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.