The Darien Republican Town Committee, along with First Selectman Jayme Stevenson and Selectmen Dave Campbell and Jerry Nielsen, hosted its inaugural thank-you barbecue on June 7.

The event recognized 28 volunteers, who, in total, have served more than 300 years on various elected and appointed boards and commissions as well as other volunteer organizations in Darien.

The honorees included Karen Armour, Harry Artinian, Bob Baker, Amy Bell, Bob Bewkes, Karen Brennan, Vin Burke, Fred Conze, Charlie Goodyear, Susan Graham, Norm Guimond, Peter Hillman, Reese Hutchison, Joi Reiner Gallo, Pete Kenyon, Bob Locke, Jon Olmsted, Jack Rearden, Linda Santarella, Janet Sargent, Jenny Schwartz, Don Smith, Murry Stegelmann, Al Tibbetts, Mike Tone, Mike Wallace, Kim Westcott and Christine Wood.

Stevenson, Selectman Dave Campbell and RTC Chairman Jim Palen thanked each volunteer, including personal stories and tributes, to the almost 100 people who turned out for the event at the Weed Beach paddle hut.

"We are honored to have such a broad base of Republican volunteers who work tirelessly on Darien's boards and commissions. We owe them our appreciation and gratitude," Palen said.

Stevenson added, "It takes hundreds of dedicated volunteers, regardless of political affiliation, to support the smooth functioning of our local government. Dave, Jerry and I are so pleased to begin a new tradition of appropriately thanking our fellow Republicans and the RTC for all the good they do for the town of Darien."

Peter Hillman, former chairman of the Environmental Protection Commission, gave a speech at the end of the evening in which he said, "I presume to speak on behalf of all the honorees tonight to thank the RTC, Jayme, Dave, and Jerry for making this evening possible. It's a wonderful occasion to thank those who have served across all spectrums of town government.

"I remember at the end of 1 a.m. meetings, wondering why are we doing this, and we agreed it's because of the collegiality of it all. We enjoyed giving back, we enjoyed working with all our colleagues, from both sides of the aisle, to make the town a better place."

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