The Riverbrook Regional YMCA/Wilton Family YMCA has announced that Patrick Russo will be the recipient of this year’s Distinguished Citizen Award. This award is presented annually at the YMCA Community Celebration, being held this year at Shore & Country Club in Norwalk. Sponsored by Fairfield County Bank, this year’s Community Celebration is the Sea to Table event on Sunday, June 2.

The Distinguished Citizen Award has been made to over 85 individuals, businesses and organizations since the Community Celebration began in 1986. It honors outstanding volunteers who have served the community through volunteerism on a long-term basis and make a positive difference that benefits Wilton, Norwalk and Redding and their residents.

“We had several nominations for the Distinguished Citizen Awards this year, and it was a difficult choice for the committee to select the winner,” Robert McDowell, CEO of the Riverbrook Regional YMCA, said. “Pat Russo has made significant contributions to improving the quality of life in Wilton and is eminently deserving of this honor.”

Through the years, Wilton resident Russo has generously offered his time and talents to serve others in Wilton. A native of Garden City, NY, Pat moved to Fairfield County in 1970 while attending Fairfield University. He and his wife, Mary Russo, moved to Wilton in 1996 and have been ingrained in the Wilton community through numerous volunteer activities since then.

Since 2004, Pat has served as a volunteer driver for Our Lady of Fatima Food Kitchen, where he delivers food from Village Market twice a month to the Manna House of Hospitality Soup Kitchen at the Open Door Shelter and the Person-to-Person food pantry. Through Our Lady of Fatima and the Rotary Club of Wilton he has also been a volunteer for HomeFront, which provides free repairs to low-income homeowners, enabling them to remain in their homes with an improved quality of life.

Russo has been an active member of the Rotary Club of Wilton since 2004, and has served as past president; current member of the Board of Directors; community service chair; and president of the Carnival Committee since 2012, spearheading the club’s major fundraising event. He was instrumental in expanding the Rotary Senior Fire Protection program with Town of Wilton and Red Cross with the installation of more than 500-plus smoke detectors for live-at-home seniors. Russo has also received multiple Rotary awards for his “service above self,” including the Paul Harris Fellow, Rotarian of the Year 2010-11, District Governor Citation for Service (2014), and the Norman King Parsells Memorial Award for Service (2015).

As a Wilton Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) member since 2005, Russo has personally completed hundreds of emergency and planned deployments to assist Wilton Police and Wilton Fire and provide mutual aid to other communities. CERT has trained over 300-plus Wilton citizens in emergency preparation skills and currently has a membership of 118. Russo has been influential in Wilton CERT’s recognition by the State of CT Department of Emergency Management Services as a model organization for other CERT groups. He currently serves on Wilton CERT’s Board of Directors and has successfully led public/private fundraising campaigns to purchase two emergency vehicles and mobile command trailer for CERT and Wilton Emergency Services. Russo and Wilton CERT were awarded the Public Safety Award by AAA of CT for service to community in 2018.

Additionally, he is a current and past member of the Board of Directors for the Wilton Chamber of Commerce and has served as a past president.

Wilton YMCA officials says that Russo has spent his time in Wilton giving back to others and has made a significance difference in the Wilton community, noting in a press release that, “It’s people like Pat whose dedication and commitment to volunteerism has made Wilton a better place for all.”

The Riverbrook Regional YMCA and Fairfield County Bank will present the Distinguished Citizen Award at the annual YMCA Community Celebration held on Sunday, June 2, at Shore and Country Club. For ticket information, visit the event website or contact the YMCA’s Development Office at 203.762.8384, ext. 273.

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