Today Magazine • January 2023

Page 1

VOLUNTEER VITALITY TODAY

Covering the Heart of the Farmington Valley

JANUARY 2023 • WWW.TODAYPUBLISHING.NET
2 JANUARY 2023 – www.TodayPublishing.net – TODAY MAGAZINE CALENDAR CLICK for TODAY ONLINE CALENDAR Email Events newsroom@TodayPublishing.net Granby Location 364 Salmon Brook Street 860.653.6637 Avon Location 301 Country Club Road 860.673.8610 The Carmon Family believes that each funeral should be personal and meaningful. Our services reflect the Carmon family values and our ongoing commitment to serve families with care and compassion. www.carmonfuneralhome.com Owned & Operated by the Carmon Family DEER DINING A deer forages for nourishment in a Canton backyard — white-tailed deer are found from southern Canada to South America, according to National Geographic
Photo by Wendy Rosenberg

LEADING OFF

Volunteer Value

4 — Value-Added Volunteerism

If money makes the world go round — and if time is money — it’s no leap of logic to affirm that volunteers make the world go round

9 — Incognito Volunteering

What started as “helping out” via a mother’s encouragement has become a lifetime of service

10 — Beyond Belief

The remarkable volunteer achievements of Dave Roberts are almost impossible to conceive and believe

14 — Authors Extraordinaire

Here’s an impressive list of local writers who have been prolific in the literary realm — enjoy this book rundown

“There is a saying: If you want something done, ask a busy person to do it — the more things you do, the more you can do” — Dave Roberts

Waste Not weekly volunteers — 50+

IN OUR FIRST EDITION OF 2023, let’s take stock of the added value that the investment of volunteerism brings to the Farmington Valley community. We kick off our volunteer coverage on page 4 by hearing from managers of local nonprofits and organizations who offer their boots-on-the-ground perspective regarding the worth of volunteers.

Granby resident Duncan Rowles pitched the idea of a story on Valley volunteers in early 2021 — and a two-year time frame from pitch to fruition is actually a short interval in the monthly magazine realm, especially since the list of potential Today cover stories is longer than Routes 10 and 44 combined. He offers some compelling reflections about his volunteer journey on page 9. Moreover, an introduction and referral from Duncan led to the report about fellow Granby resident Dave Roberts on page 10. You may have a tough time believing his extraordinary volunteer tale — but that’s our story, and until proven otherwise we’re sticking to it … BWD

Today Magazine • Covering the Heart of the Farmington Valley Bruce William Deckert — Publisher + Editor-in-Chief 860-988-1910 • Bruce.Deckert@TodayPublishing.net www.TodayPublishing.net > Digital Editions • Award-Winning Today Online • 24/7 news — www.TodayPublishing.net/blog

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Advertising — Contact the Publisher Editorial Associate — Kayla Tyson Contributing Photographer — Wendy Rosenberg Five Towns • One Aim — Exceptional Community Journalism Farmington • Avon • Canton • Simsbury • Granby – CT • USA

ODALYS BEKANICH

COVER STORY KUDOS

Today Magazine’s December cover story featured World War II hero George Wesley England, a Navy airman who received America’s top aviation award — CLICK HERE for our coverage

BEING ABLE to interview George England was one of the most impactful things in my life thus far. I feel that I was extremely privileged to get to know and memorialize a veteran of our Farmington Valley such as himself, and I know that his memory will stay with me as I continue throughout my life.

— Chloe Kieper • Avon

• A senior at Avon High School, reporter Chloe Kieper wrote our December feature about George England

• Her grandfather, Francis William Kieper, was a B-24 bomber pilot during WWII — he and George England both received the Distinguished Flying Cross, the highest U.S. honor for aviation achievement

SO APPRECIATED your December issue of Today featuring the wonderful cover story of the WWII veteran George England. What a richly detailed story of a genuine local hero, right down to his flying mascot German Shepherd Shiba! Love your articles on these humble vets. Keep ’em coming. — M.K. Blanchard • Unionville

GREAT ISSUE as always!

— Christine O’Hanlon Bonchick • Facebook

LETTERS POLICY

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newsroom@TodayPublishing.net CONTENTS COVER STORY SPOTLIGHT ON THE ARTS QUOTE OF THE MONTH VALLEY INTEL NOTEWORTHY
LETTERS
NONPROFITS

VOLUNTEER VITALITY

Valley Volunteers Give Back While Paying Forward

THE SPIRIT of volunteerism appears to be alive and well in the Farmington Valley. This seems clear from anecdotal observation as well as the stories told by local nonprofits and organizations.

If money makes the world go round and if time is money, let’s consider volunteering in light of these two popular sayings — since volunteers give of their time and their invaluable talents, we can apply the transitive property and reasonably conclude the following:

Volunteers make the world go round.

Yet if you beg to differ, we can surely agree that volunteers help make their communities a better place all around the world. An abundance of Valley residents seek to give back and pay it forward by volunteering for numerous nonprofits and organizations.

The December edition of Today Magazine featured one such Valley volunteer. World War II veteran George Wesley England, who died at 98 years old the day before Thanksgiving, served his community throughout his lifetime via 10 or more organizations. The Avon-Canton Rotary Club honored the longtime Avon resident as Citizen of the Year for his volunteer service.

In this edition, we spotlight a Granby resident named Dave Roberts whose volunteer and service resumé includes an amazing 50-plus organizations, agencies and nonprofits — see our sidebar story on page 10 for details.

