Tag Archives: Michael Loeb

Giving Back, Saving Lives

Professionally, Bob Levy was a stockbroker. Civically, he’s spent much of his 31 years in Westport involved with STAR Lighting the Way, the non-profit serving individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

But he’s always admired EMTs. “They’re volunteers. Day and night, they’re out helping people,” Levy says.

During COVID, they still did it. Emergency medical technicians are “very special super-heroes.”

Levy asked his friend Adria Belport — a member of Weston’s EMS — what units most needed. Equipment, she said.

Belport’s husband, Michael Loeb, had helped Levy’s philanthropic efforts in the past. This time, the duo added kindred local spirits, including Don Ehrenberg, Bill Felton, Dr. John Schneider and Milt Wolfson. “I’m so proud to be associated with these guys,” Levy says.

They had lunch, discussed their own good fortunes in life — investment banking, psychotherapy, real estate development, medicine, corporate governance and business — and pledged to help.

Their funds provided a much-needed trailer for Westport Volunteer Emergency Medical Service‘s utility task vehicle, used when rescuing people during off-road trauma or medical emergencies.

Bob Levy (left) and Michael Loeb (right) present Michael Burns, Westport Volunteer Emergency Medical Service, with a “Giving Back” check.

Weston’s EMS received AEDs (automatic external defibrillators). The portable devices treat people experiencing sudden cardiac arrest.

“Many people are not aware that Westport and Weston EMS are volunteer organizations — not funded by their towns,” Levy says.

His group calls itself Giving Back Fairfield County. It sounds like this is just the start — and it is.

Each year, they’ll raise funds to sustain and improve the quality of life in the area, by giving back to a deserving organization.

“We don’t usually tell people what we’re doing,” he says of his and his friends’ past philanthropy. “But the news is so bad these days, it’s important for people to hear good news.”

Giving Back Fairfield County is good news indeed. To learn more, email info@givingbackfc.org.

Archiving Dad’s Photos

Westporters know Tish Fried as director of the Write Yourself Free writing workshop. But she’s also the daughter of Lawrence Fried.

The award-winning photojournalist covered political, social and cultural events for publications like the New York Times, NewsweekSaturday Evening PostVogue, Collier’s and Parade.

A collection of Lawrence Fried Newsweek covers.

A collection of Lawrence Fried Newsweek covers.

Tish and her sister, Lauren Wendle, are moving their father’s long career of work to Connecticut. Here, they’ll begin the long process of preserving and archiving over 200 boxes of negatives, slides and original prints.

There’s another Westport connection. Fried shot several stories in Westport — including geese on the Saugatuck River, to illustrate a piece on a local writer.

Well, sort of. The day of the assignment, they weren’t there. So Fried photographed geese on a pond in Tarrytown, where he lived. The subject of the story noticed the difference (and was not pleased).

On his way to the airport, Fried often stopped in Westport to pick up journalist Ed Kiester. They traveled together to the world’s hot spots.

“This is a historic collection,” Tish Fried says. “It includes presidents from Eisenhower to Nixon, and all the Kennedys.”

A small section of the vast archives.

A small section of the vast archives.

After a guard smashed Fried’s camera at the Moscow airport, he was offered an official apology. He refused it — and instead asked permission for a rare trans-Siberian trip.

In 1960 he received an Overseas Press Club Photography Award for his 50,000-mile exploration of life in that isolated territory.

Fried made 3 trips to Viet Nam. He turned against the war when a marine offered to take a particular hill, because it would make a good picture.

RFK book cover by Lawrence FriedFried was on the campaign trail with Bobby Kennedy for 2 weeks. One image became a Newsweek cover — and the one Kennedy chose for his book, “To Seek A Newer World.” Fried’s photo of the RFK funeral is in the Smithsonian’s permanent collection.

Fried also photographed Chiang Kai-shek, Willem de Kooning, Marlon Brando,  James Dean, Bette Midler, Stevie Wonder and Meryl Streep.

For years, Tish and her sister have fielded requests for images. Locating the proper ones is tough.

“Having an archivist help us organize the material is a dream come true,” Tish says. Westport Arts Center board member Michael Loeb helped fund the research.

The early part of the process is going well. Tish and Lauren constantly find amazing images. One is an Andy Warhol selfie: The artist took Fried’s camera and shot pictures of himself.

The sisters recently discovered a 2-week shoot of Louis Armstrong on tour, and a photo of Bob Dylan posing with Zsa Zsa Gabor — at Mick Jagger’s birthday party.

More discoveries await. Tish Fried is a writer — but it’s almost like she’s in her father’s darkroom, waiting for the next exciting new image to appear.

(To learn more about Lawrence Fried’s archives, email patriciafried57@gmail.com)

Conceptual artist Joseph Kosuth, by Lawrence Fried.

Conceptual artist Joseph Kosuth, by Lawrence Fried.