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Thursday, September 20 News

Community Soundings: 9/11 memorial service Tuesday; $34K grant awarded to Pacific House

9/11 memorial service Tuesday

Darien’s Monuments and Ceremonies Commission invites the public, first responders and town officials to an 8:30 a.m. memorial service Tuesday at the 9/11 monument, located on the grassy area behind Middlesex Middle School on Hollow Tree Ridge Road.

Carved into the granite stone is the inscription, “May We Never Forget,” with the date “September 11, 2001.” The memorial is flanked by two tall trees on either side symbolizing the twin towers. Phil Kraft, former chairman of the Monuments and Ceremonies Commission has agreed to conduct this ceremony.

An Eagle Scout project conceived, funded and installed by then-Darien High School freshman Josh Doying who belonged to Boy Scout Troop 53, the memorial was dedicated on Sept. 11, 2003.

After the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, citizens displayed the American flag everywhere. Doying cut out a flag from the newspaper and taped it to his bedroom wall. He noticed how it faded and he was concerned the memory of this tragedy might fade as well.

Doying wanted an enduring memorial and selected the location so that students would see the stone and ask about its meaning.

Doying drew the plans, approached then -First Selectman Bob Harrell and the Monuments and Ceremonies Commission for approval, raised the funds and oversaw the installation of the project. Doying even left a residual fund so that the trees could be replaced if necessary.

Everyone is encouraged to attend this year’s ceremony.

$34K grant awarded to Pacific House

Pacific House received a grant from the Community Fund of Darien in the amount of $34,000. These funds will support the Pacific House emergency shelter, and the organization’s efforts to provide safe shelter to homeless men while getting them back to self-sufficiency as quickly as possible.

“We thank the Community Fund of Darien for their generous gift and continued support,” said Rafael Pagan Jr., Pacific House’s executive director. “This grant will go a long way in helping those that are experiencing homelessness to have a warm, safe place to sleep and the support they need to take steps towards rebuilding their lives.”

In 2017, Pacific House aided 335 clients, served almost 50,000 meals and provided roughly 20,000 shelter stays.

Pacific House is the only regional men’s emergency shelter, serving Greenwich, Stamford, New Canaan, Darien and the rest of Fairfield County. Since 1982 the organization has served 1 million meals, provided over 850,000 bed-nights, secured housing for 1,500 people, and secured employment for 3,700 clients.

Sport shop to donate portion of sales to agency

Through the end of September, Darien Sport Shop will donate a percentage of sales in their children’s department to Family & Children’s Agency as part of their “Back to ... Community” promotion.

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Darien Sport Shop and their customers will help FCA continue to serve more than 13,000 of our neighbors in need each year through high-quality services for children, families, adults, and seniors.

For Darien Sport Shop President Gina Zangrillo, working with FCA runs in the family. Her mother, Yolanda, was an active volunteer for Children’s Aid, an auxiliary of FCA. Zangrillo remembers spending time with her siblings and mother sorting donated items for the organization’s tag sale fundraiser.

“My mother cared deeply about this community and she was passionate about the work FCA does. Now, more than 40 years later, I’m thrilled to be able to support FCA as well,” Gina said.

“We are so proud to be teaming up with Darien Sport Shop — an incredible long-time member of the Darien community and dedicated supporter of our work,” said Rob Cashel, president and CEO of FCA.

3rd turtle fatality prompts renewed call for boater awareness

With a third sea turtle killed by a boat in six weeks in Long Island Sound, the Maritime Aquarium at Norwalk is again urging boaters to slow down and be aware of the endangered animals.

A dead loggerhead sea turtle was found on Aug. 29 on Long Beach in Stratford with apparent propeller slashes in its shell.

This death follows similar fatal boat strikes of loggerheads discovered off Norwalk’s Sheffield Island on Aug. 9 and in Stratford on July 15.

“Three turtle deaths in the Sound is highly unusual — and completely unacceptable,” said Dr. David Hudson, research scientist for the Maritime Aquarium. “Boaters need to know that, as Long Island Sound’s water quality improves, animals like sea turtles and dolphins and even humpback whales are returning. And so boaters can no longer race around the Sound at full throttle but only at half attention.”

Hudson recommended boaters reduce their speeds, especially in comparatively shallower waters and anywhere near sea grasses, where some turtles feed. He discouraged the use of autopilot and encouraged assigning a passenger to serve as a spotter.

Four species of sea turtles may visit the Sound in the summer: loggerhead and green, which are both listed as threatened; and Kemp’s ridley (the smallest sea turtle) and leatherback (the largest), both endangered.

Sea turtles are most vulnerable to boat collisions when they come to the surface to breathe and/or warm themselves in the sun — they are cold-blooded. At the surface, Hudson said, the turtles are least able to make avoidance maneuvers.

If a boat strike occurs, or if an injured or dead turtle is found, boaters should call Mystic Aquarium, which is the federally designated responder to marine mammal and sea turtles strandings and entanglements in Connecticut.

The number is 860-572-5955, ext. 107.

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