worthy of the support and attention of even the busiest of us.
As Heather mentioned, my next two years were spent working in Harlem at Resurrection School. I was fortunate enough to live in community with Br. Michael Farrell, who taught me that a strong faith community and supportive family and friends are essential in sustaining the work that we do. I could think of no better example than Br. Michael Farrell when it comes to supporting those with whom you work and share community.
I could go on about these great men, but I to sum it all up: Through Brothers Chris, John, and Michael, I have seen compassionate work in action, been inspired by the international efforts of the De La Salle Christian Brothers, and realized that our work doesn’t stop once the students leave for the day.
The Br. Chris Bassen Service award is for those of us who have continued to incorporate service to the underserved into our lives since our time as Lasallian Volunteers. I want to thank current and former LVs (several of whom are here tonight) who continue to be involved in the mission; you are a source of inspiration to your fellow co-workers, and most importantly our students and their families.
This work cannot be done without the love and prayers and understanding of friends and family. I want to thank all of my friends and family who have continued to be there for me even when I decided to move over 2000 miles away from them after college…and then stay away for 5 years.
But I came back with my future wife, and fellow Lasallian Volunteers Alum, so hopefully that made up for it. And to my wife, Kristen, and son, Matteo, who could not be here tonight. Thank you for providing me with that essential support when I come home. You help me keep life in perspective and provide me with the love and motivation to do what I do day in and day out.
Finally, to all my colleagues from De La Salle at St. Matthew’s, Resurrection, and De Marillac Academy…thank you for making my decision to be involved in such work so easy every year. To work side by side with you has been a humbling experience and an honor. I look forward to the many years of collaboration and friendship that lie ahead.”