The Fairfield 25
Fairfield's most giving, most talented, and most interesting individuals.
So many terrific people doing terrific things—that’s who live and work in Fairfield. We asked Fairfielders to identify individuals who may not be on everyone’s radar—the unsung heroes, the up-and-comers, the entrepreneurs, artists, students, leaders, and tireless volunteers who deserve a little spotlight on them. Residents really embraced the challenge and taught us a thing or two about some of our special neighbors. Don’t see someone on the list who deserves to be there? E-mail your ideas for future nominees: firstname.lastname@example.org
Alex Beyer, a Warde grad, now a junior at Harvard, has been studying piano since he was four years old. He’s won many local and national awards, and studies internationally. He established the lecture concert series “Sundays at 4” and will continue this summer with “Summer Soirees” at Pequot Library.
Rebecca Timlin-Scalera, a pediatric neuro-psychologist, was diagnosed with Stage 3C breast cancer last year. Hundreds enjoy reading about her experiences in a touching and funny blog , The Cancer Couch: Tales from Both Sides of the Sofa. Every cent donated to her foundation, The Cancer Couch, will go toward metastatic breast cancer research at Sloane and Dana Farber.
Thomas Dubrosky is First Selectman Mike Tetreau’s chief of staff. During his more than 40 years as a resident, Dubrosky has been an active member of St. Anthony’s of Padua. He is currently an officer for the Fairfield County VFW, and a decorated Vietnam War veteran.
Joy Shaw placed herself in front of a bulldozer and stopped it from destroying the Mill River area 50 years ago. She then founded the Mill River Wetland Committee, and began studying the ecology of the land and history of its use. Her program for children helps teach the value of the flood plain in its natural state.
Misty Beyer, the executive director of Music for Youth, presents and manages the always-free Young Persons’ Concert Series at Pequot Library. It exposes students to a wide variety of musical experiences with artists selected for their musicianship and outreach skills.
HP Newquist is the author of more than 20 books, hundreds of magazine articles, and several documentaries. Nothing grosses him out, and his books cover topics ranging from the search for mythical beasts, Here There Be Monsters, (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt) to the unusual ways in which death awaits us in This Will Kill You (St. Martin’s Press).
Mike Jehle has been executive director of the Fairfield Museum since 2006, where he spearheaded the creation of its new state-of-the-art facility on the Town Green. He has been honored as a Paul Cuffee Fellow, a Sainsbury Institute Fellow, a Getty Leadership Institute fellow, and a visiting curator at the Austrian National Maritime Museum.
Jessica Grutkowski is a mom-volunteer-entrepreneur extraordinaire. A tireless supporter of her community, Grutkowski started a successful mobile catering enterprise called the Buzz Truck and has joined forces with other local businesses that provide the products sold on the truck. She also donates her time and efforts for Near and Far Aid on The Designer House Tour event, with Dwight School, and Little Black Dog Rescue.
Lib Denure launched Hazel Daze in 2012, “a little shop with a big heart” and a purposeful mission: that sales support the idea of making this world a better place. Each item has a story. You’ll find pieces handmade by refugee women now living in Bridgeport who have endured years of difficulties. Hazel Daze was recently honored by being chosen as a winner of the American Small Business Championship.
Sarah Giggar is a trained actress and singer, performing in local musicals, but most days Giggar is a sought-after makeup artist, and esthetician serving Broadway shows and clients all over the tri-state area. When she isn’t getting the cast of Chicago ready for a photo shoot or creating perfect eyelashes and eyebrows, she is donating her time helping seniors and pets.
Sandy Zera is a Fairfield “lifer,” and can often be found at Pequot Library, volunteering her time to help with whatever need doing. She is 70 but possesses the energy of someone much younger. For over 50 years, Zera and her husband ran the successful Zera Music Land, a large music store on the Post Road.
Jeffrey Keith says, “I wake up every day lucky to be alive, and it’s in my DNA to give back.” Keith is the founder and CEO of CT Challenge, the Southport-based nonprofit dedicated to helping 14.5 million cancer survivors in the U.S. Keith is a cancer survivor since age 12. After an aggressive program of chemotherapy, he later captained the ski team at Fairfield Prep.
