YWCA honors outstanding women at Spirit Awards

Kevin Webb From left, in back, YWCA Spirit Award winners Debbie Black, Elizabeth “Liz” Boutry, Cricket Lockhart, Lennie De Csepel, and Nancy Brown. In front, Sue Moretti Rogers, Bea Crumbine, Tiffany Bernette, Mary Anne Henry and Jill Coyle.

From left, in back, YWCA Spirit Award winners Debbie Black, Elizabeth “Liz” Boutry, Cricket Lockhart, Lennie De Csepel, and Nancy Brown. In front, Sue Moretti Rogers, Bea Crumbine, Tiffany Bernette, Mary Anne Henry and Jill Coyle. –Kevin Webb

Now celebrating its 20th year, the YWCA’s Spirit of Greenwich Award honors women who show a spirit of compassion, dedication and initiative within the community.

This year’s 10 recipients were honored during an outdoor ceremony at a private residence on Tuesday, Sept. 16. The list of honorees included Debbie Black, Elizabeth Boutry, Nancy Brown, Tiffany Burnette, Jill Coyle, Bea Crumbine, Lennie de Csepel, Mary Ann Henry, Cricket Lockhart and Sue Moretti Rogers.

The event began with a reception giving YWCA patrons and supporters an opportunity to greet and congratulate the honorees and their guests as they enjoyed a selection of cocktails and hors d’oeuvres. After the reception, the ceremony opened with a welcome from YWCA Board of Directors Chair Aundrea Amine, remarks from President and CEO Adrianne C. Singer and comments from State Rep. Livvy Floren (R-149), who is a past Spirit Award recipient

Giving back is what these 10 women do each and every day. They personify the best in our town, unselfishness, caring, patience and just plain love,” Ms. Floren said. “Without their gifts of time and talent, compassion and commitment, Greenwich would not be the world class town it is today. These women give back and, trust me, these women know how to play ball.”

First Selectman Peter Tesei thanked the honorees on behalf of the town, recognizing the impact they have made on the town, and the lives of individuals within Greenwich.

“Thank you, each and everyone one, for what you’ve done for them,” Mr. Tesei said. “You don’t perhaps even know the impact you’ve had, but they do and they’re thankful. On behalf of them, and all the other citizens of Greenwich, thank you.”

YWCA President & CEO Adrianne Singer and Board of Directors Chair Aundrea Amine. –Kevin Webb

YWCA President & CEO Adrianne Singer and Board of Directors Chair Aundrea Amine. –Kevin Webb

Event co-chairs Patricia Chadwick, Sabrina Forsythe, Tracy Holton and Anne Juge offered personal introductions for each of the women, along a number of their accolades and achievements. Each honoree also received an inscribed gift from the YWCA, a Spirit Award certificate and official citations from Gov. Dannel Malloy, Lt. Gov. Nancy Wyman, Attorney General George Jepson, U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal, U.S. Rep. Jim Himes (D-4th), the Connecticut General Assembly and the Greenwich Board of Selectmen.

One by one, Greenwich’s women leaders addressed a crowd of enthusiastic supporters and friends.

“So what could be better than a tent full of friends. It’s nice to see everyone,” honoree Bea Crumbine said as she took the podium. “The YWCA and Adriene Singer have provided us with a moment to think, to think about the spirit of this incredible town we live in, and how we have all become a very deep part of it.”

As the town’s ambassador-at large, Ms. Crumbine is responsible for welcoming international guests to Greenwich and organizing key town event such as the Fourth of July ceremony and the town’s anniversary. She also serves on the board of directors for the Greenwich Symphony Orchestra, the Maritime Aquarium, Mills College Club, Alliance Française in Greenwich and the Greenwich Music Festival.

Honoree Debbie Black has been a member of the Breast Cancer Alliance board of directors since 2008, having served as president for the 2011-2012 term. She has also volunteered her time heavily at both Greenwich Academy and Brunswick School while also serving as Council for Childcare chair in her hometown of Rye, N.Y. Dr. Black earned a Ph.D. in finance from the New York University Graduate School of Business Administration and is a mother of three.

