Dawn Hammacott and the Community Culinary School of Northwestern Connecticut have had an outstanding month.

On June 1, Ms. Hammacott, the school's co-founder and director, was honored by Safeco Insurance as a "Community Hero" -- one of 15 people so recognized across the country.

And this Monday, she placed No. 1 nationally for Safeco's Community Hero Award, garnering another $10,000 grant for the New Milford school, supplementing an earlier $5,000 grant from Safeco.

The prize was based on the most votes emailed in from June 1 to June 25 by community supporters of the 15 nonprofits represented.

No vote final tally was given by Safeco but Ms. Hammacott's picture was posted on the website with "#1 Community Hero" by her name.

"Obviously it's having the support of the community that is more thrilling for me than winning any grant," said Ms. Hammacott. "Knowing that we have such support behind us is wonderful."

The combined $15,000 will be used to support more students going through the program, she said. Many of the students receive full scholarships to cover the cost of the materials, uniforms and other supplies needed during each 12-week course, she said.

This spring, Safeco Insurance of Seattle invited its independent agent partners across the country to nominate local heroes for a Community Hero Award.

Jeffrey Kilberg, a partner in Nicholas/Tobin & Association, nominated Ms. Hammacott.

"This is a great achievement," Mr. Kilberg said Monday. "I immediately thought of Dawn and the culinary school. The school has a three-fold approach to assisting people which immediately drew my attention to the program."

The school has a placement rate of 95 percent and each student who graduates receives a ServSafe certification.

Students have prepare more than 42,000 meals to be distributed in New Milford through the local food bank.

"I want to thank everyone," Ms. Hammacott said, "but the biggest thanks goes to Jeff Kilberg and Nicholas/Tobin for all they do for our community. They support so many organizations. They are truly community heroes."

Applications are being accepted for the next culinary school session beginning July 23.

Applications are available at www.communityculinaryschool.org, or call 203-512-5791 for an application and interview.