The Riverbrook Regional YMCA announced that Carol and George Bauer and Albert G. Nickel will be the recipients of this year’s Distinguished Citizen Awards. The Awards are presented annually at the YMCA Community Celebration, being held this year at Millstone Farm. Sponsored by Fairfield County Bank, this year’s Celebration is “A Farm to Table Event” on Sunday, June 4.

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 serving the town on a long-term basis and making a positive difference that benefits Wilton and its residents.

Carol and George Bauer

Through the years, the Bauers have generously offered their time and talents to serve others in Norwalk. The long-time Wilton residents have spent most of their life giving back–a trait they learned in their young lives. Both were raised in families that did not have much but always believed in giving to others.

Carol started volunteering at the Norwalk Hospital in 1978 in the emergency room and pre-natal care. From that early start, she became the chairperson of the Norwalk Hospital Board of Trustees where she and George have helped raise over $50 million for the Hospital. Their gifts helped build the Bauer Center for Emergency Care, the Jeffrey Peter Bauer Newborn Intensive Unit, named after their first child, and the Carol Bauer Nursing Scholarship Fund. After stepping down as chairperson in 2002, Carol became and still is today a hospital chaplain, a role she says she feels privileged to hold.

George has also held the position of treasurer of Norwalk Hospital’s Board of Trustees after retiring from his 31-year career at IBM and second career as an investment banker. Along with their commitment to the Norwalk Hospital, the Bauers have generously given to the Olin Business School at Washington University as well as built the New Life Center in Bangkok,  a halfway house for young women that provides safety and education.

Closer to home, they have sponsored 43 children from a South Norwalk housing project through the “I Have a Dream” program, making them offers of post-high school training to those who stayed in school. Twenty-five of those children stayed on with the program, with four currently in college. Their gifts helped give these children the same experiences that more privileged children in surrounding town have with after-school programs, theater performances, swimming lessons and support for post-high school training or college.

The Bauers have supported Americares as well as Habitat for Humanity, Visiting Nurse and Hospice, Stepping Stones Museum for Children, the Maritime Center, “Staying Put in Wilton” plus Waveny Care Center with both financial contributions and hours of volunteer time–often with hammer or paint brush in hand–always with a smile.

Al Nickel

Nickel was a Wilton resident for over 40 years, a man who lived his life by the wisdom that, “To whom much is given, from him much will be required; and to whom much has been committed, of him they will ask the more.” His extensive volunteer and philanthropic involvement in the community impacted many lives.

He served as a trustee of the Wilton Family YMCA, Y of the USA, CancerCare and Washington & Jefferson College, and on the Board of Directors of Visiting Nurse & Hospice of Fairfield County. He showed support of various projects and events around Wilton from school meetings, meetings on the turf field lights at Middlebrook School, the Wilton Library and Trackside Teen Center. He also treasured his involvement with The Hole in the Wall Gang Camp and the Orthopedic Foundation.

In 2002, Nickel was awarded the prestigious Ellis Island Medal of Honor, presented annually to citizens who exemplify the values of the American dream.

According to event organizers, “Al serves as an example of a life well-lived with countless good friends and a loving family that enabled him to contribute so significantly in brightening the lives of all those around him. Al did not live his life by the glass not even ½ full, ½ empty principle. He looked at his life as a glass full, all the way full. There are so many good people to embrace and remember, and Al is one of them.”

For ticket information for the Community Celebration dinner, contact the Wilton YMCA Development Office at 203.762.8384, ext. 273.