These two individuals are examples of extreme volunteerism, but you don’t have to win an award or be a WWII hero to make a difference in your community. A proverbial random act of kindness can go a long way toward brightening a neighbor’s day — and even saving a stranger’s life.

Canton resident Wendy Rosenberg, a contributing photographer for Today Magazine, shares one such story.

Wendy and her husband Jeffrey frequent Nepaug Reservoir, walking the trail that starts in Collinsville and goes over the top of the historic Nepaug Dam into New Hartford, where there are stunning views of the reservoir to the

COVER STORY

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PAGE 9

On Volunteering + Risk-Taking PAGE 10

Volunteer Finds 55 Ways To Serve PAGE 13

Vital Volunteer Voices

southwest — and a precipitous drop on the other side where a spillway plunges 100plus feet and becomes the Nepaug River again.

As they traversed the dam one day toward sunset this past autumn, Wendy saw a woman sitting alongside the trail, near the 100-foot gorge, and noticed that her shoulders were heaving and shaking, as if she were silently sobbing. Wendy cared enough to approach the woman — and indeed she was weeping — and asked her what was wrong.

The woman proceeded to share a heartrending story about some family trauma she was enduring, and after a brief conversation, the newly heartened woman made a stunning statement: She said that if Wendy hadn’t stopped and spoken with her and extended kindness, she was planning to jump off the dam after nightfall and end her life.

This profound anecdote isn’t technically an example of volunteering — yet it embodies the volunteer spirit of reaching out and caring for neighbors and showing compassion in a sometimes bleak world that can test even the most optimistic person to the limits.

By the way, Wendy counseled the woman to seek formal help, and they traded phone numbers and later exchanged text messages for follow-up encouragement. Further, Wendy’s small act of kindness was an overflow gesture dovetailing with her volunteer work through the years. A retired nurse, she has given her time and ear to nursinghome residents and patients with medical challenges and youth facing burdensome emotional situations.

“I was bullied as a child,” she says, “so I feel I can relate to many youngsters. … I have had a passion for helping people since I was a young child. People have to have passions to keep them going.”

For our volunteer coverage in this

4 JANUARY 2023 – www.TodayPublishing.net – TODAY MAGAZINE
Habitat for Humanity volunteers help new homeowners build brand-new houses

Volunteers

edition, Today Magazine has sought comment from a number of managers of nonprofits, organizations and agencies in the five core Farmington Valley towns — Avon, Canton, Farmington, Granby and Simsbury — and we asked the following two questions:

1. How essential are volunteers for your organization to operate

effectively — and what are some vital volunteer roles people fulfill for your organization?

2. In your experience and observation, what benefits do volunteers derive from volunteering?

• Comments are listed in alphabetical order by last name

SERVING WITH A SMILE

ON THE COVER

Founder — For All Ages

1 — Volunteers are the heart and soul of For All Ages! We would not be able to offer our programs and events without the dozens of volunteers who generously donate their time and talent each year. And our volunteer board of directors is instrumental in guiding us along the path of greater impact and effectiveness as we

TODAY MAGAZINE – www.TodayPublishing.net – JANUARY 2023 5
Longtime Simsbury residents David and Donna Farrell volunteer at the Gifts of Love food pantry in Avon
—————————————————
keep the Weekend Food Backpack program humming at Gifts of Love in a warmer season — and of course helpers are needed during every season of the year Courtesy Photos Deb Bibbins

grow. We consider all of our volunteers as vital to For All Ages! We believe that every individual plays a critical role in helping to propel us forward and serve more residents across the state.

2 — Volunteering provides you with a sense of purpose as well as a sense of community. And volunteering helps counteract the effects of stress and anxiety. For All Ages is dedicated to improving the social connectedness of people of all ages, which translates to improved mental and physical health. Volunteering is one way to meaningfully connect with others to improve your health and well-being.

Sandy

Director — Waste Not Want Not Community Kitchen

1 — We are a 14-year 501c3 notfor-profit and all-volunteer Granby organization, and we serve 300-350 meals every Wednesday! In addition, we offer groceries, clothing and other household supplies to assist our diners.

We have over 50 volunteers each week and some of us plan our lives around our weekly commitment. We have no paid staff — everyone is 100% volunteer. Many serve 20-plus hours a week, and a few serve 40-plus — amazing! I continue to be humbled by the generosity of spirit in this wonderful group of people!

2 — Our volunteers are close and give generously of their time, often filling in for each other. Many strong friendships result in our time together. The pandemic caused many changes and reorganization of our serving style but never interrupted our service. We are reminded every week how important the continuity of our meal is to a major number of our families.

The seniors really enjoy this home-cooked meal.

2 — The three benefits I have observed are making new friends, feeling part of the community, and having a sense of purpose. Our volunteers genuinely enjoy helping others.

1 — Volunteers are absolutely vital to the success of Gifts of Love, as we simply could not operate without them. Our nearly 1,500 volunteers collect and sort essential items like food and clothing, perform front desk duties, assist clients with meeting their basic needs, and more.

2 — Their only reward is seeing the smiles on the faces of clients and staff alike as they make life a little easier for struggling members of our community.

• Specialized & Virtual – supported Habitat Family Partnerships, Youth Advocacy programming, mission-share objectives and virtual campaigns.

2 — Volunteers can derive many positive benefits through service: community connection, perspective, experience and knowledge building, collaborative networks, and passion and purpose. Plus fulfillment that you are making a difference and that you are doing good work for those who need it most in your community. Spend a day, change a life — your impact is more profound than you think!

1 — Volunteers are an essential element of a functioning Chamber of Commerce in several different ways. The governing body of a COC itself is made up of volunteer members and these directors determine the goals, priorities and direction for the organization.

We have many committees available to members such as Health and Wellness, Ambassadors and Education. These various committees have their specific niche within the organization and add to the benefits the Chamber provides the members and community through their own initiatives.

We also offer three large signature events that require volunteers each year — the Golf Tournament, Celebrate the Valley and Spooktacular. These events are a huge undertaking and provide community enrichment and would not be possible without volunteers to fill various roles.

1

— Our volunteers are an essential part of our team. They assist us with many programs and services, and if not for them we may not be able to offer such a wide variety of opportunities. Our large team of volunteers also helps us to reduce our operating costs. They bring special skills that provide additional programs or services.

We have a volunteer who provides one-on-one technology tutoring for older adults who need assistance with smartphones, tablets and computers. This is a very popular program. We have two volunteers who prepare and serve a monthly supper to older adults.

1 — Volunteers are the heart of our mission and help to drive our organization every single day. Volunteers help to build our homes, stock our ReStore, and share our mission as ambassadors. Our work would not be possible without our volunteer community!

All of our volunteers play an important role in our work, from construction to office support — it all helps us to build homes, community and hope.Vital roles over the last year have included:

• Construction — supported four new homes in Windsor and one rehab in Hartford.

• ReStore — supported our new ReStore in Vernon and expanded inventory in Bloomfield.

2 — Volunteers who are members and participate on the board or a committee benefit by forming more relationships with other proactive professionals, helping guide the Chamber in a direction they will benefit from, and by increased visibility through the website and other resources. Event volunteers thoroughly enjoy participating in a fun-filled day where they not only help the Chamber but are able to interact with the community, and there is such a great sense of camaraderie within these groups.

Food Pantry

1 — The Farmington Food Pantry is a 100% volunteer 501c3 organization, including the 14-member board, so

6 JANUARY 2023 – www.TodayPublishing.net – TODAY MAGAZINE
“Volunteers are the heart of our mission and help to drive our organization every single day …
Our work would not be possible without our volunteer community”
— Ryan Gorecki Habitat for Humanity
TODAY MAGAZINE – www.TodayPublishing.net – JANUARY 2023 7 860-541-2208 www.hfhncc.org 91% portion of budget spent on programs and expenses 84% homeowners’ children graduate high school 3.0 ENERGY STAR CERTIFIED ALL HOMES 50 families annually our goal is to help Served over 10 families with critical repairs 150 HOURS OF SWEAT EQUITY PERFORMED BY EACH HOMEOWNER 50 HOURS OF FINANCIAL LITERACY COMPLETED BY EACH HOMEOWNER OVER 4,000 volunteers hosted annually over 40 towns served OUR IMPACT THANKS TO PARTNERS LIKE YOU 1,500 individuals have a place to call home over $40 ADDED TO GREATER HARTFORD REGION’S TAX BASE million dollars over creating a world where everyone has a safe, decent and affordable place to call home... 10 YEARS families served to date over 350 homes closed in 2022 10 Thousands of square feet in retail space filled with home improvement treasures Shop, Donate, Support Our Restores. Locations: Bloomfield & Vernon 9 YEARS 2 ND ReStore Opened in 2022

without the dedication of our volunteers there would be no pantry. In addition to the day-to-day management of operations, key roles are food drive coordinators, food purchasing coordinators, shopping day assistants, volunteer coordinator (sourcing and scheduling volunteers) and those who restock and keep the pantry inventory organized. We also have a media/PR volunteer, a technology volunteer and a financial specialist volunteer as treasurer.

2 — Many of our volunteers have been with the Farmington Food Pantry for years. The sense of serving the community and gaining an understanding of how food insecurity impacts all residents is quite the learning experience. The genuine gratitude the shoppers express to our volunteers as they shop for food and personal care items provides instant feedback for how impactful their volunteer time is.

Alan E. Rosenberg

COVID mandates initially curtailed volunteerism, but you can’t keep good volunteers down for long — at Gifts of Love, the Weekend Food Backpack program depends on helpers to pack and distribute

Sarah Thompson

of Human Services — Town of Avon

1 — Volunteers are very important and quite essential to our department’s successful operation. They assist with many programs, including the food bank, holiday program and senior center, and provide transportation for seniors needing grocery shopping.

We have volunteers from various local organizations, such as the Rotary Club, Avon UNICO, the Lions Club and many other religious, civic and community organizations who have played vital roles in our programs.

2 — Volunteers derive a great deal of satisfaction in serving others and giving back to the community through their efforts.

Co-Lead — ShopBlackCT.com

1 — Volunteers are crucial for ShopBlackCT, as our entire initiative is volunteer-run. We have several roles that volunteers fulfill: social media, writing, photography, data, website management, events/promotion, marketing and others. The success of ShopBlackCT.com is thanks to many people working together to make a difference by spreading the word about our site and offering resources to elevate and amplify Black-owned businesses in Connecticut.

A team of volunteers give their time, energy and talent to keep ShopBlackCT running and relevant. Team members do not profit anything off of the site nor is the site used for any financial or personal gain. This effort is 100% about giving, lifting up others and expecting nothing in return.

8 JANUARY 2023 – www.TodayPublishing.net – TODAY MAGAZINE

Mom’s Influence Spurs Lifelong Volunteer Risk-Taking, Volunteering Go Hand In Hand

ASK YOURSELF, “When did I first volunteer — for anything?”

