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Nick Cocchi, candidate for Sheriff of Hampden County, has received the endorsement of Women of The Vanguard, Inc., the organization established in 2008 to fight for and protect the interests of the residents of Springfield's North End. The group's exceptional efforts successfully stopped the siting of the Hampden County Sheriff's Department Alcohol Addiction Center on Wason Avenue in the neighborhood after the site was selected by Massachusetts DCAM.

After several meetings over the last few months with Nick Cocchi, The Women of The Vanguard, Inc., have endorsed Nick Cocchi for Sheriff of Hampden County. In a written letter of endorsement, President Maria Perez highlighted the reasons for their enthusiastic endorsement of Cocchi.

"The Woman of The Vanguard and I strongly agree on many things. One thing in particular was that the Wason Avenue issue was too important to the neighborhood for anyone to be playing politics with it. This was an issue that had to be addressed based upon the facts. The Women of The Vanguard deserve so much of the credit for making a strong case against the site. They made their voices heard from Hampden County to Boston," said Cocchi.

"It is with the utmost respect and pride that Woman of the Vanguard, Inc.

wholeheartedly endorse Nick Cocchi for the Office of Sheriff of Hampden County. As an organization whose main objective has been, since 2008, working for the well-being of the residents of the North End and the city as a whole, it is our belief that Nick Cocchi is the best qualified candidate to direct the ensuing future issues that face the criminal justice system.

He has over two decades of experience and the fortitude to ensure that The Hampden County Sheriff's Department continues to be an example nationwide.

Cocchi is a strong advocate of ensuring the safety of Hampden County residents, yet at the same time, he has an understanding that rehabilitation can be successful. He is a highly decorated Academy graduate who has dedicated his life to his career, coming up from the ranks to the position he holds today," wrote Maria Perez.

"I am so overwhelmed to receive the endorsement of The Women of The Vanguard. I respect these women so much; their only ambition is the betterment and protection of their neighborhood, of their homes, their families and their children's futures. They are  extraordinary community activists. We met during the Wason Avenue issue and I heard their concerns.

I completely understood their opposition to the Addiction Center and the way that the Center was thrust upon the neighborhood with no input from the residents. We talked during that time and after. I learned from them what I can do for their neighborhood, what they want and need from their next Sheriff. I am devoted to their efforts and they will be a part of our community outreach as long as I am Sheriff," said Cocchi.

"I've received many endorsements and I appreciate them all. The letter that they wrote of endorsement, is one that I will frame and keep in my office as a reminder of how important it is to listen to people as a public servant.As great as every word of their endorsement is, one paragraph really touchedme: "He treats all as an equal regardless of the color of the skin or religious beliefs and takes great pride in the friends he has acquired over the years." Those words are priceless to me. That is my life's philosophy and the philosphy we live at the Hampden County Sheriff's Department," said Cocchi.

"Our discussions about the quality of life in the North End went beyond the neighborhood. The Women of The Vanguard gave me ideas about what the future Hampden County Sheriff's Department can do in neighborhoods all over the County. The idea to turn our Cocchi Campaign Headquarters into a Youth Center after the election came from the meetings with these incredible ladies. Our Cocchi Campaign Springfield Co-Chairman, former Springfield City Councilor Bill Foley, always reminds me of his mantra as a public official:  "It's about people's quality of life, Nick". That is what the future cooperation between the Hampden County Sheriff's Department and The Women of The Vanguard will accomplish for residents of the North End," said Cocchi.