Everyone knows Patty Kondub. And everyone loves Patty Kondub.
But she’s one of those people who everyone kind of takes for granted.
We shouldn’t. Which is why Patty Kondub is this week’s Unsung Hero.
Patty is many things. A 1981 Staples High School graduate — and proud University of Connecticut alum — she’s worked for the Westport Weston Family Y for 30 years.
Members flock to her Aquafit classes. She works hard at researching and preparing lessons. But she always welcomes members with a smile, then makes every class fun. One day she’ll wear a costume; the next day she’ll announce a game.
When someone is sick, she brings a card for the class to sign. She sings “Happy Birthday” (a lot!). Whenever she sees a news story about a class member — a new book they’ve written, a promotion, or just a brief mention — she tells everyone (and posts its on the bulletin board).
As soon as Ellen Gilbertson joined Aquafit — because of a stress fracture in her foot — Patty called her doctor, so she could design the best workout. If someone is laid up at home, Patty visits (and brings food)
Every day she picks out great music, which puts everyone in a great mood. (For Halloween it was “Monster Mash.” For the Olympics, elections and many other events, she finds something appropriate. On St. Patrick’s Day, she’s got an Irish playlist — and an Irish quiz.)
Patty is no slouch. Her Aquafit students work hard. But she’s such a good teacher, they don’t even realize they’re getting a fantastic workout.
Her classes get together outside the Y, to celebrate special events. (Ask about her vegetarian chili!)
Colleague Ruth Sherman says, “Patty works so hard to make aging fun. They say our community is getting younger every day, and for this we thank Patty.”
Gilbertson adds, “She goes above and beyond any teacher I’ve ever known, in so many ways.”
Sandra Long says, “Whether it’s your first class or you’ve come for 20 years, Patty knows your name and helps you. She looks out for everyone — it doesn’t even have to be related to the pool. She does whatever she can to help anyone at the Y who’s in need.”
Elsewhere at the Y, Patty helps coordinate indoor triathlons and special needs swim instruction.
Out of the water, Patty helped organize the Spin Odyssey that over 15 years raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for cancer research. Some of her Aquafit fans were involved.
In her spare time (!), Patty is the much-loved coach of the Staples girls golf team. She’s a past president of the Longshore Women’s Golf Association.
And on Saturday mornings, she teaches a class for cancer survivors at CT Challenge.
Patty Kondub always has a smile on her face. The next time you see her, smile back — and congratulate our latest Unsung Hero.
BONUS FUN FACT: As a field hockey player, Patty was part of the first University of Connecticut team to win a national championship — in any sport.
(Do you know an Unsung Hero? To nominate him or her, email firstname.lastname@example.org)