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Norwalk Exchange Club Raised 6k To Fight Child Abuse

posted Mar 17, 2017, 7:37 AM by Ray A. Cooke

Stew w/ @NorwalkExchange & Norwalk Public Safety Cadets at 7th food & wine tasting w/ @StewsWinesNrwlk raised $6k+ to fight child abuse

The Exchange Club of Norwalk’s “Salute to Outstanding Pillars of the Community”

posted Feb 26, 2017, 8:14 AM by Ray A. Cooke

Honorees of the Exchange Club of Norwalk’s inaugural salute to Outstanding Pillars of the Community with club President Jerry Toni and Director Dave Jaeger Jr.

NORWALK — More than 200 Norwalk residents gathered at the Norwalk Inn Saturday evening to honor individuals and organizations that have had an outsized impact on the city’s community.

The Exchange Club of Norwalk’s “Salute to Outstanding Pillars of the Community” event aimed to celebrate the achievements and accomplishments of everyday citizens who have “made a difference in our community, not because they are asked to, but because they believe in giving back and supporting those in need.”

“These individuals and organizations have devoted their time and energy to making the community stronger and the lives of countless citizens that much better. They do this with little fanfare and recognition, strictly because it is the right thing to do,” Director David Jaeger Jr. said.

Honorees were selected for their contributions across five different fields: Education, Business, Public Service, Faith and Lifetime Achievement.

Carleton Giles, who was awarded the Lifetime Achievement, served as police officer in Norwalk for 33 years. During that span, Giles became one of the first trained DARE officers in the state, served as a school resource officer at Brien McMahon and Briggs high schools and held the position of chaplain for the Norwalk Fire Department.

Since retiring from the police force in 2013, Giles has continued to leave his mark on the community by serving as the chairman of the state’s Board of Pardons and Paroles.

“I’m extremely humbled to be honored, particularly in the kind of company in which I’m being honored. Being in this kind of company, it’s really hard to be anything but humbled,” Giles said.

Thirty-year Norwalk public school veteran Cynthia Barnett was honored as a “Pillar of Education” for her work as an advocate for young girls looking to break into the science world.

Since founding Norwalk’s Saturday Academy in 2003, Barnett has dedicated her post-retirement time to supporting and accelerating STEM opportunities for girls.

“I’m just doing the mission that God sent me here to do, which is to inspire girls to go into the area of science, technology, engineering and math,” said Barnett, who has also been awarded the Connecticut Technology Council’s Innovation and Leadership Award for her nonprofit work.

To accept the award for the “Pillar of Public Service,” nine nurses from the Whittingham Cancer Center at Norwalk Hospital were in attendance.

“At the end of the day, it’s a very challenging kind of work that we do, but it’s all about the people that we care for,” said Linda Versea, director of cancer services at the hospital, of the nurses’ jobs. “It’s our job to make their experience easier, so that they can live a better life and spend more time with their family.”

For his 52 years of serving communities all over New Canaan and Norwalk, Msgr. William Scheyd was honored as Norwalk’s “Pillar of Faith.”

Before retiring in December as pastor of St. Aloysius in New Canaan, Scheyd was appointed as the Episcopal vicar of the Bridgeport Diocese. Even in his retirement, Scheyd has remained a constant presence throughout southern Fairfield County.

“Helping people is just a part of my life. You never retire from being a priest; you’re always a priest. When there is a need or when people call you, you’re just inclined to do it. You just can’t turn that off,” Scheyd said.

Local businessman Anthony Aitoro took home the final honor, as the Exchange Club’s “Pillar of Business.”

Aitoro credited an upbringing rich in charity and community outreach as the reason why he remains so active in his surrounding community.

“Charitable giving stretches back to my roots, really,” Aitoro said. “My dad was a Kiwanis Club member, and when I was a little kid, I was taught the art of giving by him.”

After the event, Jaeger expressed hope that the “Outstanding Pillars” awards would become a yearly staple of the Exchange Club.

“This year’s Pillars are only a handful of the many, many other overlooked community advocates. Our hope, at the Exchange Club, is that this event catches on, so that we can bring these generous people the attention and accolades that they deserve,” Jaeger said. ptomlinson@hearst; Twitter: @Tomlinson_PE

“These individuals and organizations have devoted their time and energy to making the community stronger and the lives of countless citizens that much better. They do this with little fanfare and recognition, strictly because it is the right thing to do.”
Exchange Club Director David Jaeger Jr.

