Bold Types – The New England Council is back in person, with awards to give
By Jon Chesto, The Boston Globe
The New England Council is back in person, with awards to give
The New England Council’s annual awards dinner returned in full force last week after two years in the virtual world. An estimated 1,800 people packed the expansive ballroom at the Omni hotel in the Seaport, slightly more than in a typical year before the pandemic.
“I always wondered why the Omni hotel was constructed here,” Governor Charlie Baker joked from the stage. “Now I know: The New England Council needed a bigger room.”
This time around, the council gave its “New Englander of the Year” awards to: US Trade Representative Katherine Tai; Andrew Dreyfus, the departing CEO of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts; Linda Henry, CEO of Boston Globe Media; and David Long, chief executive of Liberty Mutual.
Former Boston Bruins star Willie O’Ree, the first black player in the National Hockey League, received a lifetime achievement award; O’Ree accepted via a prerecorded video because he lives in California, with a medical issue that prompted his doctor to recommend against traveling. The council also honored Roxbury native Enoch “Woody” Woodhouse, one of the Tuskegee Airmen, a largely black contingent of pilots in World War II.
The crowd hushed up when Woodhouse, who will soon turn 96, talked. He described his experiences battling prejudice, and told a joke or two.
“Everyone says, ‘Woody, you’re 96, you’ve got to tell me your secret,’’’ Woodhouse said. “I say, ‘My secret is my secret. I’m not telling you!’”