Tag Archives: myTeamTriumph

Roundup: Ukraine, Roe v. Wade, Art …

How does Ukraine’s geography impact its history? What about its natural resources? Why is it fighting so fiercely for its independence, and why does Russia covet it so?

In other words: What do we need to know about Ukraine’s past, to understand what’s happening there today and tomorrow?

This Monday (May 9, 7 p.m., in-person and Zoom), we can all learn together.

The Westport Library hosts “Understanding Ukraine: Past, Present and Future.” Professor Walter Zaryckyj — director of the Center for US-Ukrainian Relations — will provide insights into this fascinating and important country that most of us know only through recent news reports and images.

It’s a great way to learn about the geography and history — long-ago and just-before-February — that most of us never learned or knew.

“06880” is a co-sponsor of the event. I’ll moderate the discussion, and lead a question-and-answer period at the end with Professor Zaryckyj.

Click here to register for a spot in the Library Forum. Click here for a Zoom link. Click here to learn more about Professor Zaryckyj.

=======================================================

Spring is the perfect time for ice cream.

Actually, any time is the perfect time for ice cream.

But the coming of spring also heralds the arrival of Gofer Ice Cream. Westport’s newest shop opens soon at 1240 Post Road East. It takes over the former Silver Ribbon location, near (among others) Fortuna’s, Greens Farms Spirit Shop, a vape store and COVID testing center.

Inklings — the Staples High School newspaper, which first reported the story — says that when Gofer opens this spring, it will feature premium hard and soft serve ice cream, plant-based and fat-free options, smoothies, cakes and more.

Gofer’s other locations include Darien, Greenwich, New Canaan, Ridgefield, Riverside, Stamford and Wilton.

What took Westport so long? What are we, chopped liver?

=======================================================

Yesterday’s “06880” story on Westport neighborhoods included this line about the “Private/Residents Only” sign on Saugatuck Island: “Fun fact: No other Westport neighborhood has an actual ‘entrance.'”

Ken Stamm sent along a photo showing another sign, a couple of miles away:

(Photo/Ken Stamm)

It’s not actually an “entrance” to Saugatuck — there’s no such thing — but it is certainly more welcoming than “Private/Residents Only.”

There’s only one problem: As Ken notes, the sign faces the I-95 on-ramp.

It should say, he writes, “Thanks for visiting Saugatuck!” Drivers who see it are those coming from Saugatuck, on their way out of the neighborhood.

On the other hand, it is a very handsome sign.

=======================================================

Just a few hours after news leaked of a draft of the Supreme Court’s decision in a case challenging Roe v. Wade, several protestors headed to Westport’s political town square: the Ruth Steinkraus Cohen Bridge. A number of passing drivers honked horns in support.

‘Deb Noonan and Nancy Aldrich were among the protestors yesterday on the Ruth Steinkraus Cohen Bridge.(Photo/Bobbi Essagof)

Last week, Connecticut’s General Assembly passed a first-in-the-nation bill. It will protect medical providers and patients seeking abortion care here, who may travel from states that have outlawed abortion. It also expands the type of practitioners eligible to perform certain abortion-related care in Connecticut. Governor Lamont has said he will sign the bill.

=====================================================

Our town has plenty of art shows. One of the best is at the Westport Woman’s Club

This year’s event is May 21 and 22 (2 to 6 p.m.), at their 44 Imperial Avenue clubhouse.

Among the local artists there with their works: Ola Bossio, Trace Burroughs, Ann Chernow, Susan Fehlinger, Larry Gordon, Tom Kretsch, Arpad Krizsan, Paul Larson, Erzsebet Laurinyecz, Jena Maric, Jon Puzzuoli, Peter Savarine, Gay Schempp, Oksana Tanasiv and Larry Untermeyer.

There’s music by a Rock & Roll Hall of Fame inductee (guess who!), and refreshments too. Proceeds support the Woman’s Club’s charitable work — now in its 115th year.

The Westport Woman’s Club opens its doors on May 21-22 for their annual art show.

=======================================================

Boys lacrosse gets plenty of press (and the Staples High School team is one of the best in the state). But what about girls lax?

Last Saturday was PAL Appreciation Night. Families of young players tailgated, then supported the high school varsity  and JV girls teams against Trumbull, under the Paul Lane Stadium lights.

