FAIRFIELD, Conn. — The town’s economic development director and a pair of residents who tirelessly supported Fairfield were named the 2017 Fairfielder and Employee of the Year winners.
In a first-time tie, Tom Quinn and the late Bob Frigo were named Fairfield of the Year. Mark Barnhart, director of community and economic development, won the employee award.
“I can’t think of a better way to celebrate the holiday season than to honor these three hardworking and compassionate individuals for their outstanding contributions to our town,” First Selectman Mike Tetreau said.
Quinn is the former commander and current senior vice commander of the Lt. Owen Fish American Legion Post 143 and chair of the Holland Hill Building Committee.
He is also the former chair of the Riverfield Building Committee.
Riverfield School Principal Brenda Anziano, one of those who nominated Quinn, compared him to the Energizer bunny when it comes to his tireless support of Fairfield, including visiting almost every elementary school around Veterans Day each year.
"Mr. Quinn is a most beloved and highly respected citizen and the guy everyone calls when they have a question or need information related to our local veterans,” Tetreau said. “Always ready to roll up his sleeves and help our town, especially our youth, Tom is the quintessential volunteer who truly enjoys giving back to his community.”
Frigo, who died in October, was lauded for his work as chair and treasurer of the Fairfield Public Library Board of Library Trustees.
A Fairfield resident for more than 30 years, Frigo was co-chair of the Fairfield Affordable Housing Committee and an advocate for the Bigelow Center for Senior Activities and the Human Services Commission. He was a founder of both the At Home in Fairfield group and Fairfield Senior Advocates.
“Mr. Frigo was best known for his gentle disposition and graciousness as well as his forward-thinking vision to help make significant and long-lasting contributions to champion the needs of Fairfield’s seniors and libraries and advocate for more affordable housing,” Tetreau said.
Chamber of Commerce President Beverly Balaz and former Economic Development Commission Chair Peter Penczer, also a Fairfielder of the Year, spoke about Barnhart always taking initiative and having his finger on the pulse of the economic scene in Fairfield.
“Mark goes above and beyond and does a remarkable job day in and day out to boost our local economy, help our businesses maintain a high retention rate, receive much-needed grant monies, assist low-income and disabled homeowners and so much more,” Tetreau said. “I am thankful that I can depend on Mark to deliver results and oversee one of our Town’s most important departments."
A plaque listing all of the winners is hung in the lobby of Independence Hall.
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