Elizabeth “Liz” Boutry is also a supporter of the Breast Cancer Alliance, as well as Kids in Crisis, Greenwich Hospital and the Boys & Girls Club, among others. During her introduction, Ms. Forsythe said that Ms. Boutry has “a vivacious and contagious personality that lights up the room.” Ms. Boutry credited her parents with instilling a commitment to volunteer work from her earliest years.

“Most of my closest and dearest friends I met because I said ‘yes’ and got involved,” she said.

A longtime volunteer with decades of service, recipient Nancy Brown has been a Greenwich resident since 1955, and was instrumental in the formation of a number of local organizations and initiatives. More recently, Mr. Tesei appointed Ms. Brown as the chair of the Town Housing Task Force, which was created to define the town’s need for affordable housing, and develop a plan for implementation. She is also a trustee for Greenwich Hospital, and the chair of the hospital’s Community Advisory Board.

Tiffany Burnette moved to Greenwich in 2007, but has made a major impact in the town since. She is vice chair to the Executive Committee of the Bruce Museum board of trustees, having been a member of the board since 2010. She branched out to the Greenwich Historical Society through its connections with the Bruce Museum, and was elected to the board of directors for the society this year. Additionally, Ms. Burnette has volunteered her time with Brunswick School and Greenwich Academy, as well as other local organizations.

“It has been such a pleasure volunteering here, as every organization I have worked with truly embodies the spirit of Greenwich,” Ms. Burnette said.

Honoree Jill Coyle’s volunteerism extends beyond Greenwich as she serves as the board chair for the Red Cross Tiffany Circle of Women Leaders for the metro New York region. Locally, she works with the Breast Cancer Alliance, Greening Our Children and the Greenwich Historical Society, among others, and is on the American Red Cross board of directors. Her work with the Red Cross led her to speak at the United Nations last October during a session related to the organization’s international work.

“I feel privileged to be here in a room filled with people who identify problems and energetically work to help in whatever way they are needed,” honoree Lennie de Csepel told the crowd. “I thought I would speak for a minute about certain people whose efforts and dedications are key to the success of nonprofit organizations. They’re not here, or for that matter on any letterhead, they are employees who have chosen to work in places where their efforts support the needs of others.

Two-time Spirit Award co-chair Mary Ann Henry found herself on the receiving end of the award this year. Her skills as a fund-raiser and marketer made her a frequent chair for key events and organizations in town. Ms. Henry has served on the board of directors for the YWCA and Breast Cancer Alliance, and is on the board of the Greenwich Red Cross, the League of Women Voters and the Avon Theatre Film Center.

“I am thrilled and grateful to join the stellar women throughout the community who have won this award in the past, and the extraordinary women around me,” Ms. Henry said.”

Cricket Lockhart is involved with an array of Greenwich non-profits, and is a co-founder of the United Way Sole Sisters, the organization’s women’s initiative. She has co-chaired events for the Green Fingers Garden Club and the Bruce Museum, and has been involved with Greenwich Hospital, Christ Church and Greenwich Library, among other organizations.

“Volunteering can be food for the soul, as well as the eyes,” Ms. Lockhart told the crowd.

The final honoree, Sue Moretti Rogers, is a member of the Greenwich Alliance for Education Board and has dedicated much of her time to projects for the town’s children. She has worked with the PTA Council for more than a decade, and is vice president of Way & Means for the Greenwich High School PTA as well as chair of the Distinguished Teacher Award Committee. Ms. Rogers is also the director of marketing and outreach for the Greenwich Education Group. Outside of her school involvement, she is chair of the Greenwich Pool and Byram Project Committee.

Each of the Spirit Award honorees boasts a unique record of volunteerism and long-term dedication to Greenwich and its residents, and as a group they have made a diverse impact on the town’s development. While they enjoyed a night of celebration in their honor, the lasting effect of their service will benefit Greenwich for years to come.

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