SOUTHBURY — The Watermark at East Hill recently held a ceremony honoring recipients of the Watermark Retirement Communities’ annual “Thrive Awards.”

The awards are given to associates from Watermark’s 32 communities nationwide who exemplify the company’s vision of creating extraordinary communities where people thrive.

“We are absolutely thrilled to present these awards to a very deserving group of associates and residents,” said Michelle Bettigole, Executive Director at The Watermark at East Hill.

“We are giving awards to more than two dozen people, which really speaks to the heart, soul and level of commitment these associates put into their jobs each and every day.”

Jim Bain, dining services director from New Milford, was awarded a Breakthrough Award, which is given to a person who generates outstanding results and/or completes a groundbreaking project that is sustainable and has proven to impact the organization.

Mr. Bain was instrumental in transitioning the community’s dining programs from a contract food service company to being self-operated.

He worked with Watermark’s national food service director and assembled a team of associates that together created new menus and worked with local chefs and directors to create a re-vamped dining experience for residents.

The following awardees were also honored during the ceremony.

Another Breakthrough Award was given to Lynn Kling, Lisa Ford, Nicole Porto, Susan Ready, Isha Cruz, Dawn Bishop, Carlene DosSantos, Heather Kimball, Susan Riddick, Ann Marie Salmon and Lorela Bylykbashi, eleven women called “Nayas,” who work at The Villa, The Watermark at East Hill’s memory care community.

Together, these women were recognized for taking memory care at The Villa to extraordinary heights and taking caregiving to an entirely new level.

Annarita DiFiore, a controller from Waterbury, was awarded Rookie of the Year, an award given to a new associate for making a substantial contribution to the community during their first year.

The Watermark at East Hill Medical Records Associate Leslie Kramer of Southbury, along with resident Lila Howard, both received awards for their contributions to the community as Watermark University instructors.

Watermark University is a continuing education program designed with interesting topics and activities to keep seniors’ minds and bodies fit.

The Watermark at East Hill honored beloved associate Seth Machak of South Hadley, Mass., who unexpectedly passed away earlier this year. The Seth Machak Champion Award was created in his name and given to his parents.

Watermark Retirement Communities flew Seth’s parents to Tucson, Ariz., to receive the award in person. The award will now be given out annually to an associate who exemplifies Watermark’s vision and Seth’s example of giving of oneself to others.

“Thrive Award” winners from The Watermark at East Hill include Gloria Charles, Michaela Kaklamanos, Wendy Criswell, Emily Zaleta, Melinda Lovelett, Mary Lake, Maureen Marotto, Charlie Iaiennaro and Kathleen Kelly.