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U.S. Rep. Courtney is Chamber Breakfast Guest

Longtime arts advocate Joyce Kirkpatrick will also receive the chamber's Governor William O’Neill Service Award.

The season of autumn officially begins on Friday, so let us keep in mind the great things that our county has to offer during this wonderful time of year. Since we are lucky to be able to enjoy the sights of the vibrant fall foliage, we should all be sure to get outside and enjoy this scenery.

What better way is there to enjoy the outdoors than at the Durham Fair? It runs Sept. 22-25.

The Durham Fair is not only a flagship event of our state, but of our region. Each year, it attracts a crowd measured in the thousands.  What makes this event unbelievable is that the fair is the largest fair in North America that operates entirely from the efforts of volunteers

Big thanks goes to Gene Chiappetta, Durham Agricultural Fair Association president, and his entire volunteer staff for the months of hard work to prepare for this event. I am certain that the fair will be a great success this year and I wish these individuals well this weekend.

Whether it is for the food, the concerts, the hundreds of competitive exhibits, livestock or rides and more, there is something here to entice every member of the family.

This morning, the chamber and its members are excited to welcome U.S. Congressman Joe Courtney, D-2nd, to its member breakfast meeting this morning in Cromwell. Rep. Courtney has always been a big supporter of this chamber and Middlesex County.

Also this morning, the chamber will honor an outstanding member of the community in Joyce Kirkpatrick of Middletown. She has earned our Gov. William O’Neill Service Award.

The chamber has presented this award each year since 2002 to a person who has performed outstanding public service for the citizens of Connecticut. The award is named after Gov. O’Neill because he dedicated himself to public service for the citizens of Connecticut during his tenure as a state legislator and governor.

Of the many nominees that we had for this distinction, Joyce was the right choice because of her great commitment to many organizations in the Middletown area that benefit the city.

Joyce and her husband, Bob, were active in the Middletown chapter of the American Field Service that fostered a student exchange program of students from both Middletown and Woodrow Wilson High schools.  This program sent these students abroad and brought in students from foreign countries.

Joyce was appointed to the city of Middletown’s original Commission on the Arts, where she has served in various capacities. Among other things, in the past 38 years she has seen the development of the city’s Office of the Arts, the MCA’s competitive grants program, the City Art collection, the summer Kids’ Arts and Circus programs, various workshops and the monthly calendar that has just been relaunched in a new format as www.Arts2Go

Joyce completed her second term as chair of the Commission on the Arts in August.

There are a host of other associations and organizations that Joyce has led, and we will learn more about her accomplishments this morning at the breakfast meeting.

While we celebrate Joyce today, last week was a celebration of the life of Dr. Edmund Gubbins, who passed away last week. Ed was a great man who was on my staff for over 10 years at the Chamber; there was not one person who did not like Ed. 

Other than working at the Chamber, he was an alderman in Ansonia, spent 12 years as selectman in East Haddam, and he was on many boards and served his community throughout his life. He will certainly be missed by many people.

Finally, I would like to thank Pro Physical Therapy/Orthopedic Associates of Middletown for hosting a great Business After Work event for us last week with 200 of our chamber members. Also last week, Suburban Stationers of Middletown hosted its second-annual expo event at the company’s location on Stack Street. Dave Shulman and Ray Bourret do a terrific job of leading this company and I would like to congratulate them for another successful event.

For information, contact Matt Fraulino at matthew@middlesexchamber.com or (860) 347-6924.

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