The PAL program’s mission is to create a fun, safe and respectful environment for girls to learn skills. The goal is to instill in players of all abilities a for the game, respect for teammates, personal responsibility, a healthy competitive spirit, an understanding of good sportsmanship and fun for everyone.

Teams are open to girls who live in or attend school in Westport. New players are welcome. No one is cut.

For information on summer clinics and the fall program, email  westportpalgirlslax@gmail.com or click here.

Westport PAL lacrosse players, at Paul Lane Stadium.

=======================================================

MyTeamTriumph — the great organization that pairs children, teens and adults with disabilities (“captains”) with volunteers (“angels”) who help them participate in triathlons and road races — invites everyone to a jewelry party fundraiser.

Allison Daniel/UpNorth CT hosts the social event-and-more on June 8 (4 to 7 p.m., Sconset Square). There are great designs, in a tremendous variety, at many price points, plus snacks, wine and fun.

Attendees receive a 10% discount on jewelry. A percentage of sales goes to myTreamTriumph-CT. Click here for ideas.

======================================================

Mark Mathias spotted today’s “Westport … Naturally” scene near downtown.

There will be baby cygnets soon. If you see the mom now — or her and her babies later — please keep your distance!

(Photo/Mark Mathias)

=======================================================

And finally … on this day in 1953, Ernest Hemingway won a Pulitzer Prize for The Old Man and the Sea.

Who of course was a completely different guy from …

 

Roundup: Livestrong, Walk, Dream …

The Westport Weston YMCA is for everyone. Including — especially — cancer survivors.

On May 9, they introduce the Y’s Livestrong program. The free, 12-week program of physical, educational and social activities is for adults living with, through and beyond cancer

Small group sessions meet twice a week. Goals include rebuilding muscle mass and strength, increasing flexibility and endurance, reducing fatigue, and improving confidence and self-esteem.

The Y staff is trained to customize the program to individual needs. Participants may use the Y for free throughout the program.

For information, click here or contact Judy Klein: jklein@westporty.org; 203-571-6035.

=======================================================

After a 2-year COVID hiatus, Walk & Roll for STAR — a family “FUNdraiser” with face painting, kids’ crafts, DJ, dancing, t-shirts, games, food and more — returns to Sherwood Island State Park this Sunday (May 1, 9 a.m. to noon).

It’s a benefit for STAR Lighting the Way, the great local organization serving people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, and their families.

Click here for more information, including how to register and start a team.

====================================================

Of many great nonprofit evenings, A Better Chance of Westport’s Dream Event is one of the best.

Each year, graduating seniors from ABC — the program that brings wonderful young men to Westport, to attend Staples and give back to the community — are honored. Their speeches — and those of alumni — are inspirational.

The energy in the room is contagious. It’s a feel good time for everyone.

A few tickets remain for this year’s event (Friday, May 13, 6:30 p.m., Shorehaven Golf Club). The price includes entertainment, live and silent auctions, dinner and cocktails.

Click here for tickets, and donation and sponsorship information.

================================================

Westport women roar.

And no one helps them find their voice more than JoyRide.

On May 13 (5 p.m., 1200 Post Road East), the popular spinning and fitness center hosts “Westport Women Roar: Local Leaders Share Their Female Professional Paths.”

1st Selectwoman Jen Tooker, Granola Bar founders Dana Noorily and Julie Mountain, Party City chief marketing and experience officer Julie Roehm, Rebel & Rose Tattoo owner/artist Amanda Mas, and Westport Police officer Lt. Jillian Cabana will inspire women, with stories of blazing professional paths in male-dominated areas.

Tickets are $20. Venmo @joyridecycling, or click here.

Just a few days later (May 21, 11:30 a.m.), JoyRide sponsors an Out of the Darkness fundraiser, for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. Donations are $25 and up. Click here to register.

And on June 4 (9:30 a.m.), JoyRide’s Mackenzie Pretty leads a HIIT + Strength class outdoors, at the Compo Beach Pavilion. It’s free, bur registration is needed: info@westportmoms.com,

=======================================================

Parking in Brooks Corner is always tight.

With the Baldwin Parking lot closed for renovations — as it was yesterday — things got even tighter.

There’s still plenty of parking downtown. You may have to walk a few yards more than usual — and it may not be in Brooks Corner — but it’s there.

Don’t be this guy. There’s only enough room to squeeze by on the best days. Park your truck, and walk.

(Photo/JM Nevin Jr.)

