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The Exchange Club of Norwalk Field of Flags - November 8-10, 2019

posted Jun 1, 2017, 7:24 AM by Ray A. Cooke   [ updated Sep 22, 2019, 6:52 PM ]

The Exchange Club of Norwalk is excited to host a display of U.S. flags on November 8-10, 2019.  The Stars and Stripes will appear in an awe-inspiring panorama of red, white and blue on the grassy lawns of Norwalk Veterans Park / Seaview Park.  Hundreds of full sized flags will fly on seven and a half foot flagpoles to honor our veterans.

Healing Fields of HonorSupport the prevention of child abuse by sponsoring a flag for $40 to honor individuals who through their service and sacrifice have become heroes in our lives.  Flag sponsors will receive their sponsored flags to retain and display as a memento of this year’s event.  Flags may also be donated back to the Exchange Club to be displayed at next year’s event.  Proceeds will benefit the Exchange Club Parenting Skills Center to help break the cycle of child abuse and neglect by providing home based remedial and preventive intervention to abused and/or neglected children or those considered to be “at risk” and their families.

All are invited to visit this display and walk among the posted flags. 

Those who have visited a display know to expect an inspiring and memorable panorama of red, white and blue. Those who are first time visitors will find that the display must be experienced to be fully appreciated.

There is no charge to visit the display.  Please come and bring your family & friends.

Exchange Members Unite For Child Abuse Prevention

posted Apr 3, 2017, 5:08 PM by Ray A. Cooke   [ updated Apr 4, 2017, 8:25 AM ]

Members of the Exchange Club of Norwalk will join thousands of fellow Exchangites across the country throughout the month of April to promote child abuse prevention in their local communities. 

The Exchange Club of Norwalk will be hosting its ‘Believe in the Blue’ child abuse prevention campaign on Monday, April 10, 2017 at 6:30 PM, at Roger Ludlow Park. Exchange Club members will gather and conduct a tree lighting ceremony. 

The tree covered with blue lights will remain lit throughout the month of April, to serve as a reminder of our mission. Members of the community are invited to participate in the event. 

'Believe in the Blue’ introduced in 2007, is an effort to reach families across the nation with helpful, positive parenting tips. Exchange believes parents have the power to make positive parenting choices in the lives of their children and the Exchange Club of Norwalk supports their efforts. 

“The National Exchange Club and local-level Exchange Clubs across the country are dedicated to raising awareness about child abuse prevention,” says Ray A. Cooke, Past President of The Norwalk Exchange Club. “Support of this worthy cause is so engrained in the culture of our 71 year old organization that we support it as Exchange ’s National Project.” 

The National Exchange Club, America’s Premier Service Club, is working to make our communities better places to live through one National Project, the prevention of child abuse, and three Programs of Service — Americanism, Youth project and community service

Wine Tasting To Benefit The Sunshine Kids

posted Mar 29, 2017, 12:57 PM by Ray A. Cooke

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 


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