Self Help Movement last week held its annual reception, honoring state Sen. Tina Tartaglione and recently retired director of intake and community relations Carmelo Benjamin.
The June 22 event took place at Knowlton Mansion and featured dinner, music, raffles and a silent auction.
Bob Dellavella is CEO of Self Help, based at 2600 Southampton Road.
Longtime United Food and Commercial Workers Local 1776 President Wendell Young IV introduced Tartaglione (D-2nd dist.), who received the Humanitarian Award.
Joseph Ruggiero, Self Help’s founder and retired longtime CEO, introduced Benjamin, who accepted the Commitment to Recovery Award.
Tartaglione and Benjamin each received a City Council citation and a crystal eagle. At Self Help, the eagle represents the journey from addiction to sobriety.
Young recalled that he and Tartaglione grew up together attending St. Martin of Tours, and that she was a UFCW representative. He said Tartaglione, elected in 1994, has been effective since she’s been a freshman, even though she’s served in the minority the entire time. He credited her with fighting for a higher minimum wage, for having a 100 percent rating from the AFL-CIO and for looking out for essential workers during the coronavirus and making sure they were among the first to receive the vaccination. He also recalled that she worked from her hospital bed and rehab room after she suffered a serious spine injury in a 2003 boating accident,
Ruggiero, who also led the crowd in a prayer, noted that Benjamin was a resident and later a volunteer who earned a college degree and became the director of intake.
“When a client sat across from Carmelo Benjamin,” Ruggiero said, “that client knew that Carmelo Benjamin felt his pain, his worries and struggles.”
Tartaglione presented Benjamin with a Senate citation.
Current and former elected officials in the crowd included Superior Court Judge Maria McLaughlin; Common Pleas Court Judge Dan Sulman; Municipal Court Judge Michael Lambert; City Council members Mike Driscoll, Derek Green, Isaiah Thomas and Helen Gym; state Sen. Jim Dillon; Bob Brady; and Bobby Henon.
Brady, a former congressman, presented Tartaglione, who has been sober since 2003, with an American flag that was flown over the Capitol. She also received flowers and spoke of her support in the Senate for drug and alcohol recovery programs.
Dellavella thanked his wife, Angie, and executive assistant, Linda Kilkenny, for their help organizing the reception.
To inquire about admission to Self Help Movement, call 215-677-7778, Ext. 110 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. ••