======================================================

MyTeamTriumph — the wonderful program pairing children, teens and adults with disabilities (“captains”) with volunteers (“angels”) who help them participate in triathlons and road races — has a busy schedule.

On Saturday, they participate in the Westport Young Woman’s League’s Minute Man 10K and 5K Runs, and 5K Walk.

On May 15 it’s the 25K (about 15 miles) Bloomin’ Metric bike ride at Sherwood Island State Park. Click here to sign up. For more information, email KZiebell@myTeamTriumph-CT.org, or call 203-216-1146.

=======================================================

Noted Westport landscape designer Jay Petrow leads Aspetuck Land Trust’s next “Lunch & Learn” session.

“Transforming Your Lawn Into a Meadow” (Friday, April 29, noon to 1:15 p.m., Zoom) will show you how to replace part of your lawn by planting or seeding a native meadow garden. You can introduce plants that are beneficial for pollinators and birds, are mostly deer-resistant, are more drought-tolerant than your lawn — and look beautiful.

Click here to register.

======================================================

JL Rocks is expanding its cult following of fine jewelry lovers to the younger set. Its new line of 14K gold and enamel earrings, bracelets and necklaces, called Rock Candy — get it? — offers a colorful range of options for kids ages 7 to 13.

Owner/founder Jamie Camche made the move after seeing so many new clients, with young children. They were particularly interested in earrings, so the gold and enamel studs take the form of emojis, ice cream cones and empowering statements like “Yes.” Necklaces and bracelets come in rainbow hues.

Click here to purchase and for more information, or check out Jamie’s 292 Post Road East or Greenwich stores.

Kids’ bracelets and earrings at JL Rocks.

====================================================

Hot on the heels of another trip to Guatemala, Builders Beyond Borders hosts an open house for students and parents interested in learning more about the travel-and-work program.

It’s this Sunday (May 1, 3 to 4:30 p.m., 66 Fort Point Street, Norwalk), Click here to RSVP, or email b3news@buildersbeyondborders.org.

=======================================================

Mila Grieb — well known locally for her 45 years as a realtor — died April 17.

Born in El Dorado, Arkansas, she considered herself to be from Shreveport, Louisiana where she spent most of her youth. She then lived in Weston and Westport for more than 65 years.

Mila worked at Helen Benson Associates for 15 years, before founding Mila Grieb Village Realty in 1984. The boutique agency succeeded due in part to her creative promotions and advertising. She sold it to Coldwell Banker after more than 15 years. “We were proud to have her on our team,” Coldwell said.

Her friends and associates in real estate industry called her “a class act … She was an amazing woman who achieved great success in a challenging business while still maintaining her grace, charm, kindness, humor, and integrity.”

Mila graduated from Northwestern University. She was a former Conover model and a stage actress. She and her husband Warren were co-presidents of the Weston PTO. They founded the Weston Memorial Day Fair, which continues today.

During the 1970s, she and Warren also owned and operated the Arnold Palmer Driving Range and Miniature Golf Course in Westport. Mila was a member of the First Church of Christ Scientist, Westport, CT.

Mila’s family calls her “a good friend, a fabulous mom, and a wonderful and supportive wife. She made a tremendous difference in the lives of those who knew her. She will be remembered for her outgoing personality, creativity, kindness, humor, wit, and deep love of family.”

Mila is survived by her daughters Nancy Joy (Evan) Wilsnack of Boynton Beach, Florida, Janet Adams-O’Keefe of Westport, and Wendy Grieb (Robert) Moore of Coronado, California; grandchildren Justin Hopfer of Los Angeles, Jarrod Hopfer of Bozeman, Montana, Christopher Wilsnack of Bentonville, Arkansas, Alisha Holden of Boynton Beach, Weston Moore of Scottsdale, Arizona, and Sarah Moore of Coronado, and 7 great-grandchildren.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to The First Church of Christ Scientist Westport, 55 Compo Road South, Westport, CT 06880 or the Humane Society of Connecticut, 455 Post Road E, Westport, CT 06880. Mila will be remembered and celebrated privately by her family.

Mila Grieb

=======================================================

Today’s graceful, peaceful “Westport … Naturally” image comes from Wendy Levy, at choppy Compo Beach:

(Photo/Wendy Levy)

=======================================================

And finally … today is the birthday of Sergei Prokofiev. The Russian pianist, composer and conductor was born in 1891. He died in 1953. Among his most famous works:

Roundup: Robbery, High Tide, Triathlon …

=======================================================

A rash of car break-ins and thefts is bad enough. Yesterday, a different crime was committed: an alleged robbery, just before noon on the Ruth Steinkraus Cohen Bridge.

