MONROE, CT — Monroe Town Councilman Terry Rooney was honored as Republican of the Year at the Monroe Republican Town Committee’s annual Lincoln Reagan Dinner at the Stone Barn at Whitney Farms on April 21.
Other honorees included Town Council Vice Chair Enid Lipeles, who won the Kay Antrim Lifetime Achievement Award, and Nicole Lupo, an alternate member of the Planning Zoning Commission, who received the Republican Rising Star Award.
“It was a great evening,” Monroe Republican Town Committee Chairman Ryan Condon said. “It was great to get everyone together again after a hiatus of these events after COVID, and just to honor all these members of our community for volunteering their time for this town. They do it out of the goodness of their hearts just to help Monroe function as the great town it is.”
A little over 100 guests attended the dinner, including First Selectman Ken Kellogg, Chris Silhavey, a representative from Republican State Central, former Monroe Democratic Town Committee Chair Patricia Paniccia and her husband Domenic, who serves as an alternate on the Planning and Zoning Commission.
Though State Rep. Tony Scott, R-112th, could not make it, he sent a citation from the state in honor of those earning awards.
Condon said Rooney was chosen for his service on the Town Council, for spearheading the project for the Monroe Volunteer Emergency Medical Service’s headquarters as chair of the building committee, and for serving as a vital part of the RTC vacancy committee, interviewing Republican and Unaffiliated candidates for town boards and commissions.
Rooney is a former Bridgeport police officer and Condon said officers from Monroe and other towns showed up to support him.
“Thank you to all my fellow Republicans and Monroe citizens that continue to let me do what I do in the town of Monroe,” Rooney said. “Thank you for believing in my visions for our town through the many chairmanships and capacities in which I have contributed through the years. Working tirelessly for the town is in my blood and receiving this award is one of the greatest honors of my life.”
“To get recognized for the years of dedicated commitment is an unexpected contribution to the legacy of not only myself but my Canfield family roots that have been on this land for over 200 years,” he said. “I have personally enjoyed every moment of my service to Monroe and while the triumphs have been amazing, the challenges have made me better as a person and in so many areas of my life.”
“From the bottom of my heart, ‘thank you’ and I look forward to future challenges as my public service continues in the town our families call home,” Rooney said.
Condon said Enid Lipeles won the Lifetime Achievement Award, not just for her many years as a teacher in town, but also her years of service on many town boards and commissions.
“There is really no debate,” Condon said of who could win the award. “We hope for many more years of continued service to the town of Monroe from Enid.”
Lipeles was an award-winning chemistry teacher at Masuk High School for 42 years before her retirement in 2007. She was recognized as the Monroe Teacher of the Year in 1990 and as a finalist for Connecticut Teacher of the Year in 1991. Lipeles was the Outstanding Connecticut High School Science Teacher for 1995-96.
During her service in town government, she was chair of the Parks and Recreation Commission, the Planning and Zoning Commission and the Town Council, where she has served since 2001.
In 2013, Lipeles was named Monroe’s Outstanding Citizen. She was also a Republican of the Year.
She and Ralph, her husband of 60 years, have lived in Monroe since 1965, where they raised their three children, all who went through the Monroe school system. The couple has seven grandchildren.
“I try to help people whenever I can and I try to be a leader,” Lipeles said. “Ryan mentioned all the things I’ve done and I said, ‘wow, I guess that’s why I never got Wife of the Year,'” she joked. “When I joined the Republican Party, Jews were usually Democrats, so my parents sat shiva for me.”
A Rising Star
Condon said Nicole Lupo was named the Republican Rising Star for her service as a political newcomer, volunteering as an alternate on the Planning and Zoning Commission, and for her work as the RTC’s correspondence secretary.
Whenever Republicans put a candidate forward to fill a board vacancy, Condon said Lupo prepares an official notice to be sent to the first selectman, so he can put it on the Town Council’s meeting agenda for a vote.
“I see a bright future for Nicole when it comes to local politics,” Condon said.
“I am overwhelmed with gratitude to have been selected to receive the Republican Rising Star Award,” Lupo said. “Giving back to this community is especially dear to my heart. Thank you for this recognition. It motivates me to continue to work hard for the residents of this town. Congratulations to Terry and Enid on your well deserved awards!”
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