Angela Sanfilippo said she wasn’t expecting any awards Sunday when she traveled to New Bedford for that city’s Working Waterfront Festival.
She was in for a surprise.
Sanfilippo was standing next to Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley aboard the state’s official vessel, the schooner Ernestina, when the announcement was made for this year’s recipients for the prestigious Offshore Mariners’ Wives Friend of the Fishing Industry Award.
“She looked at me and said, ‘They just called your name’,” Sanfilippo said Monday. “I had no clue. I was in total shock.”
Sanfilippo, the president of the Gloucester Fishermen’s Wives Association and a tireless advocate for fishermen and the fishing industry, was one of two recipients. The other was J.J. Bartlett, the president of the Burlington-based Fishing Partnership Support Services, a free health and wellness service for fishermen and their families.
As this year’s winner, Sanfilippo becomes the second Gloucester recipient to receive the honor. The first was the Times’ late fisheries reporter Richard Gaines, who was honored, along with the Times itself, for his persistent coverage of the fisheries in 2010. Past winners have included staunch fishing industry advocates such as the late Sen. Edward Kennedy and former Congressman Barney Frank.