Special OlympicsAs part of the Fairfield County Sports Commission’s 3rd Annual Sports Night awards dinner, the Sports Commission and Patriot National Bank jointly created a Special Olympics Sports Person of the Year award that is presented annually to a county resident at the Sports Night event.

The first recipient was Trumbull’s Nancy Dennin, a longtime volunteer and Special Olympics board member.

This award goes to the person who consistently works to further the mission ofSpecial Olympics in Fairfield County. Patriot National Bank sponsors the award, which coincides with the Sports Commission’s 15 Sports Persons of the Year that are handed out at Sports Night each year to recognize one person inPatriot National Bank each of the communities the Sports Commission oversees for having a positive impact on that town’s sports activities.

Click on the tabs below to see the Special Olympics Sports Persons of the Year Award recipients from each year.

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Todrin, Maya

2013 SOAIt took two years of hard work and dedication for Stamford’s Maya Todrin to reach a new level of her game. The Winston Preparatory School student has been selected to represent Connecticut at the 2014 Special Olympics USA Games in New Jersey, June 14-21, 2014 where she will compete with her doubles partner in Unified tennis. Special Olympics Unified Sports® brings athletes with and without intellectual disabilities together to play sports, gain physical fitness, develop friendships and demonstrate appreciation and respect for each other both on and off the playing field.

Over the last two years, Todrin has trained and competed in tennis with the Darien Lions Club local Special Olympics program. This summer she won a gold medal in Unified doubles at Special Olympics Connecticut’s Summer Games in New Haven. She is excited to participate in the USA Games in the company of peers from 52 Special Olympics programs across the country!

She loves tennis, competition and also enjoys supporting and cheering for her fellow teammates. For Todrin, the best part of participating in Special Olympics is competing in a meaningful way, without any judgment. Special Olympics has brought tennis back into her life and allows her to be a part of a team. She resides in Stamford with her parents.
Stamford

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Harris, Richard

2010 SOAThe 2010 recipient is Westport’s Richard Harris, a longtime coordinator of the Westport program.

Harris has been involved with the Special Olympics since 1997, serving as local coordinator in Westport. In addition to recruiting and supervising coaches and volunteers, he has built a floundering program into one that consistently provides local, regional and statewide competition to a growing roster of athletes. Harris, who has a daughter in the program, cites the competitive drive and joy of the athletes and their support of each other as the reasons that he loves the Special Olympics.
Westport

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Kurimai, Mark

2009 SOAThe 2009 recipient is Norwalk’s Mark Kurimai, a longtime volunteer and founder of the Norwalk program.

Kurimai founded the Norwalk Special Olympics program in 1980 and has been running it for the past 29 years. He built the program from 12 athletes in the first year, to 30 athletes, 20 Unified Partners and a host of volunteers. In 1999, he received a Coach of the Year award from Connecticut Special Olympics and his team received Best Locals Program recognition. Kurimai is a former University of Connecticut soccer player.
Norwalk

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Ciccone, Gary

2008 SOAThe 2008 recipient is Greenwich’s Gary Ciccone, a longtime volunteer and head coordinator for the Greenwich program.

His team is comprised of 75 athletes who range in age from 8 to 54 with intellectual and/or physical challenges. The Greenwich program offers swimming, track and field, figure and speed skating and golf, and is founded on the belief that people who are challenged, can with proper instruction and encouragement, learn, enjoy and benefit from participation in individual, unified and team sports.

 Ciccone has been a volunteer for Special Olympics for the past eighteen years. He began his involvement in the program, first as a supporter of his daughter Kimberly who is an athlete and then, following in the footsteps of his other children Brian and Dayna, as a coach. For the past 10 years he has served as the Head Coordinator for Greenwich Special Olympics.
Greenwich

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Dennin, Nancy

 2007 SOADennin has been a volunteer for Special Olympics Connecticut since 1985 and in 1999 she was inducted, along with her family into the Special Olympics Connecticut Hall of Fame as Family of the Year. Nancy currently serves on the Special Olympics Connecticut Board of Directors and is the chairperson of the Program Committee. In the past she has served as Assistant Director of the Southwest Area Games, the golf coach for the Trumbull team, and the State Golf Tournament Director of Scoring.

She has also served on the committees for the Penguin Plunge, SOCT’s largest fundraiser, the Kristine Lilly Awards which honor women of distinction in different fields, and the Southwest Golf Tournament. Special Olympics are a family affair for the Dennins. Nancy’s husband Joe is a former board member and runs the State Golf program and their son David is a Special Olympics Athlete who has competed at both National and World Games Events. The Dennins’ devotion to individuals with intellectual disabilities extends beyond Special Olympics and they were recently honored as Volunteers of the Year by the Kennedy Center in Trumbull.
Trumbull