Quiet Heroes of New Canaan: Jenn Eielson and Steve Karl 

Jenn Eielson, New Canaan’s health director, paid out-of-pocket for a balloon guy and treats for kids for a COVID-19 vaccination clinic for children 5-and-older, held Nov. 11 at New Canaan High School, officials say. In all, 927 kids received their first dose during the clinic, Eielson told members of the Health & Human Services Commission during their regular meeting, held Thursday morning via videoconference. “Steve Karl from Karl Chevrolet caught wind that I paid for the balloon guy and all the treats and everything out of my own pocket, so Steve Karl and Karl Chevrolet graciously are going to be absorbing all of that cost,” Eielson said. “So I thank them greatly for that.”

The comments came during a general update from Eielson.

Quiet Heroes of New Canaan: ‘Man with an Orange Shirt’

Yolanda Gjuraj said her son was the first to discover the full-size soccer goal left on a patch of grass out front of her family’s Cross Street home. It was the morning of Sept. 11, and he’d just come home from a walkthrough football practice. Several of the kids in the neighborhood play soccer on the residential street that runs between Cherry and Summer just off the eastern edge of downtown New Canaan, according to Gjuraj. “Someone must’ve noticed the boys playing soccer as they always do and was kind enough to bring this goal to our home for the neighborhood kids to play,” she told NewCanaanite.com in an email.

Quiet Heroes of New Canaan: Lally Jurcik

In walking her dog in the area of Frogtown Road and the Noroton River, Robin Bates-Mason has gotten a firsthand look at how quickly trash can build up along the roadside and in the waterway itself. People driving along Frogtown, a heavily used east-west connection between Ponus Ridge and Weed Street, often don’t realize how much garbage there is because they’re moving too fast. “And of course, when summer comes in and the vegetation comes in, you don’t see it as well, but when you’re a dog walker and you see it, Frogtown just awful, it’s really bad,” Bates-Mason said. “Unfortunately  it’s not the safest route to clean up.”

Even so, as she did a few years ago, Llewellyn Drive resident Lally Jurcik took the lead last week in organizing a neighborhood campaign to get families out and cleaning up, said Bates-Mason, one of several residents of the area who received an email with details. Armed with garbage bags and loaned “grabbers” supplied by New Canaan Inlands Wetlands Director Kathleen Holland—an advocate fo the town’s annual “Clean Your Mile” campaign, more below—Jurcik helped organize more than one dozen volunteers who picked up everything from coffee cups, plastic bottles and plastic bags to discarded dog poop bags and beer cans.

Quiet Heroes of New Canaan: Weezie Reid

Patricia Spugani, a town resident who volunteers to support the New Canaan Farmers Market, has seen hundreds of masks in checking shoppers in at the Saturday event under a new walk-thru model. So it’s unusual for one to stand out as the one New Canaan’s Weezie Reid was wearing a few weeks ago. It had a pattern of strawberries, with little green stems on a white background and red edge trim with white dots. “I said I love it and she told me that she had made it,” Spugani recalled. “We kept talking and I mentioned that my mom is a resident at The Inn and if she was looking to make more—because she said she’d been looking to make more—that I would be happy to buy some for my mom and friends at The Inn.

Quiet Heroes of New Canaan: Hunter Van Veghel

The food drive that New Canaan-based nonprofit organization Filling In The Blanks ran that day had already been a huge success. 

Held May 21 at New Canaan Library, it saw about 100 vehicles come through and raised some 5,200 individual food items for the organization, according to co-founders and co-Presidents Tina Kramer and Shawnee Knight. Launched in 2013, the organization provides thousands of area children in need with weekend meals. The generous donations at the food drive organized with the library are especially important at a time of wide food scarcity, Kramer said. ”We are having difficulty purchasing the food we need, because the sources we usually use are not able to get us the items we are used to, so we have to buy retail,” she said. At about 5 p.m. that Thursday, members of the Filling In The Blanks team were unloading a truck of food at the organization’s Norwalk warehouse when the driver, 2012 New Canaan High School graduate Hunter Van Veghel, spotted a few young kids playing basketball at a shuttered school nearby.