Just over a year ago, as winds howled, a large tree branch fell on Victoria Gouletas. She broke her back, and fractured bones in her neck, scapula and sternum.
Victoria — a real estate attorney, member of Westport’s Zoning Board of Appeals, and mother of 3 young children — was told she would never walk again.
Victoria is incredibly strong and tenacious. Buoyed by wonderful support from her husband Troy Burk and her kids — and a fantastic outpouring of energy, resources and funds from friends and strangers all across town — she made extraordinary progress.
In a little over 3 months, Victoria was back at her seat on the ZBA. She was an inspiration to all.
However, the cold weather is difficult. The family is moving to North Carolina. It’s a huge loss to our town.
Last night, the ZBA surprised her. Congressman Jim Himes and Secretary of the State Denise Merrill sent letters of commendation, and First Selectman Jim Marpe was on hand to honor her for her service and courage.
Victoria Gouletas and 1st Selectman Jim Marpe, at last night’s ZBA meeting. (Photo/Josh Newman)
Jim Ezzes called her “one of the most qualified and valued members I have had the opportunity to work with, during my over 20 years as chair of the ZBA.”
Democratic Town Committee chair Ellen Lautenberg added, “Her dedication and professional approach to the position has been exemplary. In addition, Victoria is a wonderful role model for how she has dealt with personal challenges in terms of her positive attitude, incredible fortitude and perseverance.”
Westport has many unsung volunteers — including members of town boards and commissions. But it’s hard to find anyone — in government, or anywhere else — who better epitomizes dedication to the town, and the power of the human spirit, than Victoria Gouletas.
Click below for Rob Simmelkjaer’s tribute video: