Community Fund hosts cocktail party

On Oct. 11, the Community Fund of Darien hosted its annual donor celebration at the home of board member Heather and husband Todd Raker. The event brought together community members who have worked hard over the past year to improve and build upon The Community Fund of Darien’s goals. Speaking at the event was the new Executive Director Janet King, who touched upon the fund’s future mission as “same dream, new team.”

More than 100 people, comprising of board members, donors and members of the high school youth asset team, braved the rain and wind. Among those guests was Darien’s state Rep. Terrie Wood, who said, “The Community Fund works tirelessly to organize those who want to donate, with opportunities for recipients so our community can come together to support the causes that matter most.”

This past year, the Community Fund of Darien held a road race with upwards of 400 participants. It has launched a new updated website and doubled their youth volunteer program to more than 100 participants. Most importantly, it has funded 28 local nonprofits and issued more than $600,000 in grants, achieving a 12 percent increase since last year thanks to the support of many in attendance.

To contact the community fund, volunteer or donate please visit

Larcheveque named as EMS-Post 53 executive director

Darien EMS-Post 53 announced that Joe Larcheveque has been named executive director, effective Oct. 1. Larcheveque is the ninth person to serve as director in Post 53’s 48-year history and the first paid executive director of the volunteer ambulance service.

He comes to Post 53 from Stamford EMS, where he was director of training for more than 25 years. He has also served as Post 53’s clinical advisor for quality assurance and training since 1995. Larcheveque was welcomed to Post 53 by Jay Wood, chairman of the board and additional board members at a ceremony on Sept. 23.

In his quality assurance role, Larcheveque has reviewed patient outcomes in the emergency room following pre-hospital care to evaluate the diagnosis and subsequent treatment, and to determine how Post 53 can improve future treatment in similar emergencies.

“We are so pleased to welcome Joe in this role as our first paid Executive Director,” said Wood. “Having someone with his expertise and training leading the organization full-time is yet another step in our continued evolution, building on all that Nancy Herling has achieved over the last three years volunteering in the role. This is a great testament to how our community relies on Post 53 and we’re proud to meet that challenge.”

Herling stepped down as director on Oct. 1. Herling served as a member of Post 53 during her high school years at Darien High School and rejoined again in 2007. She is an EMT, EMS instructor, a CPR instructor, ambulance driver, member of the Post 53 Board, and for the past three years has served as the director.

Talk on ‘Long Island Sound: A User’s Guide’

The Darien Community Association Women’s Luncheons will feature Dick Woods on “Long Island Sound: A User’s Guide” for their luncheon on Nov. 6 at 12:15 p.m. at the DCA.

Dick and Robin Woods have been exploring the waters and shores of Long Island Sound for over a half-century, both by boat and by car. As a native Californian, he was struck by Long Island Sound’s more user-friendly nature. What it lacks in spectacular vistas and awe-inspiring force it more than makes up for with its quiet beauty, accessibility and many treasures for the day-tripper or cruising sailor. It is his favorites among these which Dick will highlight: from inns and museums, to restaurants, views and harbors.

Men are welcome, too. Lunch will be provided by Michael Joseph’s Catering.

The event is $35 per person, or $20 for DCA members, and includes lunch. Payment for this event is required by noon on Nov. 5, and can be made online at, or by contacting the DCA at 203-655-9050 ext. 10. The DCA is located at 274 Middlesex Road in Darien.

$18K grant supports bird sanctuary

The Darien Foundation has awarded $18,500 to the Darien Community Association to fund improvements in the 4-acre bird sanctuary on its Middlesex Road property. These include a pondless waterfall for the birds and butterflies, as well as additional trees, benches and equipment.

This second round of grant funding will improve the sanctuary’s ability to attract birds via the availability of cascading water (now installed), and the new trees will provide additional cover and food. These new features will also enhance the visitor experience, as the sanctuary is open daily to the public to enjoy from sunrise to sundown.

After extensive planning, consultation with experts and with funding from the DCA board of directors, DCA volunteers launched work on the bird sanctuary in 2011: clearing invasive plants, establishing walking trails, and planting native bushes attractive to bees and butterflies. The goal was to build a successful, authentic bird sanctuary and native plant garden, with shelter, food, water and nesting sites for birds — so that the DCA could play a part in helping to restore native plant and declining bird populations, while also providing the community a beautiful open space as well as an opportunity for wildlife and conservation education.

The DCA Bird Sanctuary is child-friendly and features well-laid winding trails and numerous educational features and activities for children, including a stump walk and rock spiral. The DCA has hosted over 200 school-aged children on sanctuary tours, in addition to numerous adult groups.