The Wilton Family YMCA has announced that Karen Birck and Bruce Hampson will be the recipients of this year’s Distinguished Citizen Awards. The awards are presented annually at the Wilton Community Celebration being held this year on Sunday, May 22 at Millstone Farm. The event sponsor is Fairfield County Bank.

The Distinguished Citizen Award has been presented to over 81 individuals, businesses and organizations since the Community Celebration began in 1986. It honors outstanding volunteers who have been serving the town on a long-term basis and making a positive difference that benefits Wilton and its residents.

Bob McDowell, CEO of the Riverbrook Regional YMCA said of this year’s recipients, “We had several nominations for the Distinguished Citizen Awards this year, and it was a difficult choice for the committee to select two winners. Both Karen and Bruce have made significant contributions to improving the quality of life in Wilton and are eminently deserving of this honor.”

Dedication and service through volunteerism have long been a part of Birck’s and Hampson’s lives. The two co-chaired the $20 million renovation of the Wilton High School science classrooms and Little Theater which were completed in 2010. This was a project that had to be completed during the 10-week summer vacation. Not only was the strict timeline met, it was also finished under budget. This capital project was the first of many that Birck and Hampson either led or participated in. In fact, it would be accurate to say both of these dedicated volunteers have led or participated in every bonded school and municipal capital project in Wilton since 2007.

In addition to also serving with as co-chair of the Miller-Driscoll School Renovation Building Committee, Hampson has also volunteered on the rebuild of the Comstock Community Center building, and was chair and founding member of the Wilton Energy Commission. In 2010, Bruce was chosen as a recipient of the Connecticut Climate Change Leadership Award presented by then-Gov. Jodi Rell for his energy efficiency work on the High School renovation and with the Wilton Energy Commission. Other volunteer involvement includes serving as vice-chair of Wilton’s Council for Public Facilities, and director for Wilton Go Green. He has also been very active in Trout Unlimited that does so much for the Norwalk River and other water resources in our area.

Birck has the strength of character required to so generously and graciously offer her gifts of time and talent to serve Wilton. Examples of her volunteer work extend across a wide variety of Wilton civic and private community organizations. They include Wilton’s Board of Education (which she chaired from 2006-2009), Wilton Energy Commission, and also as a founding member of Wilton Go Green. Birck has also served as treasurer and past president of the Encore Club of Wilton, and is still heavily engaged with the League of Women Voters. She was also involved with the partial re-roofing capital project at Middlebrook and the renovation of the restrooms at both Middlebrook and Wilton High School.

Several letters were submitted along with the duo’s nominations as testament to their dedication to the Wilton community.

One read, “Karen and Bruce are the kinds of people who are wonderful role models for young folks who want to become volunteers in our special town. In difficult times it is the strong, courageous and forward-looking people who are willing to lead. Karen and Bruce are those kinds of caring, dedicated people, who accept the toughest challenges which will ensure the brightest future for our community.”

Another supporting letter included this quote:  “I can tell you that Karen and Bruce are the very best of volunteers. They are two Wiltonians who very much deserve to be named the Y’s 2016 Distinguished Citizen.”

Another quote from the press release announcing their award said, “Karen and Bruce are exceptional people on every front imaginable.  Both are model citizens who are genuine, self-effacing people who do all that they do for the joy of helping Wilton.  Karen and Bruce are most deserving of the Distinguished Citizen Awards in 2016.”

Millstone Farm, Wilton’s own pastoral working farm will be the beautiful and unique setting for the Wilton Family YMCA’s 30th Annual Community Celebration. For additional information including ticket purchases, please contact the Development office at 203.762.8384, ext. 273.