Was it through a church youth group, a high school graduation requirement, a parent or neighbor’s suggestion/ intervention, the influence of a friend or neighbor — or did you see a need or situation that cried out for you to do something that you wouldn’t ordinarily do?

Looking back over the eight decades of my life, I have been pleasantly surprised at the early impact of my mother and her steering or influencing me to participate in events that, unknown to me at the time, were “volunteering.” I was “helping out.”

At an early age I helped to place flags on the graves of veterans for Decoration Day (now Memorial Day).

I helped an elderly neighbor with mundane tasks, and met and visited with a person recovering from a medical procedure under the auspices of learning to play chess.

The summer I graduated from grade school, Mom asked me to “help out” at the Girl Scout summer camp where, as a leader, she was “helping out.”

I ran errands and delivered crafts, snacks, drinks and meals to the campers. I was helping out — not volunteering.

Volunteering has an element of risk

2 — ShopBlackCT volunteers work together toward our mission: to challenge structural racism and transform the legacy of economic and social inequity in the U.S. by providing a platform to drive business to and awareness of local Black-owned businesses.

By doing so, our volunteers make a significant difference in the community, foster relationships with each other and business owners, connect with other community members, practice their craft, and know that they are working for a worthy cause.

Terri Wilson

President — Avon Historical Society

1 — Since the Avon Historical Society is a 100% volunteer organization, every person who spends time with us is vital to our success. As the president, I

Volunteers help the Avon Historical Society restore the Derrin House — a section of the house dates to the 1760s

about it. At 16 I threw my hat into the ring and successfully applied to be the editor of my high school yearbook. Where did that come from?

I had not been involved in the journalistic endeavors of many of my classmates who wrote and/or edited the school newspaper. Was it a whim?

To this day I have no recollection of WHY. I just DID. I took a RISK.

As I grew older, I learned that I could sing fairly well and even solo occasionally, I could teach someone to do something, I could speak in public, I could do more than “just my job” and create opportunities for my future by being willing to step out of my comfort zone.

Was all this volunteering? I think so.

By taking small risks and succeeding, each success became the foundation to build upon and take further risks.

Risk is a two-edged sword. I wasn’t always successful, but I was willing to step up again — get back in the saddle, so to speak.

Today my “Volunteering CV” runs to three pages. I’m 81 and I’m not done yet. +

Duncan Rowles and his wife Marian are longtime residents of Granby — now retired, he was the founder and principal of POND Associates

pride myself in delegating and allowing volunteers to be in charge of their own ideas and projects. All I ask is that they report to me on how it’s going so if I am asked, I know what to say. I always give credit to the person who did the work. I think giving people credit is the best part of volunteering — it encourages continued participation.

At any one time, we have over 25 people (including board of directors) who are working on something for the Society — fundraising, social media, finances, building management, research, writing, etc. They complete our mission. No one person can do it all, nor should they!

2 — Volunteers who believe in the mission of the organization they are working with do it for altruistic reasons – they love the idea of helping, being part of something bigger and working with others. They give time and their talents

for free, which is something that everyone should be doing in a democratic society. The benefits are as much as the volunteer wants it to be. It can be making new friends, accomplishing a huge goal, giving back to the community or someone in particular who did something for them, etc. The benefits of volunteering never end if one enjoys what they do and who they are doing it with! +

Besides the above, Today Magazine contacted additional managers of Valley organizations — including the other Chamber of Commerce and the other three town social service departments — but we haven’t seen replies to our emails requesting comment

Today Magazine covers the heart of the Farmington Valley — Avon, Canton, Farmington, Granby and Simsbury

TODAY MAGAZINE – www.TodayPublishing.net – JANUARY 2023 9
VALLEY INTEL

BEYOND BUSY

For Dave Roberts, Volunteering Is Like Breathing

WHILE EVERY volunteerism story is worth telling, the numbers connected with one particular Farmington Valley volunteer are simply staggering.

David W. Roberts (aka Dave) is a resident of West Granby, a distinct section of the town of Granby — East Granby, meanwhile, is a different town, separate from Granby. By his account, he has served via an astounding 55 boards, commissions, organizations and elected roles throughout his life.

In an email to Today Magazine, he wrote in the subject line: “The Energizer Bunny is Real” — a nod to the classic ad campaign for Energizer batteries. Indeed, he is a quintessential example of volunteer vitality in the Valley.

Roberts’ family history in Connecticut dates back 13 generations to the early 17th century. His paternal ancestors immigrated from England in 1629 to what was then known as Connecticut, settling in Long Island, which he says was then part of the Connecticut territory.

“My uncle, the late Barkhamsted town historian Doug Roberts, told me that when Connecticut was being settled, the land in the northwestern part of the future state was considered harsh, uninhabitable and worthless,” Dave Roberts says.

“Many tracts of land were given away or sold very cheaply to entice families to northwestern Connecticut.”

Roberts’ ancestors moved to the village of Riverton, part of present-day Barkhamsted, and the nearby area along the Farmington River. The village of Robertsville is named after his family — just northwest of Riverton, Robertsville is part of present-day Colebrook.

“Volunteering is in the Roberts family DNA,” he says.

Roberts grew up in Riverton in a home built on a former asparagus field. His great-grandparents had the largest

Finding 55 Ways To Serve

10 JANUARY 2023 – www.TodayPublishing.net – TODAY MAGAZINE
VALLEY INTEL
Dave Roberts at the United Nations — he was the Lions Club representative to the U.N. Council of Organizations in 2022

asparagus farm east of the Mississippi River, he explains, and much of their old farmland is now part of People’s State Forest in Barkhamsted.

