Barbara Frucht and Beatrice Jennette Awarded Community Service Awards

Barbara Frucht and Beatrice Jennette were both awarded the Groton Utilities Jacqueline B. Nixon Community Service Award during a ceremony at Groton City Day on Friday, August 6th in Washington Park. The award is given out annually to a member of the City of Groton community who exemplifies GU’s slogan of “Giving Back to the Community”. Due to the cancellation of last year’s City Day both the 2020 and 2021 awards were awarded this year.

2021 award winner Barbara Frucht (left) and 2020 winner Beatrice Jennette (right)

As part of winning this honor Groton Utilities presented a check for $1,000 to the Bill Memorial Library in the name of Barbara Frucht, and another check for $1,000 to the S.T.E.P.S. program in the name of Beatrice Jennette.

Beatrice Jennette, the 2020 Community Service Award winner, founded the non­profit, S.T.E.P.S. (Striving Toward Empowering Personal Success) Program in 2007. Beatrice felt that girls in the local community were falling through the cracks and that S.T.E.P.S. could help them build a better life.

Over the years, S.T.E.P.S. has worked with and guided nearly 1000 girls in Groton middle and high schools and eventually in New London and Norwich. S.T.E.P.S. after-school curriculum is a combination of mentoring, life skills training and relevant age appropriate workshops. Many of the former program attendees are now young women enrolled in college who have returned to participate and mentor the younger girls. If not for S.T.E.P.S. many young women may have taken a different path in life.

Barbara Frucht, the 2021 Community Service Award winner, has tirelessly served the City of Groton for the past thirty-five years through various roles.

In 1985 Barbara was appointed to serve as an alternate member on the Zoning Board of Appeals. Barbara was the elected City Treasurer from 1995-1997, and the elected City Clerk from 1997-1999. At completion of her term Barbara was reappointed as a member of the Zoning Board of Appeals.

Barbara volunteers with the Winter Wonderland and actively served with Little League, Farm League and the Babe Ruth League at Washington Park. She worked at the Eastern Point Beach Gatehouse from 2005-2009 and as a crossing guard for the City of Groton Police Department. Barbara has served on the Board of Trustees at the Bill Memorial Library since 2004 where she was elected President and currently serves as Vice-President.

Groton Utilities is pleased to present this award to these deserving citizens for giving back to our community selflessly, sincerely, willingly and with great pride.

Groton Utilities named the award, The Jacqueline B. Nixon Community Service Award, to commemorate Mrs. Nixon’s service to her community. Jackie, as she was known to most, gave back to the community in many ways, including operating a food pantry in her residence for 24 years. She distributed food on a regular basis to many needy families. Jackie passed away July 6, 2004 after a brief battle with cancer. Groton Utilities created the award in 2004 during its 100th anniversary year.

Earle A. Williams was the recipient of the first annual Jacqueline B. Nixon Community Service Award. Other winners of the award are: Robert Leeney, Mimi Orkney, Lillian Hansen, Sarah Stanley, William Welsh, Jr., Alfred Restivo, Robert Austin LaFrance, Archie C. Swindell, Mildred Carlson, Lian Obrey, James Streeter, Charlie Ebbinghaus, Marcia Gipstein, Martin Cloudas and Timothy LeHouillier.

2019 Community Service Award Winner Announced

From left to right, Scott Boyle, Tod Evers, Tim LeHouillier, Mayor Keith Hedrick and Dan Bouges

At “City of Groton Day” this past Friday Groton Utilities presented the 2019 Jacqueline B. Nixon Community Service Award to Timothy LeHouillier for his volunteer contributions to the Greater Groton Community.

Tim was given the award for his outstanding efforts over the years as a volunteer at the Center Groton Volunteer Fire Department as well for a noteworthy commitment to assisting those in need in his neighborhood. Tim loves to help people, works hard and always tries to lift the spirits of those around him.

Tim is of great help to the elderly in his neighborhood, assisting in cleaning up yards, planting gardens, splitting wood and plowing snow from their driveways, free of charge. Tim will often plow driveways at 5:00 a.m. so that people can get out of their driveways. He also volunteers at the Center Groton Volunteer Fire Department while also serving on its board. Additionally, he was instrumental in painting the firehouse in order to save money as well as assist the other volunteers.

