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Cathy Ostuw

2019

Cathy is an  individual who makes such a difference in the lives of so many in a community and embodies the virtues that are fundamental to our common life: compassion, generosity, service, inclusion, and hope. Indeed, the work that Cathy has done and continues to do has changed life for the better for countless individuals in very specific ways and for the wider community in ways that cannot be fully known or measured

 

The list of non-profit organizations that Cathy has run, worked in, or served on the board of is quite extensive. Indeed, these organizations are the very life blood of our community. They help people in need. They equip individuals to further their skills and training. They bring together private and public, business and government, individuals and organizations to collaborate for the strengthening of all. Fairfield County Community Foundation, United Way, Building One Community, Person to Person, Domus and many other organizations have benefited greatly from the skills, energy, and expertise that Cathy brings to her work.

 

Indeed, the skill, energy, and expertise that Cathy possesses is critical to understanding her value to organizations and our community. It is not enough that Cathy serves and has served in a number of organizations. She certainly is one of the most involved and committed individuals when she serves. Her list of leadership roles on boards and in organizations--e.g. Executive Director, President, Treasurer, etc.-­ underscores her value and the degree to which she is involved. Cathy is the type of person that you want to work with. Her knowledge of the nonprofit world in Stamford, the needs of the community, best practices for organizations to run well and remain accountable, and her skill in collaborating with others to achieve the mission of the organization is, simply put, amazing.

Gov. Danel Malloy

2018

Even when he went to Hartford, Dan Malloy never left Stamford and maybe he never will. After all, over the past four decades his vision has helped define the best part of us. To see it, just look at our faithfully restored yet reimagined Old Town Hall. To hear it, listen to the fresh gurgle of the Mill River spilling along its Riverwalk. Dan’s inspiration inhabits a bustling downtown sustained with safe and affordable urban housing and an expanded UCONN campus. It hikes through green spaces like Mianus River Park, the Soundwaters Coastal Education Center and the Bird Sanctuary at Cove Island. It runs through recreational places in our schools, at Lione and Scalzi Park, and the West Beach athletic fields, now connected by the Urban Transitway to a newly sparkling Waterside at Harbor Point.  It honors the sacrifice of many at a new Veterans Park. And perhaps most important is the impression he has left on our public schools. He helped us add a new Rogers International School, AITE, Wright Tech, Stamford Academy, Scofield and Rippowam Middle Schools and the first universal Pre-K program in Connecticut. And he added all that to a public school system that was already pretty good. Why, it had even helped turn a kid with learning disabilities into an attorney, a mayor and our State’s 88th governor; and of course, our 2018 Stamford Citizen of the Year.

Dudly N. Williams, Jr.

2017

Dudley Williams – a passionate and involved member of the Stamford Community for 29 years – is known for his service and spirit, leadership and generosity. He is particularly known for working hard, often behind the scenes, with a range of city leaders, nonprofits, businesses, youth and other citizens, helping to ensure Stamford stays on a path of positive change, providing opportunity and quality of life for all of Stamford’s neighborhoods, and always with an eye on promoting forward-thinking, sustainable policymaking, especially in the education arena.

Dudley’s commitment to education and public service began as the parent of a child in the Stamford school system, and encouraged by friends and colleagues, he ran for a seat on the school board, where he served for three terms, including two as president. In addition to the Board of Education, he served on the Stamford Planning Board, and most recently, in 2015, was elected to the Board of Finance.

Over the years, Dudley has held leadership positions for numerous on nonprofits, including the Urban League of Southwestern Connecticut; CTE; United Way of Western Connecticut; Stamford Achieves; Nellie Mae Education Foundation; the Sexual Assault Crisis & Education Center; the Connecticut Association of Boards of Education; the Connecticut Science Center; the Boy Scouts of America, Connecticut Yankee Council, Stamford Troop 1. He currently serves on the boards of the Stamford YMCA; the Avon Theatre; Ferguson Library; the Connecticut Center for School Change; and Leadership Council for Children’s Learning Centers of Fairfield County.

Dudley is the President and CEO of the Mill River Collaborative, before which he served as the Stamford Y’s interim CEO. Prior to working in the nonprofit sector, Dudley had an extensive career in media and entertainment, education and business. He retired in 2016 from GE Asset Management as Senior Vice President of Citizenship & Diversity. 