He graduated from Northwestern Regional High School #7 and Northwestern Connecticut Community College — he says one of his grandfathers helped establish both schools — before receiving a B.A. degree in political science and economics from American University.

Dave Roberts has clearly inherited the volunteer gene. The Google Dictionary defines the term as follows:

• volunteer • noun — someone who works for an organization without being paid — who freely offers to take part in an enterprise or undertake a task

• volunteer • verb — work for an organization without being paid — freely offer to do something

Roberts, 62 years young, has a volunteer resumé as long and varied as the Farmington River — including the following roles in his current hometown:

• Chair — Granby Conservation Commission

• Secretary — Salmon Brook Historical Society board of directors

• Alternate member — Granby Zoning Board of Appeals

• Waste Not Want Not Community Kitchen

• Granby Grange #5

• Sunday School — Valley Brook Community Church

• Speaker — Granby Men’s Breakfast group

• Justice of the Peace — elected

“My Granby volunteer efforts help me focus my energy to keep our wonderful community vibrant,” Roberts says.

Where does he find the time?

“You just make time,” he affirms. “I try not to overcommit, but I like to find opportunities to help others in need. … There is a

saying: If you want something done, ask a busy person to do it — the more things you do, the more you can do.”

If someone published a volunteer dictionary, an entire entry for the term “busy” could be devoted to Dave Roberts. It certainly helps that he is retired — he has been retired since 2017, when he returned to Connecticut after living in California for a number of years.

The above volunteer roles only reflect Roberts’ involvement in Granby. He fulfills numerous other volunteer duties at the local, state and national levels.

Roberts serves as the district governor for 50-plus Lions clubs in Hartford and Litchfield Counties. On July 1, he is slated to become the head volunteer for all Connecticut Lions — so he’ll have the lion’s share of responsibility statewide. He is likewise active in the New England Lions Council and has served at the Lions Low Vision Center of Hartford and Litchfield Counties.

Based in Illinois, Lions Clubs International is a service organization with 1.4 million members and 48,000 clubs worldwide, according to the Lions website.

Further, in 2022 Roberts was the Lions-appointed representative to the United Nations Council of Organizations —

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“Lions has been a great organization to focus many of my passions — and I love my
United Nations work as it helps me learn ideas to help others on a much larger scale”
— Dave Roberts

a federation of nonprofits, NGOs and similar agencies. Eleanor Roosevelt founded the U.N. COO in 1947, just two years after the United Nations was established.

“When the United Nations was just launching, former first lady Eleanor Roosevelt was concerned that not enough Americans were supporting this critical new organization to promote world peace,” Roberts notes. “So she helped start the United Nations Council of Organizations.”

Roberts chaired the U.N. COO’s 75thanniversary celebration throughout 2022.

He has received two of the Connecticut Lions’ highest honors: Ambassador of Sight and the Presidential Leadership Award.

“Lions has been a great organization to focus many of my passions,” Roberts says. “And I love my United Nations work as it helps me learn ideas to help others on a much larger scale.”

Meanwhile, Roberts is the program director for Connecticut State Grange, which is part of the National Grange — a familyand community-focused service organization with roots in agriculture. In Barkhamsted, his family’s hometown, he is the president of Riverton Grange #169 and vice president of Mountain Laurel Pomona Grange #14.

“I was introduced to the Grange by my grandmother, Dorothy Roberts, and my father, Arba Alford Roberts,” he explains. “Last year, the National Grange honored the Roberts family for having five generations of continuous membership in Riverton Grange — my great-grandparents were charter officers in 1908.”

In two years, Roberts is slated to receive his 50-year membership recognition from National Grange.

In addition to his national and state volunteer exploits, Roberts is further involved locally, believe it or not — here’s a partial list:

• President — Barkhamsted Senior Center

• Past President — Barkhamsted Lions Club

• Barkhamsted Historical Society

• Friends of American Legion and People’s State Forests

• National Eagle Scout Association

• Pleasant Valley Community Food Bank

• Sons of the American Revolution

And there’s more — he has trained service dogs for the Torrington-based nonprofit Educated Canines Assisting with Disabilities (ECAD) and has participated in the Great Cycle Challenge USA, a fundraising event for children’s cancer research.

In his spare time — if that phrase makes any sense in this context — he has been known to voluntarily mow the lawns of Squires Tavern (via the Barkhamsted Historical Society) and Barkhamsted’s historic Washington Hill United Methodist Church. Oh, and to collect needed supplies for the Fidelco Guide Dog Foundation, the Bloomfield-based nonprofit.

Before retiring in 2017, Roberts recorded an eclectic career history of public service and corporate employment that surely prepared him for his transition into full-time volunteerism.

By his account, he worked for Lowell Weicker Jr., the U.S. senator from Connecticut, and served a stint in the Pentagon as a budget officer for the U.S. Air Force. When President Ronald Reagan civilianized many former military positions, Roberts was the first civilian deputy chief of staff for base operations for the

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Dave Roberts

Dave Roberts has trained service dogs for Educated Canines Assisting with Disabilities (ECAD) — the nonprofit’s goal is to help people with disabilities achieve more independence and mobility via specially educated dogs

U.S. Air Forces in Europe. While serving on the U.S. House Appropriations Committee, he helped create what was then a top-secret project — developing the TRICARE military healthcare system.

Roberts was a vice president for Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC), an engineering and IT services company, and for the nonprofit Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS).

