NEWINGTON â€“ The townâ€™s very first Community Champion has been crowned.
State Rep. Gary Turco of the 27th House District launched the monthly Community Champion Award in March and announced inaugural winner Jan Kritzman April 2 during his weekly Facebook Live update.
â€śThere are a lot of different awards the Board of Education, Town Council and others give out to individuals in Newington for all different reasons,â€ť Turco said. â€śBeing a State Rep. one of the things Iâ€™m always doing is advocating for positive change and there are Newington residents out there who are also fighting for positive change. Itâ€™s great when our causes alignâ€¦the March Newington Community Champion Award goes to Jan Kritzman for her tireless work as an advocate for breast cancer insurance.â€ť
He and Kritzman worked together to pass legislation in Jan. 2019 that eliminated out-of-pocket costs for breast cancer screenings, ultrasounds and MRIs.
â€śWe are currently working on another bill which continues efforts to make the early detection of breast cancer more affordable for women with dense breast tissue,â€ť Turco said.
The state representative received Kritzmanâ€™s nomination from several others in Newington who knew of her tireless efforts, which began well before he was elected to the Connecticut General Assembly.
â€śJan has been fighting for years for legislation mandating that insurance companies cover the cost of life saving mammograms, ultrasounds and MRI screenings for those diagnosed with dense breast tissue,â€ť read one of the nominating emails. â€śI believe Jan was instrumental in passing legislation preventing insurers from charging out-of-pocket expenses for these screening services and is now fighting for coverage of diagnostic screening once something suspicious is found and patients need follow up imaging. This has been a cause dear to her heart for about 20 years due to her personal story and her desire to help others. Janâ€™s determination on this important issue has been unwaning. No doubt Jan Kritzman is a community champion and deserves this recognition!â€ť
A second nomination read, â€śJan Kritzman is an extraordinary person who works tirelessly with a passion, drive and deep caring advocating for change far beyond our communityâ€¦HB 5687 will profoundly affect the lives of many, promoting health and well-being.â€ť
Turco is now accepting nominations for the April Community Champion. Criteria includes Newington residency and commitment to inciting positive change. Nominations can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org and should contain the nomineeâ€™s name and contact information, along with the reason they are being nominated.
Erica Drzewiecki can be reached at email@example.com.