Meet the Honorees of the First Annual 'Thumbs Up Awards', inc. will hold its First Annual “Thumbs Up Awards” honoring leaders in the community on Sunday, June 9th, 2013 at Chadwick Lake Park in Newburgh. The event  will be catered by Parties ala Cart. Reserve your tickets by calling Iris Moriarty at Dr. Winchester-Vega and Associates #845-562-9816. Ticket prices are as follows:

  • $25 for adults
  • $20 for Kids ages 6-16 
  • FREE for children under 5

Rain or Shine!

Natasha Vega, President of Kidz4causes, recently returned to the area after her first year at college. She suggested that while Thumbs Up is technically a fundraiser for 'Kidz', it promises to also be a family-fun day that is also affordable! 




The honorees are:

John Angiolillo: Owner Icco Cheese and Michelle Farms 

Kathleen Durham: Executive Director of Eleanor Roosevelt Center

Dr. Susan Jensen, Internal Medicine, Horizon Family Medical pictured below

Liza Mills: Newburgh Enlarged City School District Art Educator, Artist and Art Illustrator Collaborator for the book “Are You My Sister?”. Liza has been teaching art in the Newburgh Enlarged City School District for the past 13 years.  Ms. Mills is also a member of One World Classrooms Team of traveling educators.  Ms. Mills has also done many murals with young people both locally and internationally, having completed projects in the City of Newburgh, as well as in schools in Ecuador, Belize, and Namibia. pictured below

Marlene Stang started her volunteer service at the age of 14— through the encouragement of her mother—working as a candy striper at St. Luke’s Hospital.  Her volunteer experience set her on a career path in the nonprofit world. Her professional experience includes working at Saint Francis Hospital as a public relations assistant.  She eventually returned to St. Lukes Hospital as Director of Volunteers.  In 2000 she was promoted to Administrative Director of Development.

In 2004 she left the hospital for yet another nonprofit – Newburgh Family YMCA (now the YMCA of Dutchess & Eastern Orange). Other service roles include President of Saint Francis Auxiliary; Board of Directors for McQuade Children’s Services; St. Luke’s Cornwall Hospital Auxiliary and Hospice of Orange/Sullivan Auxiliary.  She is a graduate of Leadership Orange, and a member of the Association of Fundraising ProfessionalsMarlene is married to Pete Peterson and enjoys playing golf, relaxing on the beach and volunteering. 

Karen VanHouten Minogue: Executive Director of the Community Foundation of Orange and Sullivan. Karen has over 15 years of progressive community foundation experience.  Most recently, she held the position of Vice President of the Community Foundation of Dutchess County.  Karen possesses a passion for providing expanded philanthropic services to individuals and organizations throughout the area. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree with honors from Vassar College, is a graduate of the Marist College Certified Financial Planning Program, and has taken post-graduate classes in the Masters of Public Administration program at Marist College.  She is a graduate of Leadership Orange and Mid-Hudson Pattern for Progress Fellows Program.  She has taken extensive courses in endowment building and fundraising through the University of Indiana at Purdue and Council on Foundations.  Karen is a member of Council on Foundations, Hudson Valley Estate Planning Council, Planned Giving Council of the Mid-Hudson Valley, and is a founding member of the Mid-Hudson Valley Association of Fundraising Professionals. In 2011 she received the Tribute to Women of Achievement Award in the area of Public Service.  She is the 2012 recipient of the Fellows Award from Mid-Hudson Pattern for Progress for demonstrating best practices of regionalism in her profession and for expanding philanthropy throughout the region. 

Fran Weller and Natasha Vega Pictured

Fran Weller: Born and raised in Newburgh, New York she now works as an educator for the Newburgh Enlarged City School District. Fran is also the director of “Wanna Be My Sister?”. Her parents owned and operated a restaurant for 32 years in Newburgh where she also worked.  She married her husband in 1975 and became a mother in 1978 to her son, Kristopher. Weller was diagnosed with a life-changing disease—cancer—and decided to follow a life-long dream and become a teacher.  She attended Mount Saint Mary College in Newburgh, NY, and graduated with honors in 1999.  She student-taught at Temple Hill Academy, and was hired for the school year in 2000. She has worked at Temple Hill Academy ever since. 


Congrats to all of the honorees!! Well deserved! Thanks for all that you do to work towards improving this community on every possible level.