Further, he served as an appointee under Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama in the Department of Health and Human Services — and also served for 12 years as an elected official in California’s San Diego County, one of our nation’s largest counties, where he was a city councilman, deputy mayor, mayor and county supervisor representing over 650,000 residents.

Whew … let’s catch our collective breath. Is anyone else weary from simply considering the career and volunteer adventures of Dave Roberts?

Indeed, volunteering is apparently as natural as breathing for Roberts — and he is evidently the epitome of volunteer vitality in the Farmington Valley. +

Volunteering is a work of heart

Those who can, do — those who can do more, volunteer Life is about making an impact, not making an income

There is no I in team — but there is a U in volunteer Volunteers are not paid — not because they are worthless, but because they are priceless

No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted — Aesop

No one has ever become poor from giving — Maya Angelou

Only a life lived for others is a life worthwhile — Albert Einstein

It is in giving that we receive — St. Francis of Assisi

The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others — Gandhi

It’s not how much we give, but how much love we put into giving — Mother Theresa

Volunesia • noun — that moment when you forget you’re volunteering to help change lives, because it’s changing yours

TODAY MAGAZINE – www.TodayPublishing.net – JANUARY 2023 13
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Valley Authors Offer Stories Galore

LOCAL AUTHORS with various Farmington Valley connections have been busy and even prolific in the book world. Here are some of their literary offerings — listed in reverse alphabetical order by the author’s last name :

The Newspaper Club

New-to-town Nellie Murrow is intensely curious about the strange happenings in Sleepy Bear Creek, Maine.

An aspiring journalist, Nellie is desperate to discover the truth about the vandalism in the park, but she needs a team to create The Cub Report, the town’s first independent newspaper.

Grace Edwards struggles to return to her normal 16-year-old life. After spending six weeks in a residential treatment facility, she is reunited with her best friend and a boyfriend who adores her.

But she soon realizes that the real world is much harder to re-enter than she had anticipated. Now she’s faced with the ultimate dilemma — a choice between relapse and recovery.

Will she have the strength to carry on, or will she collapse under the weight of mental illness?

Mary K. Savarese Tigers Love Bubble Baths & Obsession Perfume

Angie Pantera’s world comes to a shocking halt after the news of her husband’s infidelity ruins the celebration of their 25th anniversary.

Her life seems to tailspin until serendipity brings her to the Home of the Little Flower, a church-run nursing home where she becomes recreation director.

However, Angie’s presence and the purchase of a “magical” bouquet result in strange deaths, and Angie is forced to clear her name as she seeks the truth with a target on her back.

Lisa Samia

The Nameless and the Faceless Women of the Civil War

A collection of 28 poems with 28 accompanying essays. One fascinating subject is Elvira Finch Moore, who married John L. Moore in Virginia nine years before the American Civil War.

Elvira’s family history suggests she was a traitor and spy — but for the North or the South? We do not know.

For the first time, unknown voices tell their stories of suffering, sacrifice and survival. Samia has served as an Artistin-Residence for the National Parks Arts Foundation.

Joel Samberg Blowin’ in the Wind

Daniel Hillman, a 9-year-old musical prodigy on Long Island, knows he’ll be the first preteen in history to write, arrange and perform his own hit album, even though there are many other things he’d like to do. What Daniel does not know is that life can get in the way. If Daniel’s journey proves anything at all, it’s that life can be as hard and painful as having your insides kicked out, or as simple and carefree as looking up and making a wish. Maybe both.

Martin Pazzani Secrets Of Aging Well: Get Outside

Looking for a life-changing way to stay fit, healthy and active well into your golden years? Want to take charge of the way you age while enjoying a passion that energizes your body, mind and spirit? This novel sheds light on research that shows the pathway to a longer, happier, healthier life.

David K. Leff

The Breach: Voices Haunting a New England Mill Town

An award-winning story of politics, family life, competing redevelopment schemes, gossiping locals and a mother fiercely protecting her children — told in the voice of common objects, from an umbrella to the church steeple clock to a Bridgeport milling machine. How did these everyday things find their voice? Readers may never again look at the ordinary objects around them the same.

Leesa Lawson

Featured in — Chicken Soup for the Soul: Age is Just A Number

Lawson is an award-winning advertising copywriter, and her humorous essay “Forgetting” was chosen from thousands of submissions to be included in this Chicken Soup series book.

Carrie Firestone Dress Coded

This middle-grade novel tackles a common problem for many girls: dress codes. After a series of unfair dress-coding incidents, Molly starts a podcast where girls can tell their stories, and before long her small rebellion swells into a revolution. Because now the girls are standing up for what’s right, and they’re not backing down.

Bruce William Deckert

Serengeti Friendship: Soccer Forgiveness

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SPOTLIGHT ON THE ARTS
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GOOD

When a crisis of trust threatens to tear apart the heart of the African Animals, soccer success appears to be a mirage, the least of their concerns. Except for a minor detail — the Wild Animal World Cup begins soon. But hope is in the air … and the sky. Literally — and a trio of teammates seeks a Serengeti owl for friendship help at his upside-down tree.

Showtime Sabotage (What Happened?)

