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NEW BRITAIN, CT –It is more important than ever to honor and celebrate the contributions of our volunteers, during this turbulent time due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Hospital for Special Care (HFSC) has awarded Avis and John Devine 2020’s M. Gertrude McCue Volunteer of the Year Award. This award, which began in 1991, honors an individual’s dedication and compassion to making a difference for HFSC’s staff, patients, visitors and community.


Avis and John have volunteered at HFSC’s Manes & Motions Therapeutic Riding Center for eight years. Avis and John have supported Manes & Motions in all aspects from caring for the herd, contributing to annual fundraisers, aiding in office work and facility maintenance, to training other volunteers. “Both Avis and John are valued members of our team and have remained dedicated to some of the same riders year after year,” said Jeanna Pellino, Manes & Motions Program Coordinator, “Their caring nature and integrity comes naturally and is shown through their compassion towards others.”


The Devines spent more than 130hours improving the facility and grounds this year by completing an extensive project to bring water and electricity to the paddocks.  “John and Avis spent many days digging and backfilling a trench for the water and electrical lines, from inside the arena to the paddocks – over hundreds of feet,” said Jeanna Pellino, Manes & Motions Program Coordinator, “With their contributions, we were able to complete a much needed project, that we would not have otherwise had the resources to complete during a difficult year. We are so grateful!” The Devines also contribute regularly to the program’s operating costs and donate equipment needed to support the horses and riders.


“It is incredibly important to show our gratitude to our volunteers during an extremely difficult time,” says Olivia Reed, Volunteer and Community Relations Coordinator at the Hospital for Special Care.


Manes & Motions implemented a multi-phased strategy to safely and gradually reintroduce services in June.  The plans comply with all HFSC policies and State of Connecticut guidelines for businesses providing outdoor recreational activities. Volunteers have played an important role in the re-introduction of services and maintaining safety at the facility.


About the M. Gertrude McCue Award

The annual volunteer award was launched in 1991 in honor of the late M. Gertrude McCue, who volunteered at Hospital for Special Care for over 45 years, both as a patient advocate and friend. Gertrude’s spirit of giving, compassion and dedication is the foundation for this award. Gertrude McCue helped found the hospital’s Auxiliary in 1952, as well as the gift shop and our thrift shop.  She also served on the hospital’s Board of Directors, and was personally involved in patient care.




About Manes & Motions Therapeutic Riding Center

Manes & Motions Therapeutic Riding Center was founded in 1999 and is a PATH International Premier Accredited Center. Equine Assisted Services are available to children and adults with varying degrees of cognitive, physical, behavioral, psychological and sensory disabilities. Indoor and outdoor programs are conducted by certified therapeutic riding instructors and supported by over 150 trained volunteers at their location in Middletown. For the latest news and information please visit


About Hospital for Special Care

Hospital for Special Care (HFSC) is the fourth largest, free-standing long-term acute care hospital in the U.S. and one of only two in the nation serving adults and children. HSC is recognized for advanced care and rehabilitation in pulmonary care, acquired brain injury, medically-complex pediatrics, neuromuscular disorders including ALS research, spinal cord injury, comprehensive heart failure and comprehensive inpatient and outpatient treatment for children and adolescents with autism spectrum disorder.


Located in New Britain and Hartford, CT, HFSC operates inpatient and outpatient facilities serving Southern New England and the Tri-State area on a not-for-profit basis. For the latest news and information, please visit, and follow us on Facebook @HospitalforSpecialCare and Twitter @HospSpecialCare.