Every December, CVEF bestows the Howard Kelley Community Service Award upon a worthy resident of our community. The award honors the memory of Howard Kelley, one of our founders and the first Superintendent of Schools in District 13. 

Kelley was committed to ongoing lifelong learning and selfless commitment to our community. Past award winners include Christine Willett, elementary teacher and founder of After the Storm, which benefits women with breast cancer with an annual fundraising sale of creatively (and outrageously!) decorated bras; Susan Michael, high school educator and environmental activist; Robin Heath, outstanding Boy Scout leader; Sarah Atwell — nurse, breast cancer survivor, and rejuvenator of the Durham Historical Society; and Bernadette Basiel, who has been an important figure in the success of Durham Middlefield Youth & Family Services (DMYFS).

The 2016 award ceremony/reception was held on Thursday, December 8th at the festively decorated Indian Springs Golf Club in Middlefield.  CVEF conferred its 2016 award upon a duo, community residents Bill Gleuck and Hugh McKutchen,  volunteers for Trout in the Classroom, an after-school educational program at Memorial Middle School sponsored by the Hammonasset Chapter of Trout Unlimited.  Participating classrooms are initially equipped with trout-rearing tanks. Under Hugh and Bill’s benevolent guidance, students raise trout from the egg to the fry stage, then release the fry into the Coginchaug River at Wadsworth State Park. The program is designed not simply to teach students about the trout life cycle, but also to impress upon them the importance of a clean environment, and inspire them to become stewards of the natural world.  Former Memorial principal Kevin Brough, who nominated Bill and Hugh for the award and introduced them at the reception, talked about their knowledge, enthusiasm, and rapport with students. Their  program is dedicated to the memory of Jonathan Howe, son of Durham residents Simone and Clay Howe.

Fifty people attended, includingHoward Kelley’s widow Renee; CVEF volunteers;  the awardees, along with friends and family members; former Kelley Award winners Bernadette Basiel, Sue Michael, and Robin Heath; and District 13 Superintendent of Schools Kathryn Veronesi.

We seek nominations for the Howard Kelley Award all year long. Please submit your suggestions (along with a brief supporting statement) to Merrill Adams: merrilladams@comcast.net.

Former Memorial principal Kevin Brough with Hugh McKutchen and Bill Gleuck.

Former Memorial principal Kevin Brough with Hugh McKutchen and Bill Gleuck.