Cortland County Board of Realtors®
Community Hero Award
CCBR 2019 Community Hero
This was the fourth annual CCBR Community Hero Award. Nominations are accepted from the public and from CCBR members for this award. A donation is given to a charity of the recipient’s choice. This year the award was given, posthumously, to Catherine Bernardo. Catherine’s daughter, mother, and some of her closest friends, accepted the award. Jackie Newton, one of those close friends, Presented the award and had these words to share.
It wasn’t until her recent, untimely passing from metastatic breast cancer that we realized how much this amazing person did for our community, her friends, her family, several charities and Walden Oaks Golf Course. While I knew she was a generous, caring and a giving person with a huge heart and a smile that lit up a room, I figured out very quickly while putting this list together how much she did, in addition to working a full-time job, and being a full-time college student, all while being a terrific mom and wife.
The following are just some of the things she did for our community:
- Past President, as well as several other positions, at the McGraw Lions Club, and did the eye screening for children at local schools for the Lions.
- Previous Cortland Chamber of Commerce board member, hospital aide, sat on the community ice skating committee at JM McDonald Complex, donated time to other local charities.
- Started the Foundation of Courage to help people fighting the battle with cancer to make their lives a little easier either, offering car rides, wigs, taxis, or whatever they might need. The foundation of Courage charity will be carried on by her friends and her family.
- In 2018 for Christmas she did Catherine’s Christmas Wish. She raised money to buy lip balm and hand cream for all of those fighting cancer in the local oncology department. She delivered over 250 of these packages with a huge smile and her Santa elf costume!
- Made “Courage” caps and cuff bracelets for cancer patients, including friends and her family
- Hired special needs people at Walden Oaks Country Club
- Was inspirational in promoting women’s retreats
- Raised awareness of cancer by speaking about her cancer experience and raised funds for the American Cancer Society
- Was always the woman behind the scene helping families, friends, and children, without wanting recognition.
She was always opening her heart and arms to so many and showed all of us unconditional love and friendship. Not only was she a hero to all the lives she touched, and to this community, but she encouraged all of us to be SUPER HEROES in our own lives.