When Luis Fernandez received his PARC Shining Star Award, with a whoop he leapt across the dance floor. His joy echoed the feelings of many of the people attending the PARC Spring Dance held May 7 at Testa’s restaurant in Southington. It had been several years since the non-profit had held its annual dance that celebrates members, families, staff and supporters.

PARC, based in Plainville, was founded 65 years ago to provide individuals with developmental disabilities and their families connections to the community, social opportunities and advocacy.

PARC member Samantha Burgess also received a Shining Star Award at the event which featured a dinner, dancing and music with DJ Joe with Audio Visual Anarchy. She is one of the many individuals who participate in a variety of activities, programs and special events that PARC offers. The Shining Star Award is given to participants whose positive attitudes promote friendship and enhance activities.

Other honorees were William A. Petit Sr. and his wife, Barbara, who received the John Sullivan Award which was established to recognize community service. William A. Petit Jr., one of their five children and a Connecticut state representative, presented his parents with a state citation.

“I am proud to see PARC recognize my parents for their outreach efforts. They have loved the Plainville community throughout their lives, from PTA to Boy and Girl Scouts, Little League, Town Council, Rotary, the Board of Education, the Historical Society and PARC. They love helping others to create a kind and giving community that helps all. Congratulations, Mom and Dad!” he said.

Petit Sr. said, “We are honored and humbled to receive the John Sullivan Award. We do not volunteer to receive recognition but it is nice to be so honored. It was a wonderful evening being with the PARC board and clients and, of course, our family.” He added that he knew John Sullivan who as a young salesman stopped by various stores which the Petits owned.

“We were so thrilled to have such a successful event,” said Erica Donovan, PARC executive director. “After a two-year hiatus, it was absolutely wonderful to see our members, families, friends, and supporters smiling and enjoying a terrific night together.”

Brenda Rodriguez, who is active with PARC’s senior ladies group and also enjoys bingo, said she loved being able to attend the event again and especially get out on the dance floor. “The dance was wonderful; it makes me happy,” she said.

For more information about PARC, a 501 (c)(3) organization, visit www.parcdisabilitiesct.org; PARC, Inc. on Facebook; or call the office at (860) 747-0316.