Five from CHA are honored for their contributions to the community

March 1, 2018 08:00 AM

Press contacts:
Office of Communications – Chicago Housing Authority
Molly Sullivan: (312) 786-3344;
Matthew Aguilar: (312) 935-2646;

CHICAGO (March 1, 2018) –Two Chicago Housing Authority employees and three affiliated with CHA were recently honored at the McCormick Chamber of Commerce’s 9th Annual Martin Luther King Business Dinner.

Andy Teitelman (Director of Senior Services and Health Initiatives), Cass Miller (Director of the Charles Hayes Center), Francine Washington (CHA Commissioner), and resident service coordinators Pamela Wright and Carmen Rivera-Vargas were presented with an award for their outstanding performance and commitment to furthering the community’s mission.

“The purpose of the event is to show all the work that they’ve done,” said Christine Bowden, Executive Director of the McCormick Chamber of Commerce. “Andy has just done outstanding work. Cass has turned the Charles Hayes Center into something we can be proud of. Francine, I met 40 years ago and she has always been an outstanding person, committed to the community. And Pam and Carmen, anytime they can assist, they will.”

The awards were determined by a selection committee of representatives from the President’s and Chamber’s committee offices, Neighborhood Coalition offices, Business Associations, diverse non-profit community organizations and past award winners.

Teitelman said he was pleasantly surprised by the award. He has worked at CHA since October 2003, and will retire today, March 1, after a 40-plus year career in social services and more than 14 years at CHA.

“I think it’s an honor to be recognized for the things we do every day, that help residents of the community,” he said.

Wright, who grew up in Harold Ickes Homes, has been volunteering for most of her life. She said helping people is her calling. Her job as a resident services coordinator at UCAN on behalf of CHA is an extension of that.

"The first thing I thought when I got the call was, 'Do I deserve this? Because you don't have to give it to me," she said. "I suppose I'm just getting my reward."

Rivera-Vargas grew up in Cabrini-Green. She used to recruit kids to volunteer for various community efforts. Now she performs similar duties for Employment and Employer Services on behalf of the CHA.

"It's an honor and a privilege to be chosen for this award," she said. "I was surprised, because this is something we do on a normal basis. It comes natural to me. I do what needs to be done."

Miller, who has been at CHA for 13 years and worked his way up to Director at the Charles Hayes Center, also said he was honored.

"I'm humbled that people thought enough of me to give me an award for what I normally do," he said.

And Washington, who is also the CAC President and has served on the CHA Board of Commissioners since 2014, said this award means that someone has seen her and recognized what she does every day.

"I'm just doing what I've always done," she said. "People make me tick. I love helping people.