Dr. Jeffrey Owens spends his days working as a beloved pediatrician and at night plays drums in Vertigo, a popular local rock band. He has been a “Connecticut Top Doctor” many times and has also been instrumental in diagnosing serious medical conditions, including retinal cancer in a young Fairfielder.
Amelia Sullivan was born with a love of animals. Sullivan has long been a dedicated volunteer with the Connecticut Audubon Society. With 175 hours as a volunteer, this commitment earned Sullivan the designation as an Independent Caretaker for the Birds of Prey at the Audubon Center, allowing Sullivan to administer to the injured wildlife brought to the center. She studies at the Aquaculture School.
Butzi Moffitt’s passion has always been art. From her early years studying at the University of Vermont’s Art School to her 40-year term as a docent at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City, Moffitt has shared her passion for art, artists, and artistic inspiration with thousands of children and families. Among other things, she always volunteers at Pequot Library’s annual art show.
Sean Kelly is a truly talented cartoonist, illustrator, and designer who also teaches seminars on creativity. In 2007, the National Cartoonists Society named Kelly Best Newspaper Illustrator. Recently, Kelly presented a sold-out lecture on political symbols at Bellarmine Hall at Fairfield University, and this summer he’ll be offering a workshop on creative thinking at the Fairfield Museum and History Center.
Jessica Gerber has two passions—aside from my family and friends—St. Baldrick’s Foundation and her work as a member of the Fairfield Board of Education. Gerber became involved with St. Baldrick’s when her son Teddy was diagnosed with cancer. Despite all the treatments Teddy received, he passed away in 2010. After this, Gerber decided to run for the Board of Ed to give back to the community who gave so much to her. She ran in 2011, won a seat, and then was re-elected in 2015.
Khorshed Randeria was born and raised in Karachi, studied in Paris then came to the U.S. After retiring from teaching, Randeria decided to volunteer at the Fairfield Public Library because, as she says, “a library is my second home no matter where I live.” According to Town Librarian Karen Ronald, “Khorshed is one of those people who never stops giving, helping, working toward a common goal. The library truly couldn’t run as smoothly without her!”
Greg Hatzis, Principal of Fairfield Ludlowe High School was recently awarded the Fairfield CT PTA’s award for Outstanding High School Principal. His young fans says he is not just a cool principal; he is also fair, keeps everyone in line, and inspires everyone to do their best while at the same time helping their fellow students.
Thomas Smalley, a senior at Warde, was diagnosed with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder in the beginning of tenth grade. When Smalley could not play basketball anymore, he became the varsity-team manager. After extensive therapy, he realized that he needed to become an advocate for mental-health awareness. He has spoken at Yale during OCD awareness week and also at the IOCDF Conference in Los Angeles, and Boston.
Kieran Barker, freshman at Ludlowe HS, might go down in history as one of the crusaders who brought back the Freshman Dance. Just voted in as sophomore class president, his campaign slogan was, “Let’s make it happen.” He’s been a volunteer at the annual Operation Hope tag sale since he could walk. Barker recently beat the HS high-jump record in indoor track .
Frederic Kieffer spends long hours as the head chef of the highly acclaimed ArtisanRestaurant at the Delamar Hotel in Southport. Kieffer is widely known as a giving mentor/teacher to young people who have a desire to learn culinary arts, many of whom have had no formal training.
Mary Hogue is one of Mother Nature’s biggest allies. In addition to being the education and outreach manager for the North American Marine Environment Protection Association (an independent, marine industry-led group that promotes sound environmental practices), she is also chair of the Fairfield Forestry Committee and chair of Fairfield Earth Day committee.
Ellen Simmonds is director of administration at Norwalk Grassroots Tennis, a program that teaches tennis to underserved youth in Norwalk while providing tutoring, mentoring, and other academic and life-skills support. Involved in every aspect of the program, Simmonds draws in people from other parts of her life and figures out how they can help the people she encounters every day.
Heather Carey is a nutritionist with an innovative approach to food. Not only does she hold a master’s degree in clinical nutrition from NYU, she is a trained chef through the Natural Gourmet Institute. Carey conducts nutrition counseling, and her fans love her “food therapy” sessions, pantry consultations, and cooking classes in her state-of-the-art teaching kitchen.