WINSTED — It was a celebration of legacies, volunteerism, and doing good for the town as the Winchester Democratic Town Committee (DTC) presented its Legacy Award Recognition Program on Sunday, May 23 at Little Red Barn Brewery.
According to Mayor Candy Perez, the ceremony did not have anything to do with politics or political parties.
“It’s about honoring people who have done a lot for our community,” Mayor Perez said in an interview before the ceremony. “It’s about the service that people have given to us. Winsted thrives because of our volunteerism, including the people who help our kids, the elderly, and gives us general support of people in town. It is extraordinary to be able to give your free time to help others. A lot of people have obligations, but they take it upon themselves to give more to others. They never look for recognition, but they always give themselves to help others.”
Two surprise honorees at the event were longtime town clerk Sheila Sedlack and her husband, Selectman Steven Sedlack, who has been on the board of selectmen and the W.L. Gilbert School Trust for several years.
Earlier this year, Sheila Sedlack announced that she will not be running again for town clerk and would retire in December.
Steven Sedlack has not yet announced whether or not he will run again for office this November.
“Along the way, when I was working as the secretary of state, I had a chance to work with Sheila who did a tremendous job,” Lt. Gov. Susan Bysiewicz said. “The town clerk is the first place you need in the town. A lot of people don’t know where to start when it comes to getting information. You have to start with the town clerk. Sheila knows so much about the town’s history and cares deeply about the town. I am also here to say thank you to Steve as well because he was teaching and serving on the Board of Education, serving at The Gilbert School, and being a selectman. The governor and I want to thank you both for your amazing service.”
Mayor Perez announced that the DTC has established a legacy award for the Sedlacks.
“To me, Steven and Sheila are Winsted,” Mayor Perez said.
Congressman John Larson (D-1) was in attendance at the award ceremony and spoke about Winsted, and community service.
“President Kennedy once said that communities reveal a lot about themselves and the people that they are with the memorials they create,” Congressman Larson said. “I think that Winsted, in a large part, stands prouder and taller because they come together as a community. Not as Democrats, Republicans, or unaffiliated, but you come together as Americans. You all have so much to be proud of.”
Lara Green-Kazlauskas received the Anna Harding Community Service Award for her continued service to the community through her various works in the community including, but not limited to, the Laurel Commission, photography for various school and community projects, art donations for fundraisers, Doors of Winsted project, Western Tourism Agency Representative, and Architectural Review Board.
Charles “Skip” Marsh received the Jose Cevallos Youth Service Award posthumously for his many years of serving the youth of the community as a tireless Recreation Commission member, coach and advocate for youth. He served on the town’s Civil Service Commission and could always be found pitching in when needed.
David Sartirana received the Joseph Barber Citizenship Award for his work for the community through his many service projects and board affiliations. David has been Chief of The Winsted Fire Department, regularly donates through his business Northwest Reality to local organizations, participates in and raises funds for Freezin’ for A Reason, Special Olympics Polar Plunge among many contributions.
Arnold “Skip” Travaglin received the John Groppo Good Government Award posthumously for his years of service to the community as a former Board of Selectmen, Charter Member of Winsted Ambulance, Grand Knight, Winsted Elk, and other various committees and projects he served on. He was a coach of youth football and baseball in town. He was the owner of Travaglin Racing Team often using the car to collect toys for Christmas Donations to kids.
Sarah Lauretti -Toomey received a Special Friend of the Community Award for her tireless work for those with food insecurity in our community by founding the Little Pantry and coordinating meals and volunteers every day for the needy during the COVID pandemic. She is someone people in the community turn to for help when needed. Sarah works professionally for Greenwoods counseling.