In Tim’s honor Groton Utilities donated $1,000 to the John E. Boyle Jr. Memorial Scholarship Fund. Representing the Scholarship Fund were Scott Boyle and Tod Evers, who received the check at the ceremony. City of Groton Mayor Keith Hedrick and Groton Utilities Manager of Communications and Community Outreach Dan Bouges hosted the ceremony and gave out the community service award and charity donation.

The Jacqueline B. Nixon Community Service Award is given out annually by Groton Utilities at City of Groton Day to honor a member of the community who has contributed his or her time, energy and resources to make the community a better place in which to live and work.

The award is named in honor of Jacqueline B. Nixon to commemorate her service to the community she loved so much. Jackie operated a food pantry in her residence for 24 years, distributing food to those in need. The winner of this award is someone who should contribute to the community and should be someone who others would describe as generous, committed, caring, and most of all someone who performs a “service” for the community. Tim LeHouillier embodies all of these attributes and therefore Groton Utilities is proud and honored to present him with this award as well contribute to his charity of choice.

Community Service Award Presented to Marcia R. Gipstein

Marcia R. Gipstein is the recipient of the 2017 Jacqueline B. Nixon Community Service Award for her many years of “Giving Back to the Community”.  The award was presented at the annual City of Groton Day celebration on August 4.

A check for $1,000 was presented to the Ledge Light Foundation Inc. in her honor. The charitable donation from Groton Utilities is the symbol of the award.Marcia Gipstein with Award

From 2008 to the present, Gipstein has been a major force and volunteer in the community effort to keep Ledge Light local. In nominating his wife for the award, Todd Gipstein, who is President of the Ledge Light Foundation, said that, while she is a transplant to Groton, “Marcia has embraced the community, helped Eastern Point, and been one of the driving forces behind the restoration and use of Ledge Light, a beloved local landmark.”

“For eight (8) years, she has often put in 40-hours a week (all volunteer) helping restore the light, create the museum inside the lighthouse, and run tours,” he explained.

Todd says that Marcia was the driving force behind the lighthouse’s 2009 Centennial Gala.  That event drew 220 people and raised enough money to commission important studies, start the museum and allow the Foundation to begin serous restoration work.

Groton Utilities named the award, The Jacqueline B. Nixon Community Service Award, to commemorate Mrs. Nixon’s service to her community. Jackie, as she was known to most, gave back to the community in many ways, including operating a food pantry in her residence for 24 years.  She distributed food on a regular basis to many needy families.  Jackie passed away July 6, 2004 after a brief battle with cancer.  Groton Utilities created the award in 2004 during its 100th anniversary year.

In 2009, Marcia was the driving force behind the lighthouse’s Centennial gala, which drew 220 people and raised enough money to commission important studies to start the museum and begin serious restoration work.

Ledge Light LogoFor the past nine (9) years, she has been on the Ledge Light Foundation Board of Directors, serving as its treasurer.  Her involvement has also included all the preservation work on the light, writing grants, creating the gift shop. She has also been in charge of tour guides, tour scheduling and been a guide herself.

Marcia co-wrote the application for ownership of the light when the federal government offered it to a non-profit.  This was a joint effort with the New London Maritime Society to keep Ledge Light local.  The result was successful.

Her other volunteer efforts include serving as co-president of the Eastern Point Property Owners Association from 2007-2012 and contributing her time and energy helping on various projects such as the annual block party. She has been a member of the Eastern Point Historical Commission since 2009, helping to keep the Eastern Point neighborhood an historical gem.

Earle A. Williams was the recipient of the first annual Jacqueline B. Nixon Community Service Award.  Other winners of the award are: Robert “Bob” Leeney, Mimi

Orkney, Lillian “Lil” Hansen, Sarah Stanley, William “Bill” Welsh, Jr., Alfred Restivo, Robert “Bob” Austin LaFrance, Archie C. Swindell, Mildred “Milly” Carlson, Lian Obrey, James “Jim” Streeter and Charlie Ebbinghaus.