Dudley and his wife Juanita live in North Stamford where they raised their son, Dudley III.

Rick Redness

2016

Few lessons stick like this one did for our 2016 Citizen of the Year. It was in 1970 at Adelphi University, where Rick was studying to become a teacher, when Dr. Kirk, Rick’s favorite professor dispensed this dose of wisdom that would help shape his student’s character in ways he would never get to appreciate. Of course, Stamford is much more fortunate than the good professor. We have all been witness to Rick and the many ways he has helped shape our City. And as a bonus, all of us here tonight get to let him know how much we appreciate him.

Always a “Mr. Fix-it”, Rick used to work on his own cars and motorcycles (and his ’65 Sunbeam really did need work). So, Dr. Kirk decided to shed another pearl of wisdom, this time for focus: “If you want to fix cars, fix cars. If you want to be a teacher, then be a teacher.” And so a teacher Rick became, along with his bride, Robin, (another “pearl” Rick received from Adelphi, and from Worcester, Mass., before that) whom has stuck with him through the 47 years since.

After college, Rick and Robin received graduate degrees at Antioch College in elementary school education. They originally settled in Larchmont where Rick taught 6th grade at the Murray Avenue School while commuting to Hunter College at night, earning a degree in urban planning in 1978. At the time Robin was busy with their baby Seth, now a successful attorney (and an even more successful Dad to 3-year-old Lily, Rick and Robin ’s thoughtful granddaughter). Soon after, their daughter Lauren was born—now a professor, a critically acclaimed artist and author (and Mom to their grandsons 4-year-old Theo the precocious one, and 12-year-old Sasha, the wise). After providing Seth and Lauren with a strong foundation and a deep sense of empathy, Robin returned to teaching at Long Ridge School where she shared these gifts with the children of others for the next 25 years.

Rick grew up in Stamford with his brother Ray, the sons of Bob and Claire Redniss. Bob, who is one of our honored veterans tonight, had a small surveying and engineering firm he had started in 1957 called Parsons Bromfield & Redniss. In 1978, when Rick finally left Murray Avenue and returned to Stamford—for what began as a request for a loan from his father that turned into a summer job with his father, and then a decades-long career with his brother (and at times, Claire), no one could have foreseen the city-shaping phenomena that would become Redniss & Mead under Rick’s leadership. With the ink still wet on his urban planning degree, no experience, and neither an engineer, surveyor nor an attorney, Rick stuck his neck out and created his own profession. He became a “land-use point guard,” dishing out assists to teams made up of architects, surveyors, engineers and lawyers to gain approval for developments of all types and sizes. Of course, Rick is just as likely to talk about the assist he scored as a real point guard for Lafayette College in a game against Rutgers—but that’s another story.

It’s difficult to find a Stamford neighborhood or an aspect of its distinctive skyline that hasn’t been improved by Rick Redniss. Reflected in every project are function, beauty and the environment, created in no small part by his capacity to listen—to his clients, to his team, to the neighbors and to land use staffs and boards. And true to Dr. Kirk, Rick has remained both a student and a teacher. He studies the needs and concerns of his clients and their neighbors and teaches solutions to gain their approval. Rick has also been all backbone—he’s never taken on a project he didn’t believe in, and he will not fake sincerity.

A former Eagle Scout (like his father and brother before him) Rick has immersed himself in volunteer public service in Stamford. For over 30 years, the Boys and Girls Club of Stamford has had the benefit of his passion and energy, as he helped them complete its home on Stillwater Avenue and reopen the Yerwood Center. This year a new Fairfield County Hospice House will open on Roxbury Road, debt free, because of Rick’s vision, persistence, and talent to raise money (and to cajole in-kind contributions from many generous trades).

His other contributions are too numerous to mention but we’ll try. He’s the chair of the Veterans Park Ad Hoc Committee and is also lending his talents to Person-to-Person and Leone Park. He has served on the Stamford Historic Area Rehabilitation Program, the Mayor’s Task Force on Open Space, the Mayor ’s Task Force on Affordable Housing, and the Governor’s Blue-Ribbon Commission on Affordable Housing. He has volunteered for Stamford Land Conservation Trust, Mill River Park, the Stamford Historical Society, the DSSD, the Stamford Museum & Nature Center, the School Readiness Council, the Sisters, Little Workers of the Sacred Hearts, Temple Beth El, Agudath Sholom and the Stamford JCC, among many, many others.

