First Selectman Mike Tetreau announced that the 2016 Fairfielder and Employee of the Year winners were honored at yesterday's Board of Selectmen meeting in Independence Hall.
For the past 13 years, the Board of Selectmen has conducted these annual awards to highlight the many dedicated and talented residents and Town employees who go above and beyond to make Fairfield a special community. Each fall, citizens and employees of the Town of Fairfield are encouraged to nominate an individual who they feel is deserving of the award.
Pequot Library Board of Trustees member, Doug Fried, received the Fairfielder of the Year award. Mr. Fried has been a volunteer for the Pequot Library Book Sale since 1992, and has been chair or co-chair for at least 15 years. Twenty-six people nominated Mr. Fried for his outstanding contributions.
Police Lieutenant Jim Perez was chosen as this year’s Employee of the Year. Betty Gabriel from the Conservation Department, Josephine Keogh from the Town Plan and Zoning Department, and Laura Pulie from the Engineering Department nominated Lt. Perez.
The winners’ names have been added to a plaque which lists the names of all previous winners and the year they received their award. The plaque hangs in the entryway of Independence Hall.
Fairfielder of the Year:
The primary criteria for this award are personal time, energy and service to the residents of Fairfield that make a positive difference. The following criteria are also important factors: outstanding volunteer commitment that benefits an individual, group or the entire Fairfield community; unique achievement that benefits the community; a model citizen who reflects the positive values of the Town of Fairfield; and exceptional personal qualities, including, but not limited to leadership, initiative, reliability, integrity, and cooperation and spirit.
As Fairfielder of the Year, Doug Fried fits all the award criteria and more. Even with his
full-time job, one which sends him around the world on business trips, he volunteers seven days a week, in the mornings before going to work, in the late afternoons and early evenings on his way home and every weekend too. He is always cheerful, good-humored, hard-working, and positive.
Books are donated daily to Pequot Library for its fundraising Book Sales. Pequot Library relies on these Book Sales for much needed funding. Mr. Fried has expert knowledge of book values and book sale trends, and under his leadership helped develop the Black Friday/Saturday Book Sale and other Book Sale fundraising initiatives, including the Mid-Winter Book Sale, February 18 – 19, 2017 and the year-round Lobby Book Sale. He is a tireless and inspiring leader of a core committee of 20 year-round Book Sale volunteers and 100 Summer Book Sale volunteers. Mr. Fried hand-picks specials for the Book Sales and creates a catalog of hundreds of items.
Stephanie J. Coakley, Executive Director at Pequot Library says, “I’d like to thank the Town of Fairfield for bestowing this well-deserved award on Doug Fried. We are humbled that he gives so much of his time and support to Pequot Library. We applaud the other nominees and are grateful to live in a town in which volunteerism warrants its own award. Pequot Library’s Summer Book Sale has grown over 57 years from a tiny, one shelf lobby book sale into one of New England’s biggest and best. Much of this is due to Doug Fried’s heroic volunteer efforts.”
She added, “There will be a Prospective Book Sale Volunteer Coffee on Saturday, January 7, 2017 from 10:00am - 11:30am at Pequot Library for anyone interested in learning more about how to become a Book Sale Volunteer at Pequot Library.”
Employee of the Year:
The primary criteria for this award are service and job performance that go above and beyond the daily work of the individual and also benefits the Fairfield government and community. Additional criteria include: performing the job exceptionally well; reliability; initiative; integrity; judgment; cooperation and spirit; outstanding public service; and unique contributions to improve government services.
As Employee of the Year, Lt. Jim Perez has dedicated the last 25 years helping to serve and protect the public in various roles such as Public Affairs Officer; Commander of the Special Services Division; FBI and DEA task force member; 14-year S.W.A.T. team member; and a D.A.R.E. program instructor.
Lt. Perez is a consultant and trainer for The National Crime Prevention Council in Washington D.C. He
has trained staff at Columbia University and Law Enforcement Officers from Northern Ireland, Australia, Nicaragua and throughout the United States. Lt. Perez teaches Identity Theft and Scam awareness to community groups. He has appeared on NBC's Dateline regarding scams geared toward senior citizens and has been featured in The New York Times for workplace violence prevention.
In her nomination form, town employee Betty Gabriel stated, “Not only do we work in a safer and more secure environment as a result of Lt. Perez's efforts, the training and skills he has provided also extends to our personal lives. His professional and friendly manner is also one of integrity and cooperation, always willing to provide assistance when asked. We are a very fortunate community and so very grateful to have Lt. James Perez in our corner.”
First Selectman Tetreau said, “There’s no better way to start the holiday season than to show our community’s appreciation to those who go above and beyond to make a positive difference for Fairfield. These awards are a popular and rewarding town tradition that recognize so many wonderful and devoted residents and employees.”
He continued, “Doug Fried is most deserving of this award. He is the heart and soul of Pequot Library and a true champion of what is widely regarded as ‘The Best Book Sale in New England.’ His outstanding and tireless contributions make our community proud. I’m also very pleased that Lt. Perez has been recognized for his invaluable service and impressive background. Whether he is providing safety recommendations for our schools or educating our senior community about common scams, Lt. Perez always maintains a highly professional, very approachable and friendly demeanor that in addition to all of Fairfield’s finest helps make our community appreciate our law enforcement officers even more.”
The photos show First Selectman Mike Tetreau and Selectman Chris Tymniak congratulating this year’s winners—Doug Fried and Lt. Jim Perez. Selectman Tymniak read comments submitted by former Selectman Laurie McArdle who was not able to attend the meeting. She had been a member of the Board when winners were selected.
Photo Credit for Fairfielder of the Year: Adair W. Heitmann, Director of Communications, Pequot Library