The Outstanding Service Award was established by the RMA Board on September 1, 1984 for the purpose of recognizing any member or non-member who has made outstanding contributions to enhance the presence, image, goals and well-being of the RMA over a number of years. This award recognizes members who might not be officers, directors or even committee heads. It brings to our attention RMA members who, over time, have made a significant contribution to the overall success of the organization.
Date and Recipients
11/10/2021 Len Carusi, Peter Stern and Jim Fishbein
Len Carusi has been an RMA member for just two years and during that time, he has risen to a level of service that is second to none. He attended Fordham University and received a bachelor’s degree in chemistry and mathematics. He has worked as a Benefits Consultant and Actuary for major consulting firms and retired as an Account Director from Towers Watson serving several key clients.
Len’s retirement hobby as an income tax advisor has become a second career. He is an IRS Enrolled Agent, a member of the American Academy of Actuaries and an Associate of the Society of Actuaries. His hobbies include computers, mathematics and environmental issues. Len and his wife have called New Canaan home for more than 17 years.
After joining RMA, Len stepped right in at full speed with everything he has and continues to do for us:
- He maintains the emailing lists of members, press, and interested parties.
- He manages our Mailchimp bulk emailing service.
- He writes and sends out meeting notices.
- He sends out Speaker promo sheets and is one of the key people that makes the speaker program run smoothly.
- He leads and organizes the projector operators.
- He is a back-up Zoom host when there is a need.
- According to those with whom he works, “Len keeps a level head at all times!”
To summarize, Len is considered by his RMA colleagues as an indispensable team player that makes our tech functions and program presentations successful. We consider him a pleasure to work with, a responsive communicator who is always willing to go the extra mile to get things right.
Peter Stern, who has a BA from the University of Rochester, joined the RMA in 2016 and it was immediately apparent that he would get involved in many activities.
He became a Volunteer Committee Chairman for at least two terms and implemented Digital Hours and Digital Hour Certificates.
He became very active at the annual RMA Picnic as he took over readying the Beverages and Watermelon.
At the annual RMA Banquet he was responsible for Names, Tables & Meals as he generated name tags with meal selection indicators and other activities for at least three Banquets. This streamlined the Banquet event order by table #, meal choice, and final badge distribution.
He was elected as Membership Chairmanship and after being a Member at Large on the RMA Board of Directors during which he handled data entry as backup to the Membership Chairman.
During the COVID emergency, he added some special-processes for our health:
• a ZOOM New Member Induction Procedure
• a tracking process for all meeting attendees to verify vaccination and create contact-tracing records.
In addition, he has fine-tuned the EXCEL Membership roster and keeps it updated.
Peter continues to be a mover and a shaker and has never shied away from a full plate within the RMA.
Jim Fishbein joined RMA in December 2014. He lives in Rye Brook, NY with his wife Jenelle. Jim was born in Chicago in 1946 and attended Cal Tech in Pasadena, California, receiving an MBA from Stamford Graduate School of Business. His career was in operations and general management with Accenture. He later was a consultant in the pharmaceutical industry. His travels have taken him to all 50 states and most of the countries in the EU. His broad interests include reading, classical music, theater and foreign affairs. He is also a frequent participant in RMA Walks.
Jim became an active and supportive RMA member shortly after joining RMA. In April 2015 Jim and Hollister Sturges were appointed co-chairs of the Program Committee. Shortly thereafter, when Bernie Schneider passed on, they took on the challenge of writing press releases for our speakers. Hollister recalls Jim as a dynamo for change and innovation.
While on the Program Committee, Jim was especially effective in introducing some systems into the program planning process.
• He pioneered a written mission statement for the Program Committee
• He set annual goals
• He drafted Guidelines for Presenters
• He created the Speaker Schedule
• He created the RMA Program Idea List
• He drafted and edited numerous press releases for programs and helped standardized the format
• He arranged for WGCH and Tony Savino to do a weekly live interview with RMA weekly speaker, giving RMA broad publicity and recognition in the community
• He conducted surveys about the types of programs and topics RMA members liked best
• Beyond that, he has been very helpful, pitching in when needed to help programs run smoothly, be it manning the microphones for Q&A or hosting a table at lunch for our speakers.
In May 2018, Jim was elected as RMA’s Secretary of the Board of Directors and served until July of 2021. He was very attentive to accuracy which was especially difficult when we were rewriting the RMA By-Laws. Incidentally, that three-year period covers the Presidencies of all three members of this year’s Outstanding Service Awards committee, namely Jerry Schwendeman, Russ Harden and Tad Larrabee.
Jim has blessed RMA with his intelligence, work ethic and common sense, using his administrative insights to help RMA run smoothly. He continues to provide technical assistance for presentations. And he recently managed a membership survey with Tim Brooks concerning how to improve our weekly membership meetings.
Jim is also dedicated to other organizations with which he is involved such as being a facilitator for a book club, a major contributor to the Foreign Affairs interest group and a prolific contributor to the Greenwich Library discussion groups.