Green Valley Middle School’s theater students knew their production of Pirates and Lost Boys was cursed. After months of snow days, chicken pox and flaring rivalries, they’ve finally made it to opening day. But when the lights go out and props and costumes get wrecked mere hours before showtime, the cast and crew suspect something even worse: sabotage. +

TODAY MAGAZINE – www.TodayPublishing.net – JANUARY 2023 15 For over 45 years, we’ve provided a safe and caring environment for residents to maintain an optimal quality of life! D Alzheimer’s & dementia care D Hospice and palliative care D Physician & nursing services D Therapeutic recreation D Short-term rehabilitation D Long-term care D Post-acute & transitional care D Respite care SKILLED NURSING & REHABILITATION CENTERS FAMILY OWNED AND OPERATED Patient-Centered Care ALWAYS OUR
PRIORITY 652 West Avon Road, Avon 860-673-2521 avonhealthcenter.com 130 Loomis Drive, West Hartford 860-521-8700 westhartfordhealth.com
TOP
MOURNING
The melancholic cooing of the mourning dove is one of North America’s most familiar bird sounds — mourning doves are found from southern Canada to central Mexico, per Audubon.org
Photo by Wendy Rosenberg
16 JANUARY 2023 – www.TodayPublishing.net – TODAY MAGAZINE Funeral Home 880 Hopmeadow St. Simsbury, CT 06070 (860) 658-7613 The Vincent Family caring for yours for over a Century, since 1902 120 Albany Turnpike Canton, CT 06019 (860) 693-0251 www.vincentfuneralhome.com We offer complete cremation services at FARMINGTON VALLEY CREMATORY The only on-site crematory in the Farmington Valley ◆ www.carmonfuneralhome.com Owned & Operated by the Carmon Family Granby Location 364 Salmon Brook Street 860.653.6637 Avon Location 301 Country Club Road 860.673.8610 …the Carmon Family believes that each funeral should be personal and meaningful. Our services reflect the Carmon family values and our ongoing commitment to serve families with care and compassion. ADVERTISER Directory – TODAY Magazine Long-Term Advertisers – Alphabetical Order by Category Food Bank Serving Eligible Canton Residents Canton Food Bank at Trinity Episcopal Church 55 River Road – Collinsville Open Tuesdays – 7:30-11:30 a.m. Apply with Canton Senior & Social Services Call 860-693-5811 Canton Food Bank Barbershop
TODAY MAGAZINE – www.TodayPublishing.net – JANUARY 2023 17 Health Care Center 860-651-8236 www.Insuranceagentswhocare.com LIFE IS COMPLICATED, WE CAN HELP.... Better Insurance! Find out how you can get improved value and peace of mind. Three generations serving local families for over 60 years. your approval or changes to: Allison@Terraboost.com APPROVED date signature Thank you for placing your ad with us! 860-651-8236 www.Insuranceagentswhocare.com LIFE IS COMPLICATED, WE CAN HELP.... Better Insurance! Find out how you can get improved value and peace of mind. Three generations serving local families for over 60 years. (Layout includes a margin clear of text and graphics as this information may be covered by frame and/or clips during installation) Please carefully proof your ad AD PROOF Hand Sanitizing Billboard review, please sign and mark appropriate box below. your approval or changes to: Allison@Terraboost.com are not responsible for grammatical errors) APPROVED date signature Thank you for placing your ad with us! Noris Christensen 374 Hopmeadow Street • Simsbury, CT 06089 860-651-8236 www.Insuranceagentswhocare.com Find out how you can get improved value and peace of mind. Call or visit our office today! For improved value and peace of mind, call or visit our office today! 860-651-8236 Christensen Insurance 540 Hopmeadow St. • Simsbury, CT www.insuranceagentswhocare.com Insurance Jewelry Hardware For over 45 years, we’ve provided a safe and caring environment for residents to maintain an optimal quality of life! D Alzheimer’s & dementia care D Hospice and palliative care D Physician & nursing services D Therapeutic recreation D Short-term rehabilitation D Long-term care D Post-acute & transitional care D Respite care SKILLED NURSING & REHABILITATION CENTERS FAMILY OWNED AND OPERATED Patient-Centered Care ALWAYS OUR TOP PRIORITY 652 West Avon Road, Avon 860-673-2521 avonhealthcenter.com 130 Loomis Drive, West Hartford 860-521-8700 westhartfordhealth.com
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TODAY MAGAZINE – www.TodayPublishing.net – JANUARY 2023 19 Physical Therapy Magna Physical Therapy & Sports Medicine Center LLC Sports Medicine | Orthopedics | Dance Medicine | Pilates Neurological Care | Post-Operative Care | Personal Training Vestibular Care | Massage Therapy | Dry Needling Book Your Appointment Today! 860.679.0430 AVON • CANTON www.magnapt.com CELEBRATING 15 YEARS 860-965-3652 • CELL 860-676-1200 • OFFICE odalys.bekanich@cbmoves.com 290 West Main Street Avon, CT 06001 Operated by a subsidiary of NRT LLC 290 West Main Street Avon, CT 06001 ColdwellBankerHomes.com 860-674-0300 860-693-2876 Office 860-593-9826 Cell 860-676-1400 Fax juilusandgail@cbmoves.com JULIUS FIALKIEWICZ Associate Broker GAIL FIALKIEWICZ Realtor® Operated by a subsidiary of NRT LLC ODALYS BEKANICH Associate Broker Five Star Professional Award-Winning Real Estate Agent Real Estate Emergency Service 24/7 SEPTIC CLEANINGS * INSTALLATIONS & REPAIRS * PUMP CHAMBERS VIDEO INSPECTIONS * SEWER CONNECTIONS * EXCAVATION & DRAINAGE Chris & Bryan 1983 (860) 243-3500 Ask your neighbors about us!  Family Owned & Operated Since 1983  Professional & Knowledgeable  Fully Licensed & Insured CT License #HIC0559131 www.ChristopherBryantCompany.com Proud Member of Septic Systems

