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Celebrating Good News

Having lunch together has turned out to be a great way for CHS Class of 1961 to keep our friendships alive!  Recently 8 of our classmates gathered at Ecco Restaurant to catch up on their busy lives.  


          Carole Breiner Caputo and Diane Guerra Wirth

Eileen Kennedy Pressler and Sharon Smethurst Schwab

Nila Marsh Breiner and Eva Weichsel Hausman

                Lois Smick Weiss and Eileen Kennedy Pressler

                     Eva Weichsel Hausman and Roberta Schine

                   Carole Breiner Caputo and Diane Guerra Wirth



Ladies of the CHS Class of 1961 gathered together for lunch in order to welcome Maureen Riley Jones back to Connecticut after a long sojourn in Florida.  Eighty has never looked so good, you are all to be complimented on how well you are maturing!  From left to right:  Maureen Riley Jones, Eileen Kennedy Pressler, Nila Marsh Breiner, Diane Guerra Wirth, Sharon Smethurst Schwab,  and, seated,  Gloria Cerreta Manning.  A lovely time was had byall catching up on old times.





Tea drinkers everywhere know Bigelow Tea and their signature flavor, Constant Comment.  We Connecticut folks should also know that this world renown company has its headquarters in Fairfield!  In 2003, the company purchased a 127 acre plot of land on Wadmalow Island, South Carolina and established the Charleston Tea Garden.  Gloria Cerreta Manning, a dedicated tea drinker, and her husband, Ron, recently visited this beautiful one-of-a-kind garden on Wadmalow Island, South Carolina. 




The Mannings visit the Moreaus

Good news without a photo!  Gloria Cerreta Manning and her husband, Ron, recently visited Tom and Gloria Williamson Moreau in Georgia.  We all went to the Savannah Book Festival and shared numerous activities and lots of great restaurants over several days.  There is no photo because we chatted and laughed so much we kept forgetting this essential piece of our site's Good News feature.  Sorry about that, we will just have to repeat the visit and remember to take pictures!


Our classmates continue to show kindness and compassion to others.  Sharon Smethurst Schwab and Diane Guerra Wirth and Bill Wirth recently brought pizza and friendship to another classmate, Joe Braca and his wife, Annette. Annette provided mini cheesecakes with cherries on top for dessert.  Good deeds do get rewarded!




Here is an interesting program for seniors brought to us by our classmate, Gwen Winkler.  The Twilight Wish Foundation has a mission to honor and enrich the lives of deserving seniors through intergenerational Twilight Wish celebrations.  I checked their site on Facebook and looked at rewiews and ratings and this organization got a very high score.  Over 80% of the donations they receive goes directly to granting someone's wish.  No one gets big money, most of the people are asking for a relatively small amount that they just can't come up with on their own.  Here are a few examples of wishes that have been granted. You can check out their site, too.   https://greatnonprofits.org/org/twilight-wish-foundation

Margaret: Our First Twilight Wish Ever Granted
On January 16, 2004, Twilight Wish Foundation granted its very first Twilight Wish to Margaret Turner, an elderly nursing home resident who had wished for a headstone for her deceased son’s unmarked grave.

Mae K: Attend Rosie the Riveter Reunion
Mae, who was 89 at the time of her wish granting, is one of the original “Rosie the Riveters” of World War II. Her wish was to attend the annual reunion of these amazing women in June of 2015.

Jim: Attend Marine Reunion
When the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor, Jim was only 16, but like so many others, lied about his age and enlisted. He soon found himself on board a ship headed for combat in the South Pacific.


The good news continues!  Henry and Helena Rotzal Have a hero in the family!  Their grandson, Shaun Bogen, is the volunteer firefighter featured in this newpaper article who spotted a fire, called it in, and then got the family and their dogs out of the house.  From the photos, it is easy to see that this could have been a horrible disaster if he had not acted so quickly and correctly. 

