International Holiday Party Captures Spirit of the Season

Phil Podgorski, manager, UTRC Financial Planning & Analysis and Anais Espinal, senior engineer, Surface Mechanics, hold two of the 113 new unwrapped toys donated by East Hartford campus employees.
Phil Podgorski, manager, UTRC Financial Planning & Analysis and Anais Espinal, senior engineer, Surface Mechanics, hold two of the 113 new unwrapped toys donated by East Hartford campus employees.
Nearly 100 volunteers are needed to plan and implement the International Holiday Party.
Nearly 100 volunteers are needed to plan and implement the International Holiday Party.
Hui Gao, senior engineer, Combustion, and a volunteer at the China table, serves one of his country’s native dishes to Parag Kshirsagar, UTRC staff engineer, Power Electronics.
Hui Gao, senior engineer, Combustion, and a volunteer at the China table, serves one of his country’s native dishes to Parag Kshirsagar, UTRC staff engineer, Power Electronics.
David Parekh, vice president, Research and director, UTRC, displays the commemorative coin minted expressly to celebrate UTRC’s 85th anniversary.
David Parekh, vice president, Research and director, UTRC, displays the commemorative coin minted expressly to celebrate UTRC’s 85th anniversary.
The generosity and volunteer spirit of UTRC employees ensured yet another successful International Holiday Party, Thursday, Dec. 11, with employees contributing 113 new unwrapped toys, hundreds of dollars’ worth of canned and other non-perishable food items, and more than $2,650 in cash that will support families in need throughout the East Hartford community during the 2014 holiday season.

Nearly 260 employees attended the celebration, which offered native cuisine from 15 c ountries/regions of the world as well as a wide array of delicious desserts – most prepared and served by employee volunteers. In addition, UTRC’s Diversity & Inclusion team offered the opportunit y to sample wines from around the world, including vintages from Germany, Italy, Chile and Connecticut.

“I really like the way the event showcases how truly international the Research Center is and provides all of us with an informal, relaxed and delicious opportunity to mingle with people from not only different departments, but also different countries and backgrounds,” said Naomi Cohen, senior secretary/administrative assistant, Aerodynamics.

The toys and cash collected at the event were distributed to the Town of East Hartford and the non-perishables were donated to the Manchester Area Conferences of Churches Charities (MACC). All leftover food from the participating country tables was donated to an East Hartford shelter.

Ma ny local community leaders were in attendance, including East Hartford Mayor Marcia Leclerc who shared words of appreciation with employees to emphasize the positive impact UTRC has throughout the region. Jo-Ann Dorn, East Hartford Social Services, noted the toys and cash collected at UTRC’s International Holiday Party every year enable an average of 700 families within East Hartford to enjoy an extra-special holiday.

UTRC's Blake Moffitt and Tim Wagner provided piano and harpsichord interlude music for the evening, while the Pratt & Whitney United Chorus and Pratt & Whitney Screamin' Eagles Jazz Band entertained attendees with a broad array of seasonal songs.

Jim Fritz, UTRC director of operations, served as the evening's emcee and thanked the more than 100 volunteers who organized and/or contributed to the event for their time, effort and enthusiasm. David Parekh, vice president, Research, and director, UTRC, in addressing the crowd, noted, “tonight is a celebration of diversity, community and history,” and closed with a tribute to the Research Center’s 85 th anniversary. 

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