Pat McDonnell, Activist
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The winner of the Moe Nirenstein Award was announced at the 2013 Spring Meeting and Luncheon of the ARTC (Association of Retired Teachers of CT (www.artct.org).
“Moe” Nirenstein was a teacher in the Colchester and Deep River Public School Systems, former president of ARTC, ARTC’s legislative chairman and chief lobbyist at the state Capitol, and vice chair of the STRB (State Teacher Retirement Board). He dedicated many years of service to the ARTC and to his town of Colchester. In appreciation of his years of service, an award was created by ARTC in his name to honor a person who has worked tirelessly to benefit the retired teachers of CT.
The recipient of this year’s award (2013) for outstanding volunteerism is Pat McDonnell. Rosalyn Schoonmaker, last year’s recipient, presented the award. Her tribute to Pat is as follows:
Pat McDonnell was a dedicated 2nd Grade teacher at McKinley (29 years) and Mill Hill (4 years) Elementary Schools in Fairfield for 33 years. She also taught in Newtown for 3 years. During this time, she was a building rep and social committee co-chair for numerous, numerous years in the FEA (Fairfield Education Assoc.).
One of the two organizers who started the affiliate Fairfield Education Association in the late 80’s, Patty was president for four years, vice president, newsletter editor, and now liaison among the Retired Educators of Fairfield (REF), the ARTC, and the CEA-retired (Connecticut Education Association–Retired (www.cea.org/cear/).
She also is very active in the ARTC volunteering her time as newsletter editor; as a member of the Board of Directors, PAC, Membership, and Legislative Committees; and Lobby Day organizer.
In addition, she has served on the Bridgeport St. Patrick’s Day Parade Committee as past vice chair and now currently is serving on the scholarship committee.
She belongs to Greater Bridgeport Retired Teacher Association (www.gbrta.org ), is a member and past president of the Widow/Widower Club, an AARP driver safety course instructor, a Literacy of America volunteer through which she tutors adults in reading, and is on the Sisters of Notre Dame hospitality committee.
Check out the photo of Pat and a friend painting a fire hydrant in Fairfield. This photo appeared in the Oct. 10, 2013 issue of the CT Post Newspaper. The caption read:
The Redcoats Are Coming
Jeanne Harrison and Pat McDonnell paint a fire hydrant on the Post Road near the oldf Exide battery plant in Fairfield on Wednesday (10/9). The two have been painting some hydrants as British Redcoats along the Memorial parade route for Fairfield's 375th anniversary. At right is a finished hydrant in front of the Fairfield Public Library. (photo courtesy of Mark Conrad)
****Editor’s note: When does she sleep? If anyone deserves the aforementioned Moe Nirenstein award, Pat does, although she was very humble and extremely gracious in her acceptance.