Lighting the Way
photography by Bob Capazzo
For the past five years we have asked you, our readers, to tell us about the people in our community who are making a difference in the lives of others. And every year we find ourselves flooded with nominations. We learn about the lifelong volunteers who have devoted countless hours to affecting change, the teens who have done more in their young lives than many of us do in a lifetime, and the couples who spend as much time volunteering as they do together. The process of choosing the honorees is never an easy one, but it is always a heartening one.
This year’s Light a Fire group is quite impressive. Their areas of focus are as varied as the folks themselves. However, they all have one thing in common: They don’t back down in the face of adversity. You will meet Paul Green, who despite being well into his eighties and diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease, found the time to start his foundation, Nevah Serrendah, which offers support and advice to those suffering from the illness. In between ballroom dancing classes, Japanese lessons and competitive rowing meets, Paul remains at the organization’s helm.
You will also meet Jenny Cespedes, our teen who, while helping her mother battle cancer, never missed an opportunity to volunteer at the Boys and Girls Club of Greenwich. And you will meet Bob and Suzanne Wright, the power couple who used their strong political and celebrity ties to form Autism Speaks after their grandson was diagnosed with the disease. Suzanne has been quoted as saying, “Autism messed with the wrong grandmother.” It sure did.
Paul, Jenny, Bob and Suzanne are in very good company. Turn to page 73 to read about all of our honorees, and please join us on Thursday, November 8, when we celebrate these outstanding men and women at Greenwich Academy’s Massey Theater, with a cocktail party and awards ceremony (visit mofflymedia.com for details). Actor James Naughton will host the evening for a third year. In fact, when we asked James to return, his response was simple: “How could I say no?” We somehow knew that would be the answer.