Stew Leonard's Wine Tasting March 16th

posted Feb 22, 2017, 10:05 AM by Ray A. Cooke

Norwalk D.A.R.E holds annual graduation at Concert Hall

posted Dec 2, 2016, 1:17 PM by Ray A. Cooke   [ updated Dec 2, 2016, 1:17 PM ]

NORWALK — Nine weeks of learning to make positive life decisions culminated in a Wednesday morning graduation ceremony at Norwalk City Hall, where 849 fifth-graders celebrated their completion of the Drug Abuse Resistance Education (D.A.R.E.) program.

D.A.R.E. is a nationwide program that allows police officers to teach students how to resist peer pressure and live drug-free and violence-free lives. Through visits to Norwalk’s 12 elementary schools, Officer Chris Holms, coordinator of Norwalk’s D.A.R.E. program, and his fellow officers spoke with children about alcohol and drug abuse, tobacco use, and confidence-building.

“This is always an exciting day for me and for the police department,” said Norwalk Police Chief Thomas Kulhawik.

D.A.R.E. officers include Holms, Officers Gabriel DeMott, Cornell Abruzzini, Freddie Kellogg, Lt. Terry Blake, Lt. Bill Lowe, Deputy Chief Ashley Gonzalez and Deputy Chief Susan Zecca. Mayor Harry Rilling addressed the graduates seated in the Concert Hall.

“Over the past weeks, you’ve learned to make the right choices,” Rilling said. “Sometimes those choices may not seem clear, but you have a lot of people you can reach out to — police officers, teachers, guidance counselors, parents, older brothers and sisters, grandparents — to guide you in the right direction. It’s very important to grow up healthy, happy, and strong and to make the right decisions.”

State Sen. Bob Duff, D-Norwalk, whose son was among the graduates, spoke to the fifth-graders about making choices.

“You are at a point in life when you get to a fork in the road, you have to figure out which way to go,” Duff said. “Because of the work you’ve done through D.A.R.E., you’ll have the tools to make the right decisions.”

Each year, D.A.R.E. students are tasked with writing essays about their dreams or goals. This year's essay winner was Lindsay Caruso, a fifth-grade student at Wolfpit Elementary School.

“The D.A.R.E. officers get together and choose an essay to be read at graduation,” Holms said.

Caruso took the stage and read her essay in which she outlined the negative effects of drugs, alcohol and bullying.

“Bullying is a way to potentially hurt someone,” she read.

Kulhawik said that the D.A.R.E. program is funded in part by Connecticut’s drug asset forfeiture law.

“A percentage of seized assets goes into our educational account,” he said. “We’re able to put it back for the kids, the law is designed to do that.”

The law allows prosecutors to file a civil action in court seeking an order to forfeit money or property seized from someone related to a drug crime. The law also requires using account funds for substance abuse treatment and education programs.

In distributing forefeited funds, 70 percent is distributed to local police departments, of which 15 percent must be used for drug education, according to the Connecticut Judicial Branch.

The Norwalk Exchange Club has also been a major supporter of the DARE program, Kulhawik said.

Earlier this year, Holms was presented with a check for $3,750 by the Norwalk Exchange Club. Those funds were used to purchase T-shirts for students graduating from the program.

Holms, an 18-year veteran of the Norwalk Police Department, has worked with the program for the last five years and teaches classes at a majority of the D.A.R.E. schools in the city.

“Officer (Carlton) Giles had been doing this for me than 20 years and he asked me to take over about six years ago,” Holms said. “I did the two-week training and I was blown away. I love it.”

Frank Costanzo, Norwalk’s chief of school operations, offered his congratulations to the graduates and reminisced about his personal D.A.R.E. experience.

“I remember signing that D.A.R.E. contract that said that I refused to use drugs that would be harmful to my body,” Costanzo said. “As you get older, you’ll see the difficult choices you have to make ... On behalf of the superintendent, I congratulate each of you.”

The decibel level in the concert hall jumped when magician Mr. Abracadabra aka Nick Moriello took the stage.

