Tag Archives: Joey Bairaktaris

Unsung Hero #252

If you haven’t been to the Levitt Pavilion this year, or over the past few years*, then you don’t know Joey Bairaktaris.

But everyone else does.

He’s the Levitt’s site supervisor.

That’s his job title, anyway. He’s really much more than that.

Joey — a 2016 Staples High School graduate — is the public face of the pavilion. He’s everywhere, at every show.

Joey Baraiktaris (Photo/Susan Leone)

He makes sure guests are happy, gently enforcing rules for a few for the enjoyment of all. He makes sure the performers have what they need.

He answers questions. He solves problems before they occur. He empties trash cans (and picks up whatever stray garbage the rest of us leave behind).

And he does it all with a wonderful, winning smile.

Susan Leone nominated Joey as an “Unsung Hero.” She asked him about his job. He told her he came to Westport in 8th grade from Redding. Switching schools at mid-year was not easy. But it made him work hard to keep busy, and not think about how tough things had been.

Joey started at the Levitt 7 years ago, after working at Compo Beach and the Westport Weston Family YMCA.

He went to Johnson & Wales University, majoring in criminal justice and psychology. In the summer he’d work for Westport Parks & Rec during the day, then the Levitt every night.

He’s also working for the New England Patriots, doing security, and is in the process of applying to police departments. “All my work and schooling go together, with being around people,” Joey notes.

He says: “The best part about working at the Levitt is the people I meet. I get to interact and talk with people from all over. Everyone has endless stories and knowledge from their lives and careers. Face to face talking is lost these days with technology, so it’s great to get to actually talk to people.”

Keeping a crowd like this — and performers — happy and safe is not easy. Joey Bairaktaris does it well. (Photo/JC Martin)

He’s not kidding about his ability to talk to people. When the Peterson Brothers band came from Austin, Texas, they gave him their contact info, so he could stay with them there.

“There’s kindness everywhere,” Joey says. “It just takes all of us to bring it out.”

Joey spreads credit around. “The Levitt Pavilion is an extraordinary venue, but it wouldn’t be possible without everyone who is behind the magic. I’m a small seasonal part. The base of the Levitt is the board members and the Welshes. They make everything happen, with 365 days a year planning, organizing and so much more.”

He downplays his own role. “There’s not really anything special about me. I’m just a Westporter who loves to keep busy, try new things, and meet new people. Everyone has been so amazing. You can’t find a place like this anywhere. The community really does come first here.”

Joey Bairaktaris is — very deservedly — this week’s Unsung Hero. And he is — every week — Mr. Levitt Pavilion.

*And why not? It’s the best free entertainment in town!

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

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Living Proof: CPR Saves Lives

The life-saving rescue happened last spring. The Red Cross honored the life-savers last week. But good news never gets old.

On May 31, Joey Bairaktaris and David Ellis were working the main gate at Compo Beach. Walking across the basketball court, Joey saw security guard Doc Kashka. They chatted briefly. (If you know Doc — a popular figure from his work at many local restaurants — it’s no surprise that he stopped to talk.)

Joey headed to the marina. A woman ran by, to the basketball court. He followed, and found Doc lying on the ground.

Ian Chasnow — another town employee — was already giving Doc chest compressions. Joey — who had recently completed EMT training — helped. David called 911, and also assisted with CPR. When emergency responders arrived with an AED, they took over.

Doc spent 6 nights in intensive care. Today, he’s alive and well.

Joey Bairaktaris (left) and David Ellis (center) with Doc Kashka, at the recent Red Cross awards ceremony. Joey holds a certificate from Governor Malloy. (Photo/Jaime Bairaktaris, via Instagram)

Joey Bairaktaris (left) and David Ellis (center) with Doc Kashka, at the recent Red Cross awards ceremony. Joey holds a certificate from Governor Malloy. (Photo/Jaime Bairaktaris, via Instagram)

Westport First Selectman Jim Marpe cited the group’s “extraordinary composure,” along with their swift, professional actions. He said that their “high level of excellence” made Westport “forever grateful.”

The Red Cross added their own thanks. At the 16th annual county-wide Community Heroes Breakfast, Ian, David and Joey were honored as “Life Saving Heroes.”

In the right place at the right time, they were just what the “Doc”-tor ordered.