A man approached a couple quickly from behind, Westport Police say. The suspect walked in step with the male victim, allegedly brandishing a knife, threatening the female and demanding to be brought to the couple’s car.

The woman darted across the Post Road to escape. Her husband followed, and flagged down a patrol officer driving by. The suspect fled toward Jesup Green

A detailed description of the suspect was relayed to all officers. Patrol units flooded the area. During a search of the area, a member of the Westport Fire Department said he had seen a suspect fitting the description across from Playhouse Square.

Officers quickly James S. Cummings, 41, of Bridgeport. He was identified by the victims as the man who accosted them on the bridge. A knife was found in his possession.

Cummings was charged with attempt to commit robbery in the 1st degree, attempt at larceny in the 3rd degree, carrying a dangerous weapon, and threatening in the 2nd degree. He is being held on a $250,000 bond.

==================================================

Here’s the latest on one of Westport’s greatest, and so-glad-it’s-back-after-COVID, traditions: the Rotary Club’s Lobsterfest.

A crowd of 1,500 is expected this Saturday (September 18, 3 to 7 p.m.), for a townwide party.

Fewer than 80 tickets remain. You can get them at Hook’d by the Sound (Compo Beach concession stand), or by emailing leslie2of8@gmail.com. They’re $70 each, for either 2 lobsters or a 14-ounce steak.

Plus lots more, of course. Volunteers and Rotarians will cook and serve 2,500 lobsters, great steaks and a raw bar. They’ll serve beer and win (with a Tito’s scotch tasting). Plus there’s a great band, and plenty of kids’ activities (including magic shows, and an antique fire engine to climb on).

COVID protocols include 30% more tables, further apart, and fewer seats per tables. Masks are optional, but recommended when spacing is not possible.

There’s also a drive-through option, for guests who choose to party elsewhere.

As well as an exhibition tent, and a kickoff for Rotary’s Afghan relief resettlement project.

Volunteers are still needed! To help, click here or email lobsterfestvolunteers@gmail.com

As the sun set on Lobster Fest in 2016, no one wanted to leave.

======================================================

Burying Hill’s High Tide Club has been around a long time.

Not as long as the venerable beach perhaps. But its members have seen — and swum in — more than their share of incoming and outgoing tides.

Membership skews older. But recently an influx of younger swimmers has waded into the water. They’ve enjoyed the social gatherings too, while forming one of Westport’s most fun, under-the-radar groups.

Nico Eisenberger reports that at high tide yesterday — just after 4 p.m. — members brought food and drinks to celebrate another great season.

High Tide Club: It’s not just about swimming. (Photo/Nico Eisenberger)

The late summer weather was perfect. The camaraderie was strong. Nico says he and his wife “feel blessed to have this place, and these fun and funky folks, as part of our daily lives here.”

=======================================================

Yesterday’s Westport Kiwanis Club Minuteman Triathlon was another success.

The family-friendly event at Compo Beach included a jetty-to-jetty swim, and short bike and running courses throughout the flat neighborhood streets. It was perfect for first-timers, and families that race together.

It was advertised as open to all abilities, and that was true.

MyTeamTriumph was out in force. The organization helps children, teens, adults and veterans with disabilities who otherwise could not participate in endurance events like triathlons and road races.

Volunteer “angels” take “captains” out on the water in special inflatables. They assist with wheelchairs for the biking and running parts too.

There were plenty of smiles yesterday at the Minuteman Triathlon. And regardless of times, everyone was a winner.

MyTeamTriumph captains and angels. (Photo/Peter Swift)

=====================================================

Munich has Oktoberfest. Westport has Westoberfest.

Now we’ve also got Oaktoberfest.

Okay, there’s no drinking, drinking games or lederhosen. But the October 4 event (7 p.m., Wakeman Town Farm) is still worth checking out.

Sponsored by Westport’s Tree Board, it’s a chance to learn about all the good things trees do in our yards — and how to return the favor, by caring for them.

Attendees receive free samplings, too.

Panelists include Mary Ellen Lemay (Aspetuck Land Trust), Danica Doroski (Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection), Doug Williams (Bartlett Tree Experts), and Tree Board members.

Click here for tickets, and more information.

White oak tree at Kings Highway Elementary School.

