Democrats honor Miller-Driscoll project leaders
On Saturday, May 2, the Wilton Democratic Town Committee (DTC) will recognize Miller-Driscoll Building Committee co-chairs Bruce Hampson and Karen Birck for their achievements and contributions to the town of Wilton during its Annual Spring Breakfast at Trackside Teen Center, 15 Station Road.
At the event, Hampson and Birck will receive the Wilton DTC Citizen of the Year Award for their work leading the Miller-Driscoll Building Committee.
Hampson said he was surprised and honored when DTC Chairman Tom Dec called and told him he and Birck would be receiving the award.
“I had no inkling or belief that I was being considered for the award,” said Hampson. “The best honors are the ones that you don’t expect.”
Birck said she, too, was honored when she found out.
“I’m glad that a significant body in town recognized the importance of this [Miller-Driscoll] project,” she said.
Both Hampson and Birck have lived in Wilton for 24 years and have a history of community volunteer work, including serving as co-chairs of the Wilton High School Renovation Building Committee, from 2008 to 2010.
“It’s important for me to be part of a community,” said Hampson, “and I’ve been engaged in a lot of volunteer work in Wilton since I retired in 2007.”
After retiring from a building service and energy management group in New York City, Hampson became:
- Chair and founding member of the Wilton Energy Commission (2007-present).
- Member of Wilton Go Green’s board of directors (2008-2010).
- Vice chair of the Wilton Council for Public Facilities (2012-present).
- Treasurer on the Lambert Common Condominium Association’s board of directors (2012-present).
- Member of the Comstock Community Center Building Committee (2013-present).
Hampson said he volunteered to take on the Miller-Driscoll renovation project because he not only enjoys working on projects with other volunteers but he also has “certain skill sets and experience that can be valuable.”
“Since I have been in construction all of my life, I get great, great pleasure out of seeing something materialize before my eyes — whether it’s renovating or constructing,” he said.
“To be able to work with a group of people who have the same approach to serving and the same desire to make the community a little bit better is very satisfying to me.”
Birck has been involved in the Wilton school system since she moved here in 1991 — her first job being a PTA bus rep, she said.
Birck served on the Board of Education from 2004 to 2013 and was chair from 2006 to 2009.
Birck said aside from her involvement in the school system, she decided to join the Miller-Driscoll Building Committee because the Wilton public schools had been “very good” to her children, who are now 28 and 31 years old.
“Both of them started in Miller-Driscoll, and the school has not changed much in that time,” said Birck.
“There are very, very good things happening in the classrooms, but the physical structure needs upgrading.”
In a press release, DTC Chair Dec said the committee is pleased to recognize Hampson and Birck for their leadership on the Miller-Driscoll Building Committee.
“Karen and Bruce understand the critical importance of Miller-Driscoll to the future of our schools and our community as a whole,” said Dec, “and they have dedicated countless hours to the project since being appointed in 2013.”
Hampson, Birck and other Miller-Driscoll Building Committee members began meeting in May 2013 to plan and organize what has become the largest bonding project in Wilton’s history, which the co-chairs said has not been an easy task.
“The absolute greatest complexity is that we are transforming a 50-year-old school into a modern place of learning for the next 20 to 30 years,” said Hampson, “and we’re doing it while the students are still in the building.”
Birck said despite the difficulties, she has enjoyed working with the building committee.
“There’s a certain synergy in the committee that makes it just enjoyable to be with the people and have an honest dialogue about what we’re going to do,” she said. “We all respect each other and we respect each other’s opinions.”
At the DTC Spring Breakfast and Awards Ceremony, Hampson said, he is looking forward to thanking the DTC for the award and thanking “the 13 other members of the building committee, plus many, many, many townspeople and folks in the school system who have assisted [with the project].”
Hampson said he also plans to mention Wilton taxpayers’ participation when it comes to projects like the Miller-Driscoll renovation.
“I hope that in the future, a significantly greater number — greater percentage — of our town will participate in the critical votes that guide where the town spends its money and where we invest,” said Hampson.
“The very, very small number of folks who come out — whether it’s at a Miller-Driscoll referendum or the Annual Town Meeting — is unfortunate. I would hope that this experience will somehow motivate more people to come out and participate.”
The DTC’s two-hour Annual Spring Breakfast and Awards Ceremony will begin at 9. Tickets are $40 and may be purchased at the door or click here to purchase online.