The Kagan Award award was established in 1977, in memory of Dr. David B. Kagan, a long-time Pittsfield Rotarian and community citizen. The award is presented annually and beginning in 1978 has been given to one female and one male from the Central Berkshire area to recognize volunteerism "above and beyond" the call of duty. The recipients represent the highest standards of the Judeo-Christian ethic, which is the basis of the award. This years award winners are Florian "Butch" Ptak and Diane Macella
Florian “Butch" Ptak is a UConn graduate with an engineering degree and came to GE in Pittsfield as a Field Rep, Hardware Designer, Software Designer, then transitioned into administration. He weathered the migration of GE to Martin Marietta, Lockheed Martin, General Dynamics, and retired in 2001. In 2003 he joined the Executive Committee of the Friends of the Berkshire Athenaeum. He has served on the Friends Executive Committee ever since. He was treasurer of the Friends from 2007 to 2015 As with many small non-profit entities, the Friends Executive Committee went through a cycle of diminishing membership. In 2010 he took it upon himself to rebuild and re-energize the Friends organization, expanding the Executive Committee membership to the thirteen serving today He volunteers for the library’s Book Sales, and is the person who drives to the homes of donors to pick up the books those donors are unable to transport to the library themselves. His generosity with his time has not been limited to the library Butch has been a volunteer at the Pleasant Valley Wildlife Sanctuary in Lenox for about 20 years. In that time he has become the go-to person regarding the Sanctuary’s beaver population. Butch is a charter board member of The Whitney Center for the Arts on Wendell Avenue where he serves a treasurer. Butch has also been a volunteer usher at the Colonial Theater since 2006 when it first re-opened to the public. For almost 30 years, until he was 65, Butch played in an adult rugby league.
Diane Marcella is currently the president of the Tyler Street Business Group and runs the Tyler Street event showcasing local businesses and providing fun for families in the Morningside District and information about local services and educational opportunities, this year there will be a farmers market which will tie into the walking loop. Diane helped get a TDI Grant to create a district revitalization plan for Tyler Street, she helped solicit businesses to participate in the trunk or treat event in October to allow 500 children have a safe fun filled evening. Diane is also a director on the board of the rental housing association of Berkshire County and volunteers with Pittsfield Beautiful.