Stamford is grateful to Rick Redniss for the many ways that he has demonstrated a backbone and for all the times he stuck his neck out. It’s why we admire him.

Mary Sommer

2015

Jay Sandak and Mary Sommer are an inspiring, dynamic couple that has
contributed so quietly so much of themselves to our City for more than three
decades with their unique, steadfast and winning combination of commitment,
insight and integrity.

Jay and Mary are engaged legal professionals whose spirited hands-on
community service is in their DNA: It’s who they are. And their impact on our
community has enabled each and every one of us to benefit from their wisdom,
philanthropy and volunteerism whether we’re aware of it or not.

Jay, a native of Stamford, is a partner at the law firm of Carmody Torrance
Sandak & Hennessey with a full-time alternate dispute resolution practice with
an emphasis on mediation. He is also president of the Herbert & Nell Singer
Foundation. His involvement in Stamford not only reflects a love of where he grew up, but also a strong focus on

improving the health, safety and quality of human services for people living and working here.

Jay’s leadership experience here is vast, ranging from Board and Committee positions with the Child Guidance Center, Hands for Life, Shelter for the Homeless/Pacific House and United Way of Stamford to the Stamford EMS Foundation.  As the foundation’s first Board president he was instrumental in introducing paramedic corps services for the City and,
in doing so, brought Stamford Hospital and St. Joseph’s to work together to provide these services.

Mary, who moved from private practice to the bench in 2008 when she was appointed a Superior Court Judge for the State of Connecticut, is well-known for her passion on children’s mental health and legal rights, education and public/private  initiatives.

 

In addition to the many organizations that have benefited from Mary’s service on advisory boards for child advocacy programs, juvenile justice activities and prison literacy programs, she has been a Board member and prominent supporter of the Child Guidance Center, past president of the board at King & Low Heywood Thomas School, and currently serves
on the boards of Connecticut Appleseed Foundation for Law and Justice, Fairfield County Bar Foundation, Ferguson Library Foundation, Hope for Haiti, Inc., and is a trustee of the College of New Rochelle.

While a lot of their service is done separately, the projects Jay and Mary have collaborated on are many from scouting to building schools in Haiti after the earthquake. In particular, they are well-known as a family for having turned their home
into a huge bakery for 10 years for the Jackie Robinson Park of Fame annual Christmas celebration held at the Yerwood Center, for which they would bake up a storm, delivering dozens and dozens of cakes, pies, brownies and cupcakes.

Jay and Mary, who also both have acted as Corporation Counsel for the City, live in the Westover area where they raised their three sons, David, Tom and Steve. And guess what? David, Tom and Steve are walking in their parents footsteps in their respective communities, sharing that Sandak-Sommer DNA that we’ve been so fortunate to receive!

Jay Sandak

2015

Jay Sandak and Mary Sommer are an inspiring, dynamic couple that has
contributed so quietly so much of themselves to our City for more than three
decades with their unique, steadfast and winning combination of commitment,
insight and integrity.


Jay and Mary are engaged legal professionals whose spirited hands-on
community service is in their DNA: It’s who they are. And their impact on our
community has enabled each and every one of us to benefit from their wisdom,
philanthropy and volunteerism whether we’re aware of it or not.


Jay, a native of Stamford, is a partner at the law firm of Carmody Torrance
Sandak & Hennessey with a full-time alternate dispute resolution practice with
an emphasis on mediation. He is also president of the Herbert & Nell Singer
Foundation. His involvement in Stamford not only reflects a love of where he grew up, but also a strong focus on

improving the health, safety and quality of human services for people living and working here.


Jay’s leadership experience here is vast, ranging from Board and Committee positions with the Child Guidance Center, Hands for Life, Shelter for the Homeless/Pacific House and United Way of Stamford to the Stamford EMS Foundation.  As the foundation’s first Board president he was instrumental in introducing paramedic corps services for the City and,
in doing so, brought Stamford Hospital and St. Joseph’s to work together to provide these services.