Conn. Volunteer Firefighter Saves 4 People, 3 Dogs from Garage Fire While Driving Snow Plow
By Abigail Adams  Published on January 11, 2024 01:34PM EST 

Shaun Bogen was plowing snow on his route Sunday when he saw a fire approaching a home on Haviland Drive which had four adults and three dogs inside, according to the Long Hill Fire Company.  The volunteer firefighter from Connecticut is being credited for saving the lives of several people and animals inside the home that was catching fire.

The 31-year-old, who also works as a maintainer for the Trumbull Highway Department, had just turned onto Haviland Drive around 4 a.m. local time when he spotted a vehicle on fire in a driveway, per The Connecticut Post.

"Pulling up, I definitely saw flames on the truck and flames on the house, which is what caught my eye," Bogen said. "I was thinking, 'This isn’t right, something should probably be done here.' "

Bogen “quickly” alerted his base and called 911 before attempting to help the occupants inside the home, LHFC said. The town employee began by blaring the air horn on his truck before racing over to the home and banging on the front door in hopes of getting the occupants’ attention, according to the Post and NBC affiliate WVIT.

Finally, a woman answered the door. Bogen said she had a look of “shock” on her face when he explained what was going on, per the Post.
“Once she realized I was being serious, it was like 'Oh, I need to get out of here,’ ” he recalled.

Luckily, the home’s seven occupants were able to escape unscathed. A 90-year-old man was among those rescued from the blaze, according to WVIT.

The LHFC said the first unit to arrive at the scene “found heavy fire in the garage” and “extending to the home.” The company credits Bogen’s “quick actions” for saving everyone inside.

Long Hill Volunteer Fire Department Chief Greg Sanfanandre said crews were unaware of Bogen’s actions until the fire was nearly out, according to WVIT.
“The oath we take to protect and serve, he lived up to that perfectly,” Sanfanandre said.

An investigation into the fire is ongoing, according to the LHFC.

Volunteer Connecticut Firefighter Credited for Saving Family, 3 Dogs from Blaze



Our classmate, Rita Skog, is sharing good news from her efforts to help thousands of people begin a new life.  She has been actively lobbying at the state capital in Hartford with CONECT for 5 years.  Five years is how long it has taken to finally get the Clean Slate law passed and implemented in Connecticut, and that happened as of January 1, 2024.  It expunges the criminal records for those with Misdemeanors & low level Felonies and no further criminal activity. Over 200,000 CT residents will have clean criminal records by this June - a second chance for them!  





Every time I ask for something that celebrates us, someone comes forward with photos and a story we can all enjoy.  Gloria Cerreta Manning and Sharon Smethurst Schwab bought a tasty pizza and took it with them when they went to visit our classmate, Joe Braca and his lovely wife, Annette.  Joe has been dealing with health issues and he has the best "nurse" possible in Annette!  The pictures were taken in front of an elaborate and very beautiful Christmas village display in the Braca home.  How kind of them to visit an old friend and to bring him food, too! 


Here is a recent response to my request for good news from our classmate Don Parker.  

Gloria, in response to your asking about how we are involved in good and uplifting things: I have been an Episcopal Priest for 55 years. Now that I am 80, I have a new international ministry of healing - on ZOOM! I lead a men's ministry for the International Order Of St. Luke Healing Ministries (OSL) and weekly train men to pray with the sick and minister to men from all over the USA and Canada, as well as Africa and the Caribbean. I am SO blessed to be doing this. Who says that we need to slow down at 80! Don

Ladies from the CHS Class of 1961 enjoying lunch.  From the left we have Nancy Pavone Ryan, Gloria Cerreta Manning, Sharon Smethurst Schwab, and Nancy Schupbach Kish.

You may have noted that I have frequently thanked Terry and Nancy Pavone Ryan for introducing us to Class Creator.  Again, I want to thank them for sending us the first of what I hope will be many pages of Good News coming from all of you.  Nancy was recently honored for her contribution to the Senior Fitness program in the community where they live in Virginia.  As Terry pointed out in his message to me, Nancy is too humble to brag about her accomplishments, so he stepped up and did it for her!  Congratulations, Nancy!  (PS here from me:  I think that 25th should be followed by Year because she isn't the 25th instructor, she has been serving in this capacity for 25 years!)