NEC President & CEO to be honored with Catholic Charities service award

BOSTON (November 16, 2011) – On December 9, 2011, New England Council President & CEO James T. Brett will be honored by Greater Boston Catholic Charities with its Richard D. Armstrong, Jr. Service Award.  The award will be presented at the organization’s Christmas Dinner at the Fairmont Copley Plaza Hotel in Boston.

“I have always admired Catholic Charities for its tireless commitment to supporting some of the most vulnerable members of our community,” Mr. Brett said.  “I am truly humbled to be honored with this award, particularly since it is named after my dear friend Richard Armstrong, who has always been such an inspiration to me.”

Mr. Brett, a Dorchester resident, has served as the President & CEO of the New England Council, a non-partisan business organization representing businesses throughout the six New England states, since 1996.  Prior to joining the Council, he served in the Massachusetts House of Representatives for over 15 years.  Throughout his career, Mr. Brett has been an outspoken advocate for people with intellectual disabilities.  In May 2011, President Barack Obama appointed him the Chairman of the President’s Committee for People with Intellectual Disabilities.  Mr. Brett also currently serves as the Chairman of the Massachusetts Governor’s Commission on Intellectual Disability, and served as Co-Chairman of the Massachusetts Department of Mental Health Inpatient Study Commission. Mr. Brett is a member of the Board of Directors of the John F. Kennedy Library Foundation and the Massachusetts Association for Mental Health, and serves on the Advisory Council of the Robert F. Kennedy Children’s Action Corps and The New England Center for Children. Mr. Brett also serves on the Board of Advocates of Bay Cove Human Services, Inc., the Advisory Board of the Boys and Girls Club of Dorchester.

Mr. Brett’s humanitarian work has been recognized by a number of organizations, including Action for Boston Community Development, Massachusetts Special Olympics, and Hospice of Boston, who named him Humanitarian of the Year.  In 1996, Bay Cove Human Services of Boston named a new community home for disabled adults “Brett House” in his honor.  Mr. Brett also received the Distinguished Leadership Award from Massachusetts Special Olympics in 2008.  In 2009 and 2011, the Boston Red Sox invited him to throw out the ceremonial first pitch at Fenway Park in recognition of his national contributions in support of people with intellectual disabilities.

Mr. Brett and his wife, Pattie, are active members of Blessed Mother Theresa of Calcutta Parish at St. Margaret’s Church in Dorchester, where the Brett family worked with the parish to establish a food pantry that was named in honor of Mr. Brett’s mother, Mary Ann Brett, several years ago.  In addition, Mr. Brett serves on the Board of Directors of The Missionary Society of Saint James the Apostle, and is a member of the Knights of Malta, the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem, the Sacred Military Constantinian Order of Saint George, and the Royal Brotherhood of the Order of Saint Michael of the Wing.

The New England Council, the country’s oldest regional business organization, is an alliance of businesses, academic and health institutions, and public and private organizations throughout New England formed to promote economic growth and a high quality of life in the region.  The Council is dedicated to identifying and supporting federal public policies and articulating the voice of its membership regionally and nationally on important issues facing New England.  The NEC is also committed to working with public and private sector leaders across the region and in Washington through educational programs and forums for information exchange.  For more information, please visit:


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