By Melanie Petrucci, Contributing Writer
Shrewsbury – Shrewsbury Youth and Family Services (SYFS) has announced that Edwin B. Coghlin Jr. will be the 2012 recipient of the Harry S. Cutting Jr. Award. This award, which will be presented at the Feb. 11 Annual Gala, honors those who embody the spirit of giving, community service and support of the Shrewsbury community.
SYFS established the award in 1990 to honor one of the agency's founders and noted Shrewsbury philanthropist Harry S. Cutting Jr. Previous award winners include Town Moderator Christopher Mehne, Janet Trippi and the Shrewsbury Rotary Club. Last year's winner was the Irving J. Donahue family.
According to SYFS Executive Director Jeff Chin, Coghlin was a “natural” for the award.
“It is with the utmost respect and humility that we honor Mr. Coghlin with our Harry S. Cutting Jr. Award,” Chin said. “Mr. Coghlin truly embodies the spirit and soul of this award, as he has dedicated his life to improving the lives of future generations. Whether it was in his role as builder, as a father, a compassionate resident of Shrewsbury, or as a friend, he always sought to improve the conditions of those in need by doing everything in his power to help.”
The theme for this year's gala is “Celebrating an Innovator for our Time.” Coghlin's innovative and pragmatic approach to solving problems has garnered success in his business and community service projects.
Gala Chair Maureen Harrington also appreciates Coghlin's many contributions to the community.
“Ted Coghlin is a mentor to us all regarding philanthropy. He has given countless hours of his time to ensure Shrewsbury is a town in which we all want to live,” Harrington said. “Ted has been instrumental to the fabric of the Shrewsbury community from the former Shrewsbury Middle School, Town Hall, and Floral Street School to the new Sherwood Middle School project. He has been a visionary and constant supporter of these projects. I hope the Shrewsbury community will recognize Ted and all his accomplishments and join us at the gala to show their appreciation.”
Coghlin was born, raised and educated in Worcester. A graduate of Classical High School, he then graduated from WPI in 1956. Prior to transferring the family business to his daughter, Susan Mailman, he ran Coghlin Construction Services. The company owns two operating companies – Coghlin Electrical Contractors and Coghlin Network Services. These businesses have served the Worcester area for over 125 years and through four generations.
Coghlin and his wife, Maureen, raised their four children in Shrewsbury. They have five grandchildren, some of whom are currently in Shrewsbury Public Schools.
Some of Coghlin's beneficiaries include the Ecotarium, Worcester Engineering Society, Young Businessman's Club, WPI, Anna Maria College, Worcester Urban Renewal CPC, Massachusetts Electrical Code, Bishop's Fund, United Way, the town of Shrewsbury, and Central MA Regional Employment Board, as well as many youth activities, including Cub Scouts, Boy Scouts, and Little League. He also served as a director of the Boys & Girls Club.
Although his volunteer endeavors are numerous, Coghlin may perhaps be best known for his efforts over the past 25 years on behalf of local vocational education. He has often credited vocational school alumni for the success of his family's business. As chair of Worcester Technical High School's 300-member advisory boards, Coghlin works closely with administration and faculty to ensure that students benefit from the latest technology and teaching so they are provided with a state-of-the-art education.
Coghlin has received multiple honors from businesses, as well as youth organizations. He has been recognized by the Junior Chamber of Commerce, the Town of Shrewsbury, WPI, The Boys & Girls Club, the Boy Scouts and the Massachusetts Vocational Teachers.
For more information or to help sponsor or volunteer at the gala, contact SYFS at 508-845-6932 or visit www.syfs-ma.org. The event takes place Saturday, Feb. 11, at The Salem Commons, St. John's High School in Shrewsbury. Tickets are $75, tax deductible and can be purchased over the phone at 508-845-6932 with a credit card, or at SYFS, 240 Maple Ave., Shrewsbury, with cash, check, or credit card. Space is limited.
The evening celebrates community spirit and is a fund-raiser that supports SYFS programs for local children and their families.