Long-time Catholic Charities administrator recognized with special award

The efforts of the Lori Accardi, deputy director of Catholic Charities of Broome County, were recognized with the prestigious Vincenza DeFazio Award at the Desmond Hotel in Albany on Monday, March 9.

The award is named after a Catholic Charities attorney who was killed in an automobile accident. It was established in 1992 to honor Catholic Charities employees from throughout New York State who embody DeFazio’s quiet example.

“It was overwhelming to be recognized by my peers, many of whom I’ve worked with for all those years and particularly the council of Catholic Charities directors, who are the diocesan leaders across the state. It was just overwhelming,” said Accardi, a parishioner at Our Lady of Sorrows Church in Vestal.

The award presentation coincided with the New York State Catholic Conference’s Public Policy Day, which brings together representatives from NYS dioceses for the purpose of lobbying.

Accardi has been working with Catholic Charities of Broome County for nearly 30 years, primarily in the area of mental health, but more recently with issues pertaining to alcohol and substance abuse. She is currently the chairperson for the state-wide Behavioral Health Committee.

As the deputy director of the agency in Broome County, Accardi said that she is also responsible for a number of other activities.

“I’m kind of second person in command after Joe Slavik, so I oversee all operations. But I also do a lot with grants and I’m kind of the public policy person for the agency. When there are advocacy issues I’ll send out notices to everyone to call their legislators,” she said.

Catholic Charities of Broome County Director Joe Slavik noted that the award was well deserved.

“It’s wonderful. It’s a wonderful acknowledgment for a young lady who spent her entire career working with a special needs group in the populations of our community, not only on a local level, but also on a state level as well,” he said. Slavik, a parishioner at St. Anthony of Padua in Endicott, offered considerable praise for Accardi.

“She’s wonderful. She’s articulate, she’s very bright, she’s very well-organized, very thorough in her approach but also has a deep concern and passion for others,” he said. “She came to work with Catholic Charities with the intention of only spending a year or so with us and that was 29 years ago. Obviously, she’s enjoyed her work, she’s found her niche and she’s made a career out of working for the church.”

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