Mary, who moved from private practice to the bench in 2008 when she was appointed a Superior Court Judge for the State of Connecticut, is well-known for her passion on children’s mental health and legal rights, education and public/private  initiatives.

 

In addition to the many organizations that have benefited from Mary’s service on advisory boards for child advocacy programs, juvenile justice activities and prison literacy programs, she has been a Board member and prominent supporter of the Child Guidance Center, past president of the board at King & Low Heywood Thomas School, and currently serves
on the boards of Connecticut Appleseed Foundation for Law and Justice, Fairfield County Bar Foundation, Ferguson Library Foundation, Hope for Haiti, Inc., and is a trustee of the College of New Rochelle.


While a lot of their service is done separately, the projects Jay and Mary have collaborated on are many from scouting to building schools in Haiti after the earthquake. In particular, they are well-known as a family for having turned their home
into a huge bakery for 10 years for the Jackie Robinson Park of Fame annual Christmas celebration held at the Yerwood Center, for which they would bake up a storm, delivering dozens and dozens of cakes, pies, brownies and cupcakes.


Jay and Mary, who also both have acted as Corporation Counsel for the City, live in the Westover area where they raised their three sons, David, Tom and Steve. And guess what? David, Tom and Steve are walking in their parents footsteps in their respective communities, sharing that Sandak-Sommer DNA that we’ve been so fortunate to receive!

Gene Rubino

2014

Gene Rubino is truly a native son of Stamford. Often referred to as Mr. Stamford, because of his love, involvement and support of the City, Gene grew up in Glenbrook, attended Stamford High and then attended Tampa University and the University of Cincinnati, and served in the National Guard.

 

In 1965, after returning to Connecticut, Gene married Day Hawthorne, and the young couple started out living at the Hoyt-Bedford Apartments while Gene worked in the family scrap business, Rubino Brothers. Over the next few years Gene’s interest and passion for real estate ignited, and following an initial period of selling solo, he joined Davidoff Realty. Then in 1970, he founded Plaza Realty. Plaza Realty was the first full-service real estate company in the Stamford area and now is the largest management company in Fairfield County, working on both commercial and residential projects. Under Gene’s leadership the company introduced a spectrum of specialized services that have since set new standards of professional excellence in the industry. 

 

Gene’s decades of dedicated community service in Stamford are reflected in a wide range of giving. He has directly and indirectly touched the lives of thousands of Stamford children. His support of our youth is often highlighted with the Stamford Youth Basketball League, of which he was a founder and a sponsor for more than 20 years of its Upstart Division for five to eight year olds. 

 

His leadership as president and board member of the Stamford Exchange Club further reflects his advocacy for kids in yet another way. Gene was instrumental in creating the Child Abuse Prevention and Child Parenting Center, was a driver in providing volunteers for both summer and winter Special Olympics, and was instrumental in the “Give a Kid a Flag” program in conjunction with Stamford’s Veterans Day Parade. 

 

Gene has held many other leadership positions with our City’s nonprofits, including the American Red Cross, the Downtown Special Services District, the Italian Center, the Boys & Girls Club of Stamford, the Stamford YMCA and the Yerwood Center. A skilled networker and fundraiser, Gene has contributed his services and support in capital campaigns – $3.5 million to build a new facility 

for the Boys and Girls Club and $1.75 million for renovations to the YMCA – and underwritten citywide events such as the Veterans Day Parade and July 4th fireworks. 

 

Currently, Gene serves on the Yale University School of Medicine Eye Center Advisory Board and is a member of the State Street Debating Society, where he has donated an annual scholarship for several years.

 

Gene and Day live in the Newfield area.  Their daughter and son-in-law, Nicole and Mike Hibbert have two daughters, Morgan and Faith

Tim Curtin

2013

Tim Curtin’s energy and generosity has served the City of Stamford in many capacities over the years. His impact has spanned from supporting our culture and arts to preserving our history to improving our quality of life. And all done with humor, wisdom and spirit.