Moriello delighted the children with card tricks, disappearing napkins, and the grand finale: colorful beach balls passed by the graduates from the balcony to the stage with numbers and suits that perfectly matched Moriello’s “magical card.”

Holms thanked local individuals and businesses who have helped to ensure the program’s success: police commissioners Fran Collier-Clemons and Charles Yost, Crown Prints, First Student, Parkway Auto Body, Stew Leonard’s, Fleet Auto, and program coordinator Debra Beierle of Norwalk Public Schools.

While this school year’s D.A.R.E. program is ending, Holms is gearing up for the D.A.R.E. summer camp, which he said is open to the graduates.

“The first week — starting June 20 — is already booked, but we have some openings for the second week,” Holms said. “That runs from June 27 to July 1 — we still have about 20 spots left. People can go to the front desk at police headquarters to sign up. We do all sorts of fun excursions with the kids.”

Cost of camp is $200 for the week, Holms said.

Exchange Club Parenting Skills Center BBQ

posted Aug 18, 2016, 6:17 AM by Ray A. Cooke

Exchange Club of Norwalk - 2016 Annual Golf Outing

posted Mar 30, 2016, 1:22 PM by Ray A. Cooke

CT District Hockey Fundraiser 03/13/16

posted Mar 3, 2016, 5:56 PM by Ray A. Cooke

Exchange Club of CT 

WHEN: Sunday, March 13th – 5:00pm 

WHAT: Bridgeport Sound Tigers vs. Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins 

WHERE: Webster Bank Arena | 600 Main Street | Bridgeport 

TICKETS: $20 per person (Regular Price $34) 

$4 of each ticket goes towards preventing Child Abuse in CT!!! 

Proceeds from the 50/50 Raffle at the game will benefit Exchange!!! 

Make Checks Payable to Your Local Club. 

Please return orders and payment to your President by Friday March 4th


Additional Questions? Please contact Dan Tamburro at the Sound Tigers at: | 203.345.4822 


Due to the impending nor'easter the gala has been postponed.

posted Jan 21, 2016, 12:03 PM by Ray A. Cooke

Due to the impending nor'easter the gala has been postponed.

Exchange Club of Norwalk One Nation Under God Prayer Breakfast

posted Nov 16, 2015, 1:42 PM by Ray A. Cooke


Americans are bound together by their love of freedom, and religion is no exception. The Exchange Club of Norwalk will be holding a One Nation Under God prayer breakfast, at 7:30 a.m. Wednesday (11/25/15) at the Norwalk Inn and Conference Center located at 99 East Avenue in Norwalk.

Our guest speaker will be the Most Reverend Frank J. Caggianothe Bishop of Diocese of Bridgeport. 

The Exchange Club of Norwalk, along with nearly 800 other Exchange Clubs across the nation, will be recognizing November as One Nation Under God Month.

The national program, One Nation Under God, was created to help promote that America is truly "One Nation Under God." As a nation, citizens should be deeply conscious of the importance of our religious freedom in the nation's heritage and future. 

Members are free, guests pay $30.00. For more information on the breakfast, contact Ralph Corasaniti, club president at 203-852-1800 or visit the web site at

Exchange, America's Service Club, is a group of men and women working together to make our communities better places to live through programs of service in Americanism, Community Service, Youth Activities, and its national project, the Prevention of Child Abuse. 


posted Oct 20, 2015, 7:01 AM by Ray A. Cooke

Join the wine specialists from Stew Leonard's Wines of Norwalk as we celebrate harvest season with our sixth annual Wine, Whiskey and Craft Beer Tasting benefitting the Norwalk Exchange Club!  More than 100 wines, whiskies, and beers will be featured, as well as a menu of seasonal fare freshly prepared by Stew Leonard’s culinary team.

The event takes place on Thursday, November 5, 2015 from 6:00 P.M. to 8:00 P.M. at Stew Leonard's food store, located at 100 Westport Avenue in Norwalk.  Tickets are $40 per person and all proceeds will benefit The Norwalk Exchange Club, which will use the funds raised to help fight and prevent child abuse in Fairfield County.

“The Norwalk Exchange Club is looking forward to another exciting wine tasting event to be held at Stew Leonard's store. We appreciate Mr. Leonard's generosity in making his facility available to us. All of the proceeds from this fundraiser will go back into the local community to help fight and prevent child abuse. ,” said Exchange Club President Ralph Corasaniti.

New this year is the addition of six craft beers and liqueurs, all of which are made right here in the Nutmeg State.  Local craft beers to be tasted include City Steam from Hartford, CT; Half Full from Stamford, CT; Two Roads from Stratford, CT; and Black Hog, from Oxford, CT.   There will also be available two new locally owned liqueurs for tasting:  Polly & Joan’s Cold- Soaked in Premium Vodka Fruit Cordials ($19.99 750ml/$12.99 375ml) from Wallingford, CT and Wild Moon Liqueurs from Hartford, CT ($19.99 375ml). 

Stew Leonard's Wine specialists have hand-picked a selection of wines that complement the flavors of the fall harvest season.  Notable wines to be tasted include:

·      2012 Beringer Private Reserve Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon (SALE price $99.99):Rated 96 points by Robert Parker.  A classic, quintessential Napa Cabernet Sauvignon to drink now and over the next 20-25 years Great with prime rib, NY strip or ribeye steaks, and cheeseburgers, too!

·      2010 Caparzo Brunello di Montalcino (SALE price $29.99-save $10): Rated 95 points by James Suckling.  From the highly acclaimed, “2010 Vintage of the Century” this Italian beauty is intense and elegant.  Perfect for turkey, lamb or beef tenderloin.

·      2013 Far Niente Napa Valley Chardonnay (SALE price $44.99 save $10): Offers aromas of Meyer lemon, toasted nuts and fig. Perfect accompaniment to seafood risotto, turkey, lobster or shrimp in creamy or buttery sauces.

·      Belle Glos Meiomi Pinot Noir (SALE price $19.99): Rated 92pts by Wine Spectator.  A customer favorite! Pair this wine with dishes that include mushrooms or cranberries and it will certainly be a homerun! Great with turkey, skirt steak and salmon.

In addition to this already robust tasting menu, Laphroig Single Malt Scotch 10 year old ($41.99) will be sampled alongside bourbons and ryes such as Basil Hayden ($37.99), Knob Creek Rye ($37.99) and Maker’s Mark 46 ($32.99).  All guests will also enjoy trying Crispin Honey Crisp and Saint Ciders (12oz. bottles $6.99). 

To complement the array of fall flavors offered by the wine, beer, and spirits, Stew’s Chefs will offer a Paella Station with an array of chicken, sausage, fish and more to choose from.  Additional menu items include:

·      Spicy Tuna Rolls with Four Color Tobiko 

·      BLT Orzo Pasta Salad in Cherry Tomato Cups

·      Pulled Pork Donuts with Bacon Jam

·      Turkey Sliders with Roasted Tomato, Grilled Zucchini & Avocado Butter

·      Cheeseburger Ravioli with Chipotle Salsa

·      Olive & Antipasti Bar with Grilled Artisan Breads 

Stew Leonard’s bakery team will additionally offer a selection of sweet treats at the end of the night, including freshly baked Pumpkin Brownies, Pumpkin Spice Donut Holes, and Pumpkin Raisin Cookies.

Stew Leonard’s Wines, located at 55 Westport Avenue in Norwalk, will extend their hours that night until 9 p.m. so that guests can purchase any wine, whiskies and beer being sampled that night. 

Tickets can be purchased at Stew Leonard's Wines of Norwalk located at 55 Westport Ave.; Mane St. Salon at 6 Main Street, Norwalk; or by contacting the Exchange Club at 203.424.1122.

About Exchange Club
Exchange, America's Service Club, is a group of men and women working together to make our communities better places to live through programs of service in Americanism, Community Service, Youth Activities, and its national project, the Prevention of Child Abuse.

About Stew Leonard's Wines of Norwalk
Stew Leonard's Wines, named the 2011 Wine Enthusiast Retailer of the Year, is known for the personal service it provides to customers and its knowledgeable staff, many of whom are certified wine professionals. The store carries 2,600 wines from around the world, including more than 200 bottles of hard-to-find, highly rated wines in the fine wine cellar. Sign up to be notified of future events via email by filling out a form at the store. Visit for more information.

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