To the Editor:

There simply aren’t enough words to express our gratitude to all who helped make the Riverbrook Regional YMCA’s Farm to Table event a success on Sunday, June 4. Over 200 people gathered at Millstone Farm to raise funds to benefit the Y’s financial assistance program which enables young people achieve their potential, empower people of all ages to lead healthier lives, and strengthen the bonds of our community. We are so grateful to the community for championing this event in support of OUR Y’s mission.

The Y was proud to honor Carol and George Bauer and Albert G. Nickel (posthumously) as the 2017 Distinguished Citizen Awardees at the event. The Distinguished Citizen Award has been made to over 81 individuals, businesses and organizations since the Community Celebration began in 1986. It honors outstanding volunteers who have been making a positive difference that benefits the residents of Norwalk, Redding and Wilton.

We’d like to express special thanks to the event sponsor Fairfield County Bank. We also would like to thank Reynolds and Rowella. Also, the Village Market, KG&D Architects, Lucci Electric, The Masi Company, McCarter and English, Gregory and Adams, Absolute Logic, CT Custom Aquatics, Controlled Air, Georgetown Orthodontists, A.P. Construction Company, UBS, Richard Ball, Jeff Farrar, Skip Raymond, Janet and Michael Crystal, Wilton Hardware, Precor, Caraluzzi’s, MCL Ventures, Trout Unlimited, Lang’s Pharmacy, Bruce Bennett Nissan, Security Solutions, Santa Energy, Gregory W. Sanford Orthodontics, and M&S Paving and Sealing, for their continuous support of our cause.

Thank you as well to Volckert and Eliane van Reesema, the new owners at Millstone Farm, for hosting and attending the event which provided a beautiful and unique setting. We also thank local award-winning chef Tim LaBant of The Schoolhouse of Cannondale, who provided a most delicious dinner, and their event coordinator Rebecca Thorpe, who paid close attention to every last detail which made the event as smooth as it can be. Jen DeWitt and String Serenade provided beautiful classical music that added to the feel of the afternoon.

Paige Gladstein and Alessandra Uriarte, both seniors graduating from Wilton High School, serve as volunteer coaches for the Wilton Family YMCA’s  Special Olympic Gymnastics Team and have logged over 2,000 hours. They spoke to the crowd about their experience at the YMCA and said “Being a part of the Special Olympic athletes’ lives is amazing. The athletes have taught us so much and have showed us that the smallest acts of kindness make a difference. If more people experience the feelings we have had as coaches, our lives will be simpler and less stressful.” They continued to say, “We have learned to be more respectful and patient with one another, which makes our society a better place. Our friends with special abilities have showed us this, and without these YMCA programs, we would be much different individuals.” Paige and Alessandra reminded us that inclusion is good for everyone–kids with and without disabilities.

A big thanks to all the volunteers who contributed to making the event a success. The Farm to Table committee, made of the following volunteers:  Carol Dabrowski, Carol Johnson, Susan Larsen, Susie Maynard and Todd Stevens, went above and beyond the call of duty as volunteers. They all selflessly gave their time, support, leadership and humor to help forward the mission of the Riverbrook Regional YMCA serving Norwalk, Redding and Wilton. Also, thank you to volunteer auctioneer and past Y Board Member Sean Carroll for leading the most successful auction and paddle raise that we have ever conducted. Paddle raise funds supported the Y’s Race4Chase program, where we welcome over 30 youth athletes from Norwalk to attend a free triathlon summer camp.

On behalf of the Y staff and Y board of directors we thank the entire community for their continued support of this event. We wish everyone a healthy and safe summer and we can’t wait to see you at the farm next year!

Bob McDowell
CEO, Riverbrook Regional YMCA

Clay Larsen
Chairman, Riverbrook Regional YMCA