After Tim graduated from high school, he enlisted in the U.S. Navy during closing months of World War II and served on the aircraft carrier U.S.S. Wasp. He earned his Bachelor of Science from Boston College, his Juris Doctorate from Seton Hall University Law School and his M.B.A. from the University of Connecticut. While attending Georgetown Law School, Tim met his future wife, Fay, where, as two ardent art lovers, they took advantage of Washington, D.C.’s museums and cultural events – passions that Stamford later benefited.

Tim joined the FBI and served in the agency for 13 years. He participated in the landmark 1964 investigation that solved the murders of three voting rights activists immortalized in the film Mississippi Burning and the case in which the stolen Krupp Diamond was recovered. He also worked on several high-profile organized crime cases.

On leaving the FBI, Tim moved to Stamford to work for CIBA-Geigy. Almost as soon as he and his family moved to Stamford in the mid-1960s, he began demonstrating his commitment to public service. Over the past five decades, Tim has served in leadership positions in city government that included the Planning Board, the Stamford Fire Commission, the Stamford Water Pollution Control Authority, the Stamford Cultural Development Corp. and the Stamford Partnership.

After retiring from CIBA-Geigy in the mid-1990s as vice president, corporate relations, Tim served on Mayor Malloy’s transition team and cabinet as unsalaried special assistant. For five years he spearheaded key municipal projects, such as funding for the reconstruction of the Palace Theater and jump starting the Mill River initiative. Appointed director of operations in 2000, Tim’s tenure is highlighted by his efforts to save Old Town Hall, build four new parks, and not only to save the WPA Daugherty Murals, but also to promote public art throughout Stamford. In 2007, Tim left the Office of Operations and returned to the position of unsalaried assistant to the Mayor, and he has continued to serve the City as a dollar-a-year man and supervise special projects.

Tim and his wife Fay live in Shippan and have raised four sons in Stamford.

Jami Sherwood

2012

Education: Iona College, New Rochelle, NY, B.A. in Communication Arts, June 1977

Employment: September 1977 – February 1996 Whitney Radio, New Rochelle, NY

Began as Administrative Assistant to Owner/President of Whitney Radio

Held various positions, finally, President of Radio Station, WVOX (1460 AM)

Owner of Simply Signs since January 1, 1995

Clients include:

Bennett Cancer Center/Paint the Town Pink

Curtain Call Inc.

Frank Mercede & Sons.

New Canaan Nature Center

Norwalk Community College

SAC Capital

Stamford Center for the Arts

Stamford Downtown Special Services District

Stamford Media Center (Jerry Springer Show, Steve Wilkos Show, The Maury Show)

Stamford Museum and Nature Center

Women’s Business Development Council

Not For Profit Boards and Committees

St. Joseph’s Medical Center Auxiliary, 1993-1998

Raised about $100,000 annually for the hospital

Curtain Call Inc, Board of Directors, 1997-Present (1 year break 2008-2009)

Positions Held, Vice Chairman- 2 years, Chairman - 7 years

Curtain Call, Dancing with the Stars Committee, 2008-Present

Event Co-Chair, 2008-Present. Raise $80-100,000 annually

City of Stamford Citizen of the Year Dinner Committee, 2005-Present

Stamford Museum & Nature Center – Wine Tasting Committee, 2007-Present

Big Apple Circus – Event Coordinator – 2010

Fundraiser to benefit the Mill River Collaborative and Stamford DSSD

Friends of Stamford Downtown, June 2010-Present

Bobby Valentine Celebrity Wine & Food Experience, Event Coordinator 2003 & 2004

To benefit the Mickey Lione Jr. Foundation

The Center for Sexual Assault Crisis Counseling and Education,

Serving Darien, Greenwich, New Canaan, Norwalk, Stamford, Westport, Weston and Wilton

Volunteer Event Coordinator & Graphic Designer for Invitations and Signage

Volunteer:

Stamford Downtown Events, Operations Team for Parade and Alive @ Five

Stone Soup

St. Leo Church Fair

Arthur Selkowitz

2011

Arthur Selkowitz has demonstrated a lifelong commitment to  the city of Stamford. Through his inspirational leadership, innovative thinking and passionate volunteerism, Arty has been a role model and generous mentor not only to his fellow citizens and colleagues, but also to our community's nonprofit organizations and businesses.