======================================================

Jesup Green is the site of this Saturday’s free, outdoor Japanese Fall Festival (September 18, 2-4 p.m.). The event — sponsored by the Japan Society of Fairfield County — features taiko drummers, an Okinawan dance performance, a live play of the Japanese folktale “Tanabata” (“Star-crossed Lovers”), traditional Bon dancing, Japanese calligraphy and a craft activity to make dance hats.

Click here for details.

A scene from the 2019 Japan Fall Festival.

=======================================================

“06880” has posted many stories and photos of “Gloria,” the oyster boat owned for years by the late Alan Sterling.

It was beached this summer in Gray’s Creek, between Compo Beach and Longshore.

Bruce McFadden has watched and — photographed — the craft for years. He wonders if this is its final resting place.

“Gloria” (Photo/Bruce McFadden)

=======================================================

Linda Doyle was harvesting rhubarb for jam, when she spotted this guy in her garden. What a great way to start off the “Westport … Naturally” week!

(Photo/Linda Doyle)

=======================================================

And finally … in honor of yesterday’s gathering at Burying Hill Beach (see story above):

Roundup: Joey’s, Captain America, COVID …

=======================================================

A year after Elvira’s reopened as Joey’s By the Shore — Featuring Elvira Mae’s Coffee Bar,” there’s more news from Old Mill/Compo’s favorite food spot.

The building is for sale. But Joey Romeo and Betsy Kravitz are not going anywhere. They’re keeping the business just as is — with great eats, an ordering window and a beachy vibe, 7 days a week from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. A long-term lease protects the business.

That’s the good great news. Now if only we had some good news about that long-halted home construction project on the site of the former Positano restaurant, a few yards diagonally across the street …

Betsy Kravitz and Joey Romeo, ready for another season.

=======================================================

Both myTeam Triumph-CT and Remarkable Theater support the special needs community.

It’s no wonder they’re partnering for mTT’s “Spring Into Action” season-opening event. On Saturday, May 1 (gates open at 6:30 p.m.; movie at 7:30), myTeam Triumph sponsors a showing of “Captain America: The Winter Soldier”  — the Marvel adventure film — at the downtown drive-in.

It’s not just that the Remarkable Theater employs people with disabilities for screenings at the Imperial Avenue lot. Or that myTeam Triump pairs children, teens, adults and veterans with disabilities with volunteers, who join them in triathlons and road races.

The volunteers are called “angels.” The special needs participants are called … “captains.” So the May 1 film is very fitting.

All proceeds from the event will be shared by Remarkable Theater and myTeam Triumph-CT.

For more information and to buy tickets, click here. To learn more and volunteer with mTT (you don’t have to be an athlete!), click here. To donate, click here.

======================================================

Starting tomorrow, there’s another COVID testing center in town.

Progressive Diagnostics opens at 8 a.m. in Saugatuck railroad station parking lot #8. That’s the one off Saugatuck Avenue, between I-95 and the Exit 17 entrance/ exit ramp. They promise same-day PCR and antibody test results.

Weekday hours are 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.; Saturdays from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.

======================================================

Speaking of COVID: Who better to answer questions about the virus than Dr. Scott Gottlieb — former FDA commissioner (and Westport resident)?

And who better to ask those questions than Dave Briggs — longtime journalist (and fellow Westporter)?

The event is on InstagramLive today (Thursday, April 22, 6 p.m., @WestportMagazine). You can ask questions now: DM@DaveBriggsTV.

Dr. Scott Gottlieb

===================================================

Looking for a special Mother’s Day gift? Head to the farm!

Wakeman Town Farm offers spring arrangements, through Hedge Floral. Options include a garden bouquet in twig-wrapped vessel ($95) and posies in upcycled tin cans ($30).

Hedge designs each arrangement with the best of what’s available in early May.  That probably means Queen Anne’s lace, mustard, lilac, pieris, euonymus, viburnum, azalea, honeysuckle and spirea.

Click here to order. Deadline is noon on May 5. Pick-up is Saturday, May 8, 10 a.m. to noon at WTF.

A garden bouquet option.

=======================================================

Speaking of nature: Jolantha celebrated Earth Day today with a few friends, on Weston’s Kellogg Hill:

======================================================

We’ve spent the past 13 months urging Westporters to wear masks.

Looks like we need to talk about helmets too.

