Unsung Hero #285

Over the years, several people have suggested Anna Rycenga as an Unsung Hero. 

Andrew Colabella was the most recent. He offered this great — and well-deserved — praise:

On a November Saturday, members of the Westport Police Department, Westport Police Athletic League and Sunrise Rotary headed to Stop & Shop with a mission: to help stock the Homes with Hope and Westport Human Services food pantries.

From 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., hundreds of Westporters dropped off bags of non-perishable items, either before or after they entered the store.

Many people helped collect the food: RTM moderator and former Homes with Hope CEO Jeff Wieser; current CEO Helen McAlinden; PAL president Craig Bergamo; Police Chief Foti Koskinas and Deputy Chief Sam Arciola; officers Dominique Carr, Scott Thompson and Wong Won; Push Against Cancer CEO Andy Berman, and Selectwomen Jen Tooker and Andrea Moore.

Anna Rycenga and fellow volunteers, delivering food to the Gillespie Center. Andrew Colablle is behind her; to the left is Police Chief Foti Koskinas.

But of everyone there, perhaps the hardest worker was Anna Rycenga. This was the 10th year that the mother of 3, and former chair of the Conservation Commission, had hosted a food drive.

She also organized annual toy drives for the both the Westport Police and State Police Troop G (where her brother is an officer), and coat drives too.

Anna Rycenga

Anna — a Bridgeport native — has worked tirelessly to serve her community and beyond. She grew up in a small apartment above a tiny bodega, on 746 Park Street. Her heart is still there.

She and her brother were raised by a single, loving, hardworking mother. Officers from the State Police barracks down the street checked up on them, offering any help they needed.

Anna never forgot where she came from, and who helped her. She has paid it forward ever since.

In addition to her work here, Anna has collected food for Bridgeport Rescue Mission, serving 8,000 families during Thanksgiving. She also spent 6 years gathering books for the Bridgeport Lighthouse Program, plus service to the Shoreline Diaper Drive, Center for Family Justice, and a prom dress and suit drive for young men and women.

Anna Rycenga (right) and friend, surrounded by donated food she helped collect.

When she is not helping people across the state and giving back, Anna was a part-time consultant to an attorney specializing in environmental law.

This winter Pete Romano, founder of LandTech, recognized her skill and bountiful knowledge about land use, planning and conservation, and hired her.

She is doing what she loves, professionally and as a volunteer. Congratulations and thank you, Anna: our “06880” Unsung Hero.

(Do you know an Unsung Hero? Email 06880blog@gmail.com)

(Unsung Hero is a weekly “06880” feature. To support our work, please click here. Thank you!)

Anna Rycenga, with her family.


7 responses to “Unsung Hero #285

  1. Chrissy O'Keeffe

    Awesome recognition for an awesome woman! Anna is unbelievably generous with her energy, time, and heart. She is one in a million!

  2. Celeste Champagne

    Great to have this woman’s contributions and accomplishments recognized!

  3. Over the past several years, I have had the several occasions to compliment Anna for her skills and hard work as the Chair of the Conservation Commission. These other contributions add to her renaissance woman qualities.

  4. Joyce Barnhart

    She’s beautiful inside and out.

  5. Jeannette Floto

    Anna is one of nicest and hardest working people I know. She is is beyond generous with her time and her kindness is contagious. Westport is lucky to have her!!!!

  6. Chuck Haberstroh

    Gotta add that she’s also a GREAT coach and advocate for Westport Girls Softball! We appreciate you, Coach – well deserved.

  7. Edward Bonham

    If Energizer needs a new spokeswoman, Anna is the one! She is an unstoppable hardworking and effective leader! She has had such a tremendous impact on the community and throughout State of Connecticut!

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