Tara Pitarys, a mother of four, stood by the glass at a hockey rink in Hudson’s Cyclones Arena, where on the ice, her 11 year old son Nick, playing defenseman for his team the Cyclones, was scurrying to get the puck. His mother cheered him on, the score at 5-0, and the game just seconds before the final buzzer.
The Cyclones were winning.
Pitarys took a few minutes while her son changed into his street clothes to talk about being honored by the governor of New Hampshire for being an Unsung Hero. Governor Maggie Hassan honored the local woman at a ceremony in Concord on Feb.19.
One of 28 parents honored as Unsung Heroes, Pitarys was the only one from Londonderry, and was recognized for her volunteer work with FROG Families Reaching Our Goals. ￼Pitarys has been involved with FROG for the past 14 years “on and off,” since her oldest child was 5 years old. “She’s 19 years old now,” Pitarys said. Her other children are 11, 9, and 3. Pitarys’ volunteer work at FROG is widespread.
She sets up Facebook pages and lets parents know when meetings are held, who guest speakers will be and when they will be speaking, where bargains can be found in stores and how to procure benefits for families in need. “When you find out about the award, they send you a letter with how many people were nominated and how many of them were chosen. I think this time there were 28 chosen out of about 40 people nominated,” Pitarys said.
Pitarys was nominated by the program facilitator of FROG, Pam Miller-Sallet of The Upper Room, a family resource center in Derry. “We got to meet the Governor in her chambers at the State House and they gave me a plaque, took a picture with the Governor, and had a little reception downstairs,” she said. “It was really nice. I kind of felt unworthy to be there after hearing what some of the other people had done – some people had like seven foster children. It was very humbling.”
When it was time to leave the arena, Pitarys said she will be back there in the morning, as Nick had three games that weekend and she’ll return to cheering her son, the cheers she received from the Governor a lasting memory.