An “06880” reader sent this photo, from earlier this week at the Compo Beach skatepark. Several other helmet-less youngsters were nearby, he reports.

=======================================================

And finally … Jim Steinman died Monday in Danbury. He was 73, and had been in poor health.

His New York Times obituary explains that Steinman “wrote all the songs on Bat Out of Hell, Meat Loaf’s operatic, teenage-angst-filled 1977 debut album, which remains one of the most successful records of all time.”

Meat Loaf was one of Westport’s many famous musician residents. When he wasn’t recording operatic, teenage-angst-filled songs, he played softball at Compo Beach and Greens Farms Elementary School, and coached it too.

Just another normal neighbor. (Hat tip: Adam Stolpen)

Roundup: Primary Day Workers, Farmers’ Market For Kids, Navigating College During COVID, More


There’s an election coming up — and it’s not in November. The Democratic and Republican Parties hold primaries next Tuesday (August 11). Workers are being hired to man (and woman) the polls.

No party affiliation is needed. Most positions do not require prior experience. PPE is required (and supplied). For details, email mcowden@westportct.gov.


Oops! I had a couple of errors in yesterday’s story about the Westport Farmers’ Market kids’ crafts program. A corrected version appears here:

The pandemic has prevented live gatherings for the “Get Growing” kids’ program at Westport Farmers’ Market.

No problem! WFM has launched “Get Growing to Go!,” a craft kit of activities youngsters can do at home. The brainchild of Mae Farrell, it includes a free package parents and caregivers pick up at the Farmers’ Market Imperial Avenue parking lot.

Each week Mae announces the craft for the following week on Instagram and Facebook, and children and parents through the week’s activity — on their own schedule.

“’Get Growing’ is dear to my heart,” says WFM executive director Lori Cochran-Dougal.

“Mae has taken it to a whole new level, both in person and now virtually with the craft kits. Families are a big part of our market. We won’t let the pandemic prevent us from helping the next generation appreciate nature, farmers, and importance of a local food community.”

Parents can pre-order craft kits for pickup at the Farmers’ Market by emailing Mae any time between Sunday and Tuesday each week: getgrowing@westportfarmersmarket.com. The first pickup is Thursday, August 13, and each Thursday thereafter from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. WARNING: Only 30 craft kits are available each week.

For an introduction and sample, click here (Facebook) or here (Instagram).

Causeway Collaborative is a Westport-based organization that counsels and mentors young men between the ages of 17 and 30 who are struggling to navigate transitional stages in life.

That includes coping with COVID-19.

On Thursday, August 13 (7 p.m.), Causeway hosts a virtual (and free) event for parents of young adults, whose children are preparing to return to college during COVID-19. It’s a new struggle —  but one many Westporters can relate to. Click here to register.


MyTeamTriumph — the great local organization that pairs people with special needs with volunteers who help them take part in triathlons and road races — suffered a devastating loss Friday.

Connie Crowell and her 22-year-old son Jack died when their SUV plunged into the Housatonic River in Seymour. Both lived in Monroe, but had been very active with the Westport chapter.

The local group posted this video, and passes on word of a GoFundMe collection to cover funeral and memorial costs, and an education fund for Jack’s brother.


And finally … on this day in 1901, Louis Armstrong was born. For 69 years, he shared this wonderful world with us.

Catch A Lift Veterans Honor Westport

Nearly 250 years ago Westport patriots battled British soldiers, on their way to and from burning an arsenal in Danbury.

On Friday, more than a dozen military veterans — wounded in wars since 9/11 — came to Westport. They were honored at a Birchwood Country Club fundraiser for Catch a Lift, the foundation that helps them rebuild their lives through physical fitness.

Yesterday they returned the favor. Many of the vets headed to Compo Beach. They served as “angels” — helping children, teens and adults with disabilities in a fun run/walk, through another great organization called myTeamTriumph.

It was a win-win-win weekend: for the veterans, the myTeamTriumph runners and walkers, and the rest of Westport. We are inspired by them all.

When yesterday’s event was over, the Catch a Lift gathered for a “team” photo.

At the cannons, of course.

Catch A Lift, MyTeamTriumph Join Forces Tomorrow. Everyone Wins!

For 5 years, Westport has hosted Catch a Lift fundraisers.

Yet the attendees — wounded post-9/11 service members, who heal physically and mentally thanks to the gym memberships and home fitness equipment the organization provides — give at least as much to Westport, in terms of inspiration and motivation, as they get.

