Main Street Waterbury Announces 2017 Main Street Community Partnership Award Winner Virginia O’Rourke

Main Street Waterbury Announces 2017 Main Street Community Partnership Award Winner Virginia O’Rourke
Virginia O'Rourke-Cookson, the owner of O'Rourke & Birch Florist in Waterbury, Connecticut, has been named recipient of Main Street Waterbury's 2017 Main Street Commmunity Partnership Award to be presented October 5 at the Palace Theater

Press Release ( - WATERBURY, Conn. - Aug 14, 2017 - Main Street Waterbury has announced that the recipient of the 2017 Main Street Waterbury Community Partnership Award is Virginia “Ginny” O’Rourke Cookson, owner of O’Rourke & Birch Florist in Waterbury. O’Rourke Cookson will receive the third annual award during a presentation at the Palace Theater in Waterbury on Thursday, October 5, 2017, between 5:30 and 7:30 p.m.

The Award was created by the non-profit Main Street Waterbury to celebrate the leadership and contributions of the late Stephen R. Sasala, former CEO of the Waterbury Regional Chamber and former president of Main Street Waterbury Board of Directors. It is presented to a commendable individual whose initiative, leadership, and personal commitment embody the spirit of partnership and community involvement.

Steve Sasala advocated for quality planning and policy development and practiced the leadership approach of setting goals and staying the course while recognizing and working toward the bigger picture. With these qualities, he continually provided support for addressing local work in ways that ultimately benefitted the more global good.

Ginny O’Rourke Cookson is owner and president of O’Rourke & Birch Florist, Waterbury’s only continuously-family-owned floral business, celebrating its 95th year in business in 2017. Many Waterbury business people would agree that she has demonstrated with her tireless dedication, the importance of giving of her time and talents to the community at large. A respected member of the Waterbury Regional Chamber for 23 years, in 2013 she was awarded the Chamber’s Volunteer of the Year Award recognizing her steadfast commitment to helping others. She is also a long-standing member of the board of Greater Waterbury Chamber of Commerce Foundation’s Business Women’s Forum (BWF).

Previously O’Rourke Cookson was a volunteer Chamber Ambassador and a long-standing member of the Chamber’s Board of Directors. She is also past recipient of the Chamber’s Business Woman of the Year Award.

Daughter of a charter member of the Waterbury Exchange Club, O’Rourke Cookson joined the organization in 1994, was named 2004 Exchangite of the Year and “Mayor for the Day”. Today she is Club immediate past president and chair of their Membership Committee, a long-standing member of their charitable foundation and is now president elect of the foundation, and co-chair of their annual fundraiser. She is also a member of Profnet.

Main Street Waterbury CEO Carl Rosa commented, “Ginny O’Rourke Cookson embodies the true spirit of what community partnership is all about. Her positive attitude and ‘can do’ approach is an inspiration to everyone.”

Part of the annual Main Street Waterbury Community Partnership Award program is the awarding of a scholarship to a selected Greater Waterbury area student. In June 2017, Main Street Waterbury presented their 2017 Stephen R. Sasala II Community Partnership Scholarship to Peter (PJ) Morrissey, a 2017 graduate of Naugatuck High School who will be attending Harvard University in September.

Main Street Waterbury’s Rosa stated, “Peter exemplifies the attributes and community spirit that was such an integral part of Steve Sasala’s life. In addition to his stellar academic strength of registering high GPA scores for his high school years, Peter was class president for all four years in high school and has demonstrated true leadership among his classmates and his community. He was a Peer Tutor who shared his talents with fellow classmates who needed support. He volunteered at a local nursing home and regularly participated in the annual Penguin Plunge to raise money for Connecticut’s Special Olympics. He was also involved in athletics and music being captain of the Boy’s Swim and Tennis teams and playing in the school’s concert band.

Most recently, Peter turned his sights to DECA, an international program for both high school and college business and marketing students. He has excelled in this program which has served as a great Segway into his intended college field of study involving government and politics. PJ Morrissey exemplifies the true spirit of community leadership and partnership which was a major part of Steve Sasala’s legacy.”

Applicants for the Main Street Waterbury’s annual Stephen R. Sasala II Community Partnership Scholarship must demonstrate their leadership interests by being actively involved in the classroom, student clubs, and community organizations. Each applicant must also demonstrate how their involvement has contributed to their development as a future community leader.

Main Street Waterbury is a 501c3 non-profit, downtown management and revitalization program in the context of historic preservation. Through improving the physical appearance of downtown Waterbury, promoting its architectural and cultural assets, organizing volunteer initiatives, sponsoring events, and fostering public/private partnerships, the organization strives to economically rejuvenate Waterbury’s downtown district without sacrificing its character or heritage.

Platinum sponsors of the October 5 Main Street Waterbury Community Partnership Award reception are Webster Bank and MacDermid Performance Solutions, both headquartered in Waterbury. The gold sponsor is the Tomasso Group of New Britain. Additional sponsorship opportunities are available by contacting Carl Rosa directly at Main Street Waterbury at 203-757-0701 ext. 302 or emailing to

Tickets are $35/person and can be purchased in advance at the Palace Theater Box Office at 100 East Main Street in Waterbury or by calling the box office at 203-346-2000, or visiting Tickets will also be available on October 5 at the box office. A portion of all proceeds will be directed toward Main Street Waterbury’s Stephen R. Sasala Scholarship Fund.

Source : Main Street Waterbury

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