Karen Birck and Bruce Hampson will be the recipients of this year’s Distinguished Citizen Awards, the Wilton Family YMCA announced on Tuesday, April 12. The awards are presented annually at the Wilton Community Celebration being held this year on Sunday, May 22, at Millstone Farm.
More than 81 outstanding volunteers — individuals, businesses and organizations — have been honored for making a positive difference that benefits Wilton since the Community Celebration began in 1986.

Bob McDowell, CEO of the Riverbrook Regional YMCA said of this year’s choice was not easy, with several worthy nominations submitted.

“Both Karen and Bruce have made significant contributions to improving the quality of life in Wilton and are eminently deserving of this honor,” he said.

Described as “the very best of volunteers” in one letter supporting their nomination, Birck and Hampson have contributed much to the town, sometimes working on projects together. Their first joint effort was co-chairing the $20 million renovation of the Wilton High School science classrooms and Little Theater which were completed during the 10-week summer vacation of 2010. In addition to meeting a strict construction schedule, the project came in under budget.  Not only was the strict timeline met, it was also finished under budget.

Both also served, until recently, as co-chairs of the Miller-Driscoll Building Committee.

According to a press release from the YMCA, “it would be accurate to say both of these dedicated volunteers have led or participated in every bonded school and municipal capital project in Wilton since 2007.”

“Karen and Bruce are the kinds of people who are wonderful role models for young folks who want to become volunteers in our special town,” another letter said. “In difficult times it is the strong, courageous and forward-looking people who are willing to lead. Karen and Bruce are those kinds of caring, dedicated people who accept the toughest challenges which will ensure the brightest future for our community.”

A retired engineer, Hampson has been dedicated to energy efficiency and in 2010, he was chosen as a recipient of the Connecticut Climate Change Leadership Award presented by then Gov. Jodi Rell for his energy efficiency work on the high school renovation and with the Wilton Energy Commission, which he chaired and co-founded. Other volunteer involvement includes serving as vice chair of Wilton’s Council for Public Facilities, and director for Wilton Go Green. He has also been very active in Trout Unlimited that works to benefit the Norwalk River and other water resources in this area.

Examples of Birck’s volunteer work extend across civic and private community organizations. She has served on the Board of Education, acting as chair from 2006 to 2009, Wilton Energy Commission, and also as a founding member of Wilton Go Green. She also was treasurer and past-president of the Encore Club, and is an active member of the Wilton League of Women Voters.

Karen and Bruce are exceptional people on every front imaginable.  Both are model citizens who are genuine, self-effacing people who do all that they do for the joy of helping Wilton.  Karen and Bruce are most deserving of the Distinguished Citizen Awards in 2016.

Fairfield County Bank is sponsor of the Community Celebration. For information, including ticket purchases, call the Y’s development office at 203-762-8384, ext. 273.