Community service

Somerville Museum Presents Annual Somerville Business History and Community Service Awards

Dennis Morales and Jacey Morales receive the Somerville Business History Award on behalf of Taco Loco.

The Somerville Museum presented its annual awards at a small in-person ceremony. The Museum Awards program honors organizations and individuals who have served the Town of Somerville or the Museum, making a powerful contribution to the community.

The Somerville Business History Award recognizes businesses that have contributed to the culture and development of Somerville through their length of business and/or their impact on the history or culture of the town. The 2021 winners of the Somerville Business History Awards are Taco Loco restaurant and Earthworm Inc.

Dennis Morales, Jacey Morales and Priscilla Morales Taco Loco received a 2021 Business History Award.

Taco Loco was founded by the Morales family in 1994 on Broadway in East Somerville. Jacey Morales, Dennis Morales and Priscilla Morales received the award. “Our family is proud to have our restaurant in Somerville,” said Dennis Morales. “Our goal has always been to serve the city. Taco Loco is part of our family’s heritage in the community. Taco Loco’s food has received numerous local awards as well as recognition from Boston Magazine, Eater Boston, The Boston Globe, and other publications. (Boston Eater notes that Taco Loco “is home to some of the best tacos in the Boston area”.) In 2020, the restaurant moved to a larger space on Broadway. For its longstanding contributions to the Somerville community, the Somerville Museum is pleased to recognize Taco Loco with a Somerville Business History Award.

Providing recycling and education services, Earthworm, Inc. has operated in Somerville for over 50 years. Longtime board member and Somerville resident Herb Fuller received the award on behalf of the organization. Earthworm was founded on Earth Day in 1970 by three computer science students from MIT. Originally called the Recycling Revolutionary Coop, the goals of this first venture were to demonstrate the viability of recycling by operating a self-sufficient business and conserving natural resources.

Finance professional Vijay Batavia receives the Somerville Museum Community Service Award.

The organization began by using an old beer truck to collect punch cards, computer paper, and other paper waste from commercial, government, and nonprofit offices in the greater Boston area. In 1974, the co-op changed its name to Earthworm, Inc. and was granted nonprofit status as a 501(c)3 educational organization. Today, Earthworm’s mission is to promote recycling in the workplace and offers affordable and flexible collection and recycling services. Herb Fuller noted that Earthworm Inc. staff and board members have continued to impact recycling and environmental causes internationally. For its contribution to the community of Somerville and beyond for over half a century, the Somerville Museum is pleased to recognize Earthworm, Inc. with a Somerville Business History Award.

The Somerville Museum Community Service Award recognizes individuals or organizations who have served the town of Somerville through their support of local arts, history and/or culture. This work can be done independently or in partnership with the Somerville Museum.

The Kiwanis Club of Somerville was the first recipient of a 2021 Community Service Award. The Kiwanis Club is a service club that focuses on helping children. The club organizes fundraisers for the local Head Start program, donates books to Somerville classrooms, provides college scholarships to deserving Somerville High School students, presents history lessons with the help from local actors, adjust children’s bikes for safer play and donated hundreds of backpacks. filled with school supplies for the neighborhood children. Haley Adams, Kiwanis member and vice district governor, received the award on behalf of the Kiwanis club, which was also attended by Kiwanis members Jim Bowdring and his daughter Jillian Bowdring. Former Somerville Mayor Gene Brune, also a Kiwanis member, said the Kiwanis club “provides tremendous service to the city.”

Gene Brune, Barbara Mangum Haley Adams, Julian Bowdring and Jim Bowdring with the Community Service Award for the Kiwanis Club.

Community service awards were also presented to Vijay Batavia of JP Morgan Chase who helped the Museum manage the growing complexity of its finances with kindness, wisdom and professionalism. Cynthia Frawley, Barbara Fash and Tatiana Shannon received a joint award for spending hundreds of volunteer hours inventorying and packing more than 400 historic textiles from the Museum’s collection so they can be moved and stored offsite for protect them during the Museum construction project. With great care, they ensured that these objects were kept in a safe place during the historic renovation of the museum.

The Thomas Battinelli Museum Stewardship Award is named in honor of Thomas Battinelli, a longtime volunteer and supporter of the Museum (1929-2017). The award recognizes and celebrates individuals or organizations that have demonstrated outstanding support for the Museum, furthering its mission or strengthening it as an institution. With quiet dedication, Sandra McGoldrick worked to make the Museum’s fundraising campaign, Access for All and More, a success, positioning the Museum for the future. The Somerville Museum is pleased to recognize Sandra McGoldrick with the Thomas Battinelli Stewardship Award.

About the Somerville Museum

Located in the heart of the city at the intersection of Central Street and Westwood Road, the Somerville Museum has been the community’s premier cultural institution for nearly a century. While specializing in the visual arts — including many exhibits of historical and local significance — the Museum also offers a variety of musical and lecture series, some of which are produced in conjunction with Somerville Public Schools. An important meeting place for local historical and cultural organizations, the Museum has a long tradition of encouraging hands-on learning projects for young and old. As the only not-for-profit, volunteer-run, member-supported, community-based cultural institution in Somerville, members and volunteers are always welcome. For more information, visit To donate to the Museum’s fundraising campaign, Access for All and more, please visit

Herb Fuller of Earthworm Inc. who received a 2021 Somerville Business History Award.

Kiwanis Club of Somerville Vice District Governor Haley Adams.

Somerville Museum Board Member Charan Devereaux with Taco Loco’s Priscilla Morales with the Somerville Business History Award.

Tatianna Shannon receives award for textiles conservation from Museum Board Chair Barbara Mangum

Herb Fuller of Earthworm Inc receives the Somerville Business History Award from museum president Barbara Mangum.

Haley Adams, vice district governor of the Kiwanis Club, and Gene Brune, former mayor of Somerville.