Preview: Picturing Branford's Volunteers

Branford Cares highlighting their efforts in tonight's photo opening.


Chet Blomquist (pictured above) may be familiar to many in Branford as a tireless conservationist involved with Branford River preservation efforts. He's done so much to keep Branford clean that last June 4 was declared "Chet Day."

Tonight, he's one of 25 Branford residents who will be recognized for their volunteer efforts tonight at Woodwinds. The photo showing Blomquist in his native habitat will be set alongside those of other recognizable Branford residents, part of a portrait series by photographer Richard Esposito. The event is supported by a silent auction.

"Branford Community Volunteer Recognition" is one of the first major showcases this summer for Branford Cares, the community organization seeking to to combat poverty in Branford.

"I wanted to do a peronsal project," Esposito told Patch. His wife, on the vestry at Trinity Episcopal Church, contacted Rev. Sharon Gracen, a major organizer of Branford Cares. They hatched the idea of an event that would recognize Branford's volunteers through photo portraits.

Eunice LaSala provided Esposito with a list of suggestions for portraits. He said some people told him they didn't want the recognition -- they were happy just to be able to volunteer.

"Then I'd mention Eunice's name," he said. "And they'd say yes."

Organizers tried to attract a diverse crowd. Subjects range from residents with decades of experience serving the community to the next generation, including 8th-grade Compassion Club volunteer Meaghan Hayes.

The full list of subjects includes:

  • Chief Jack Ahern
  • Susan Barnes
  • Charlie Andriole
  • Robert Babcock
  • Chet Blomquist
  • Jeff Clark
  • Nicole Domorod
  • Bill Donaruma
  • Betty Ann Donegan
  • Chris Edmunds
  • Robert Gill
  • Maryann Hall
  • Mary and Matt Hally
  • Meaghan Hayes
  • Bill Horne
  • Wayne Jacobson
  • Betsy Klarman
  • Kattie Konno-Leonffu
  • Rick Mahoney
  • Charlotte Mattei
  • Catherine Seibyl
  • Melaine Trecoske
  • Frank Twohill
  • Jeff Vailette
  • Martha Link Walsh

The event runs at the Woodwinds from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Monday night. Tickets are $45 and are still available through the event's website.


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