Now they’re going to give even more.

Tonight (Friday, November 8, 7 p.m., Birchwood Country Club) is the CAL gala. There’s great food, beverages, a DJ, video, and more than a dozen Catch a Lift guests of honor.

Catch a Lift veterans, at a Birchwood Country Club event.

Tomorrow (Saturday, November 9, 8:30 a.m.), those same men and women head to Compo Beach.

The combat veterans — all suffering from serious PTSD, some who are double amputees — along with their friends and family members, will push disabled athletes in myTeamTriumph. The event is a fun run, of about 2 miles.

MTT is a program for children, teens and adults with disabilities who otherwise could not participate in endurance events like triathlons and road races. Volunteers “ride along,” helping them compete in — and enjoy — those endeavors.

Over the years, Catch a Lift and myTeamTriumph have formed a special bond.

Adam Vengrow — a Westporter, and vice president of the CAL board of directors — has worked closely with mTT board member Andy Berman. Combining their efforts, Vengrow says, demonstrates the power of volunteerism and collaboration.

Andy Berman (left) and Austin enjoy a myTeamTriumph event.

Curt Lueker — another Westporter, who is founder and president of myTeamTriumph — calls the partnership “a unique match.”

Tomorrow’s event is open to anyone who wants to or walk. Click here to sign up.

We welcome our Catch a Lift guests to Westport. And we are awed by what they give us when they’re here.

PS: Last weekend, Berman finished the New York City marathon. For him, this run will be a walk in the park.

Great Team Triumph At Triathlon

Last year, only 1 myTeamTriumph captain participated in the Westport Kiwanis Club Triathlon at Compo Beach.

MTT is a program for children, teens, adults and veterans with disabilities who otherwise could not participate in endurance events like triathlons and road races. Volunteers “ride along,” helping them compete in — and enjoy — those endeavors.

What a difference a year makes.

Last weekend, there were 10 captains. Five got out of their wheelchairs and — with assistance from their angels — walked across the finish line. One — a frequent participant in MTT events — crossed on her own feet for the first time.

Another captain completed the entire 5K run by herself. An angel ran beside her.

Over 40 angels and volunteers took part. Nearly half were Westporters.

Here are some scenes from that great day.

Setting up at sunrise.

Captain Wolf finishes the swim.

Another leg of the triathlon.

Many captains are non-verbal. The friendship between Captain Austin and Andy is beyond words.

Captain Alexei switches events.

A determined Captain Sami completes her first walk across the finish line.

Captain Wolf enjoys her trophy.

Captain Bella and her angel are all smiles.

Captain Charlotte and her equally proud dad.

Captain Jack and angel Adam share a special moment.

(For more information on myTeamTriumph — including how to get involved — click here. Hat tips: Karen Strauss-Ziebell, Curtis Lueker and Andy Berman.)

Sami Triumphs With Her Team

Sami is 22 years old. Nonverbal and developmentally delayed, she lives with her family in Westport.

Her mom, Lori Leskin, heard about myTeamTriumph. That’s the program for children, teens, adults and veterans with disabilities who otherwise could not participate in endurance events like triathlons and road races. Volunteers “ride along,” helping them compete in — and enjoy — those endeavors.

Last May, “06880” featured MTT in a story on STAR’s 5K Walk, Run & Stroll at Sherwood Island.

Lori wasn’t sure if Sami would like being in a race. But she gave it a try.

From the first moment, Sami loved it. She now gets very excited when she arrives at an event, and sees MTT’s red tents and racing chairs.

Sami Leskin, racing with myTeamTriumph in the Westport Triathlon …

“She loves hearing her name yelled out when she’s on the course, and then coming across the finish line,” notes Curtis Lueker, a Westporter and myTeamTriumph’s Connecticut chapter founder.

“She loves feeling included in the community. That’s what MTT is all about.”

Recently, Sami competed in the Westport Tri — her first triathlon. MyTeamTriumph pulled her in an inflatable boat, then pulled and pushed her through the bike/run.

… and finishing the water portion.

“It was an amazing day,” Curtis says. The highlight came when the team pushed her chair through the Compo Beach sand, crossing the finish line together.

Sami has become a celebrity around town. People know — and admire — her accomplishments, thanks in part to Facebook.

It’s a win-win-win: for Sami, her MTT team, and everyone cheering any race.

(To learn more about myTeamTriumph — including how to volunteer — click here.)