ADVERTISER Hall of Fame

TODAY Magazine

• This is a list of advertising sponsors that have see the value of investing in Today Magazine’s award-winning journalism as we cover the heart of the Farmington Valley — our intent is for this to be a comprehensive list

• If you have advertised with Today Publishing but don’t see your business or organization listed, please contact us so we can add you to our Advertisers Hall of Fame — advertise@todaypublishing.net

Anthology Senior Living — 860-546-8037 — Simsbury www.anthologyseniorliving.com > Location

Avon Health Center — 860-673-2521 — Avon www.avonhealthcenter.com

Avon Historical Society — 860-678-7621 — Avon www.avonhistoricalsociety.org

A Teen Edge — 860-593-2822 www.ateenedge.com

Board and Brush — 860-392-8567 — Simsbury www.boardandbrush.com/simsbury

Canton Barn LLC — 860-693-0601 — Canton www.cantonbarn.com ———————————————————————————————

Canton Food Bank — 860-693-5811 — Canton www.townofcantonct.org

Carmon Funeral Homes — 860-246-1413 www.carmonfuneralhome.com ———————————————————————————————

Carol Cole Real Estate — 860-212-0687 — Canton www.carolcolerealestate.com

Cherry Brook Health Care Center — 860-693-7777 — Canton www.cherrybrookhcc.com ———————————————————————————————

Christensen Insurance — 860-651-8236 — Simsbury www.insuranceagentswhocare.com

Christopher Bryant Co. — 860-243-3500 — Bloomfield www.thechristopherbryantcompany.com

Collinsville Bank — 860-693-6935 — Canton www.collinsvillebank.com

Connecticut Dance Academy — 860-707-4198 — Canton www.ctdanceacademy.com

Connecticut Headshots — 860-263-9277 — Avon www.connecticutheadshots.com

Dynamic Auto Works — 860-693-6359 — Canton www.facebook.com/DynamicAutoCanton

Erica Maglieri: Realtor — 860-324-6842 bhhsneproperties.com/real-estate-agent/757/erica-maglieri ———————————————————————————————

Fresh Start Pallet Products — 860-266-5726 — Hartford www.freshstartpalletproducts.org

Granby-Simsbury Chamber of Commerce — 860-651-7307 www.simsburycoc.org

Green Door Restaurant — 860-693-9762 — Canton www.41bridgestreet.com

Habitat for Humanity — 860-541-2208 — Hartford www.hfhncc.org ———————————————————————————————

Hartford Symphony Orchestra — 860-246-8742 — Hartford www.hartfordsymphony.org

Hulme & Sweeney Pianos — 860-408-4895 — Simsbury www.hulmesweeneypianoservice.com ———————————————————————————————

Karedigs.com — 860-379-4340 — Barkhamsted www.karedigs.com

Kerian Home Health Care — 860-851-6267 — Simsbury www.keriancares.com ———————————————————————————————

Kevin Witkos: State Senator

Landscape Solutions — 860-329-2014 — New Hartford www.landscapesolutionsct.com

Leslee Hill for State Representative ———————————————————————————————

Lifetime Family Dentistry — 860-605-2075 — Collinsville www.lifetimefamilydentistryct.com

Linda Kessler: Realtor — 860-836-6172 — Avon www.coldwellbankerhomes.com > Agents ———————————————————————————————

Liza Sivek Marketing — 203-278-5492 www.lizasivekmarketing.com

Maglieri Construction — 860-242-0298 — Bloomfield www.maglieri-construction.com

Magna Physical Therapy — 860-679-0430 — Avon www.magnapt.com

Maher’s Paint & Wallpaper — 860-678-1200 — Avon + Simsbury www.maherspaintandwallpaper.com

Mandel Vilar Press — 806-790-4731 — Simsbury www.mvpublishers.org

Massage Envy — 860-693-8000 — Canton www.massageenvy.com > Locations

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The Master’s School — 860-651-9361 — West Simsbury www.masterschool.org

McLean — 860-658-3786 — Simsbury www.mcleancare.org

Nails of Envy — formerly Avon

Northwest Community Bank — 860-379-7561 www.nwcommunitybank.com

Odalys Bekanich: Realtor — 860-965-3652 — Avon www.coldwellbankerhomes.com > Agents

Peggy’s Personalized Promos — 860-379-7775 — New Hartford www.peggys.biz

Planning Partners LLC — 860-693-9916 — Canton www.planningpartner.com

Raimie Weber Jewelry — 860-409-3400 — Avon www.rweberjewelry.com

Randy Brolo: Book Author www.lulu.com > Spirit of Delilah

Ravenswood Natural Health — 860-264-1587 — Simsbury www.ravenswoodnaturalhealth.com

Suburban Sanitation Service — 860-673-3078 — Canton www.subsanserv.com

Trading Post — 860-693-4679 — Canton www.tradingpostmusic.com

Transition Fitness Center — 860-398-1449 — Canton www.transition-fitness-center.business.site

UConn Health — 860-658-8750 www.health.uconn.edu

Up Top Barbershop — 860-658-4499 — Simsbury www.booksy.com > Up Top Barbershop

Vincent Funeral Homes — 860-693-0251 www.vincentfuneralhome.com

Vincent Tully: Realtor — 860-214-3030 www.coldwellbankerhomes.com > Agent

Welden Hardware — 860-658-4078 — Simsbury www.weldenhardware.com

William Raveis — 860-693-2987 — Avon www.raveis.com/agentfind.asp?smart=1

TODAY MAGAZINE – www.TodayPublishing.net – JANUARY 2023 21