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“Fairfield County Sports Commission to Receive President’s Award from Connecticut Sports Writers’ Alliance”

To be presented at 73rd Gold Key Dinner April 27

Connecticut Sports Writers’ Alliance Press Release
For more information, contact George Albano, President, Connecticut Sports Writers’ Alliance, at 203-434-2320.

April 20, 2014

The Fairfield County Sports Commission, which is celebrating its 10th year as a leading promoter of health, fitness and athletics, will receive the President’s Award from the Connecticut Sports Writers’ Alliance at its 73rd Gold Key Dinner April 27 at the Aqua Turf Club in Southington.

The recipient of the President’s Award is chosen by the CSWA president and presented to an individual, team or organization that has made a positive impact on the state’s sports landscape. This year’s award winner was selected by current President George Albano.

The FCSC, which has been serving 15 communities in the southwestern part of Connecticut since 2005, is a 501c (3) non-profit, educational organization dedicated to promoting youth fitness and personal development through sports and an active, healthy lifestyle. The focus of the Commission is creating and supporting programs for fitness awareness education, primarily geared toward combating childhood obesity.

An all-volunteer organization except for the executive director position, the main role of the Commission is giving time, effort and money back to the county. In the past five years, it has donated over $55,000 to youth organizations, including the Cardinal Shehan Center in Bridgeport, Carver Center in Norwalk and the Stamford Youth Foundation.

The Fairfield County Sports Commission was the brainstorm of Tom Chiappetta, a one-time sports writer who covered the county, and who continues to oversee the Commission as its executive director.

One of the organization’s key components is the Fairfield County Sports Hall of Fame, which is located at the UConn-Stamford campus. The induction ceremony takes place each October at the Commission’s “Sports Night” awards dinner, one of its signature fundraising events.

The Hall of Fame also includes a University of Connecticut wing started in 2007 that honors athletes and coaches from Fairfield County who went on to accomplished sports careers at the state university.

Another highlight of Sports Night is the recognition of the “Sports Person of the Year” in each of the 15 communities the FCSC serves. The Commission has also recognized members of Connecticut Special Olympics and the local sports media.
In addition, the Chelsea Cohen Courage Award honors the memory of a former Norwalk High School athlete who lost her battle with a rare form of cancer in 2006. Former NFL quarterback and Fairfield County native Steve Young’s ‘Forever Young Foundation’ has been the sponsor of the Courage Award since 2008.

For the past three years, the Commission’s major initiative has been its Chelsea Cohen Fitness Academy, which is housed at the Carver Center and is the umbrella program for the entire county. The annual Chelsea Cohen Fitness Academy Jamboree has attracted approximately 500 summer camp kids from a variety of youth organizations and communities in the county.
From 2006-11, the Commission also organized and ran the Park City SportsFest, a free, family-fun event in downtown Bridgeport and Harbor Yard in conjunction with NCAA and MAAC tournaments for men’s and women’s basketball and ice hockey.

This year’s Gold Key recipients are West Haven High School head football coach Ed McCarthy, UConn men’s soccer coach Ray Reid, Branford High School field hockey coach Cathy McGuirk, former Boston Marathon winner Amby Burfoot, and one-time New Britain Rock Cats President and General Manager Bill Dowling.

Other 2014 award winners are: Cheshire girls volleyball coach Sue Bavone and Ansonia football coach Tom Brockett, the Doc McInerney High School Coaches of the Year; Southington senior quarterback Stephen Barmore and sophomore distance runner Hannah DeBalsi of Staples, the Hal Levy High School Athletes of the Year; Matt Harvey of the New York Mets, the Bill Lee Male Athlete of the Year; McKenzie Hollenbaugh, the Hank O’Donnell Female Athlete of the Year; Andrew Haraghey of Enrico Fermi High School and Morgan Bjarno of Glastonbury High, co-recipients of the Bob Casey Courage Award; and the North Haven High School football program, which will receive the inaugural Bo Kolinsky Special Recognition Award.

The CSWA will also present the John Wentworth Good Sport Award to Jason DeCarolis of Bristol, Tim Kulish of Shelton, Fran Slattery of Enfield, Fred Kelly of North Haven, David Dykes from Waterford, and the father-son tandem of Les and Brett Zimmerman from Meriden.

Tickets to the 2014 Gold Key Dinner, which begins at 4 p.m., are $75 and can be purchased by contacting either CSWA President George Albano of The (Norwalk) Hour at (203) 434-2320 or Bob Ehalt of The New Haven Register at Ehalt.Bob@sbcglobal.net. Tickets may also be obtained by sending a check made out to the CSWA to P.O. Box 70, Unionville, CT, 06085.

Additional information on the Gold Key Dinner is available on the Connecticut Sports Writers’ Alliance Facebook page.



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