Among Arty's most notable contributions to Stamford has been as a founding member and the chairman of the Mill River Collaborative for the past nine years. Through his leadership, advocacy and tenacity, Arty is bringing to fruition a plan that has been a vision for transforming Stamford's downtown and riverfront for more than 100 years. His work on the Greenway Project is an outstanding example of citizenship, consensus building and community engagement.

In 2010, Arty was honored by the Stamford Downtown Special Services District for this commitment.

Arty is currently a member of the Board of Directors of the Avon Theater and the Stamford Museum & Nature Center. He is also a director and serves on the Executive Committee of the Lupus Research Institute in New York City. Included among the many other organizations in which he is involved are lnspirica (formerly St. Luke's Lifeworks), Person-to-Person and Curtain Call. An impressive factoid - now part of Stamford lore - is that in 2008, Arty was named "star dancer" of Curtain Call's Dancing with the Stars for performing quite a sultry tango of which he is duly proud!

Additionally, Arty has served as president of the Stamford Jewish Community Center, co-chaired its Council of Trustees and received its Harold E. Hoffman Humanitarian Award . Other honors have included the Outstanding Philanthropist of the year given in 2011 by Moffly Media and the Global Leadership Award given in 2000 by the United Jewish Appeal Federation of New York. The latter is presented to a marketing communications executive for philanthropic leadership and service.

As many of us know, Arty and his wife Betsey often work together as a powerful team serving the organizations they strongly believe in and support as a family . In addition to the Lupus Research Institute, Arty and Betsey have been honored by the Jewish Home for the Elderly in Fairfield for their outstanding ser vice.

Arty, who began his legendary career as a copywriter for Montgomery Ward,  retired  in  2002 as Vice Chairman & Chief Client Officer of Bcom3 Group, Inc., one of the world's leading marketing communications holding companies . Previously, he was Chairman & Chief Executive Officer of D'Arcy Masius Benton & Bowles.

Arty and Betsey raised their two sons, Adam and Jed, in Stamford. They currently reside in Shippan.

Bobby Valentine

2010

Juanita T. James

2009

Richard E. Taber

2008

June Rosenthal

2007

Al Sanseverino

2006

Al was selected as the City of Stamford’s Citizen of the Year - 2006 for his contribution of time and energy to a wide variety charitable and volunteer organizations.

Born in Stamford, in 1935, Al attended Rogers Elementary School, Cloonan Jr. High School, and J.M. Wright Technical School.

As an alumnus of J. M. Wright Technical School, Al founded the present alumni association, which serves the entire school, where previously there had been smaller associations which had served individual disciplines. During his tenure the School’s first football team was established, and through various fund raisers, the team was outfitted with equipment superior to that provided by state funding. Fundraisers eliminated existing debts of the athletic department, and uniforms were purchased for the cheerleaders. Al helped establish the school store, and funds were raised to purchase special equipment for the beauty school.

Al has made an everlasting impact to the Stamford community through his involvement and leadership in many organizations. He has served on the boards of Trinity Catholic High School, St. Clare’s Monastery, the Knights of Columbus, and the St. Camillus Auxiliary Committee. He is President of the Gravinese Mutual Aid Society.

Identifying the need for a strong auxiliary at St. Camillus, Al was instrumental in reactivating the auxiliary which raised in excess of $200,000 over 8 years to procure equipment for the facility not covered in the Diocese’s budget.

Al heads Camsan Electric in Stamford, and is also well respected within the Stamford business community

Sandy Goldstein

2005

Sandy Goldstein has lived in Stamford for over three decades. She has won many awards including Ferguson Library’s Lillian Moran Community service award, Hannah C. Solomon Community Award and Pink Tent Distinguished Service Award.

 

Sandy Goldstein won the Stamford Citizen award for her tireless dedication to helping others in the Stamford Community. Sandy was on the Stamford Board of representatives for twenty years. She was also was a part of Stamford’s chamber of commerce, Stamford’ partnership, Stamford’s center of the arts, Mill River collaborative. Sandy was also a Chairperson of Keep Stamford Beautiful, a Vice chair of the international Downtown Association, Vice Chair of International Downtown Association and Stamford Downtown Special Services district.

Rick Robustelli

2004

Marc Lyons, Jr.

2003

Rev. Winton M. Hill III

2002

Sam Cingari

2001

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