Johanne Pantani

For years, Johanne Pantani has been flying under the radar, quietly making a profound impact on her community. As impressive as the list of her volunteer work is – as a Hospice volunteer, comforting patients of a local pediatric oncologist, aiding every Habitat for Humanity build, organizing “Take a Vet Fishing” days, and serving as Secret Santa to seemingly an entire town, to name just a few – it’s the way her many nominators describe her commitment that’s most touching. Their notes share the story of a tireless spirit who, despite losing her high school sweetheart, her husband Bruce, to cancer (she is a cancer survivor herself), has selflessly continued to seek ways to help those in need – and she has always involved her four children and now her many grandchildren in her volunteering. Because of Johanne, Branford kids in need can count on a full backpack to start the school year, families (including parents!) will find a present under the tree each holiday, and her many, many friends and admirers have a role model for kindness, passion, and generosity.