11/18/2020 Hollister Sturges and Horst Tebbe
Hollister Sturges, who has a BA from Cornell and a Masters from U.C. Berkeley, expressed an interest in Program Planning on his Retired Men’s Association Membership application back in 2011. That interest has certainly blossomed since he became Co-Chairman and then Chairman of the RMA Speakers Committee almost six years ago. During that time, the Monthly Program Speaker Committee meeting under Hollister’s leadership has grown to 28 RMA members. They have selected over 250 different Speakers over almost a six year period. During his monthly Speaker meetings, he continues to ensure that all potential speaker candidates have been thoroughly vetted by the Speaker Committee and can present thought provoking and engaging programs to a general audience.
He and Co-chairman Jim Fishbein drafted the first mission statement for the Program Committee and Sturges led the committee to adopt a set of Speaker Policies and Procedures which clarify the criteria for selecting speakers and are utilized during the monthly Program Committee meetings. Additionally, Sturges and Fishbein initiated several publicity measure which significantly increased attendance from the community, such as a five-minute interview for the Speaker with a local radio station every Monday morning prior to the Speakers presentation, and the quarterly distribution of rack cards listing the program schedule. Sturges and the committee wrote press releases on the focus of each program and the background of each speaker which were widely distributed to the media. In addition, he and the committee have formed partnerships with other institutions, such the Greenwich Library, the Greenwich Symphony Orchestra, and Lamont Doherty, that have led to stimulating collaborative programming.
Due to the COVID pandemic, it should be noted that Hollister showed his special leadership qualities as he adapted our Speaker program to Zoom presentations and organizing Speakers from a distance which also gave us the opportunity to bring Speakers to the RMA digitally which would not have been possible because they were not within commuting distance.
The Greenwich Retired Men’s Association Speakers’ presentation lasts for one hour consisting of about 40 minutes for the Speaker’s talk and leaves the remainder for the Q&A session which is usually lively and engenders interesting responses from the audience.
Horst Tebbe lives in Old Greenwich. He was born in Hamburg, Germany in 1940 and came to America in 1952. He is married to Elizabeth.
Sponsored for membership in the RMA in June of 2010 by Bob Luce and Chuck Standard, Horst has become a very active member of the Association. He first became involved with the Membership Committee as the late Jim Fahy and Doug Taylor were stepping aside after many years of service. His computer skills came in handy as the files of the committee where being upgraded and expanded to include retired members and wives of deceased members. He has now moved on to be a member of the RMA Computer Technology group. After Paul Curtis, not a member, stopped his edit involvement of our RMA meetings and the Town of Greenwich public meetings, Horst stepped in. He, along with Steve Meyers, became the editors of the recorded RMA speaker programs that where taped each week after the Membership meetings. As time went on with his involvement at GCTV in Greenwich, Horst took over the scheduling of all the programs being broadcast by the TV Station.
Since the pandemic outbreak, he has stepped in to assist Hollister Struggle in getting the RMA back in front of our local audience by setting up the weekly Zoom Broadcast of the RMA speakers program. He has also setup the weekly RMA Membership meeting under the Zoom platform with a half hour of open conversation time for all the members to talk with each other as they would in an in-person atmosphere.
And if all that is not enough to have on one’s platform, Horst has joined the Board of the Call-a-Ride organization here in Greenwich. With the pandemic making all live meetings come to a halt, he used his Zoom knowledge to allow the Board to meet each month so it could carry on.
Our thanks and gratitude go out to Horst for all his volunteer work with us at the RMA and with the Town of Greenwich.
11/13/2019 Arnold Gordon & Chet Risio
Arnold Gordon is a man who rarely says no when asked to help do something. He joined RMA in January of 2012 and since then has contributed his time (actually 513 total hours– 362 outside & 142 inside – during 2019) and wisdom, and wonderful sense of humor to the RMA cause. Over the years, he served on the Board of Directors, actively participated in the Program Committee, became a recorder at the volunteer desk and today is our weekly coordinator of good humor. He is also a CBB Scribe and served on a special committee to recommend changes to our new membership process.
While Arnold Gordon spends part of the year in Florida, he still manages to achieve more things for RMA in just part of the year than most men. He helped organize our Limerick Contests and Clerihew Contests (a short comic or nonsensical verse, typically in two rhyming couplets with lines of unequal length and referring to a famous person) which no one really understood but we all laughed and applauded none the less. He was one of the members who helped establish the mentoring program and always seems to have some insight to contribute about a broad range of topics. He is respected for his wisdom as much as he is for hosting assorted frivolous contests like the most outlandish tie contest at our Christmas Meeting.
Chet Risio is over 90 years of age this year …although you would never know it from all that he does. Chet acts like a 70-year-old energy bunny. He joined RMA in January 2013.
Chet is no withering flower. After being inducted, he became a CBB scribe….a job of some importance involving recording RMA doings from notes taken during our weekly business meetings. After a period of time, he took over the leadership role as Chairman of the Cigar Box Bulletin Standing Committee. This meant he not only scheduled the scribes but was their chief editor and responsible for seeing that the CBB was produced and published regularly every week. He stepped down from that job only during the fall of 2019.
One day, he had a brainstorm. Frustrated that so many good men seemed to have such good stories to tell about themselves, Chet set up the RMA Member Profile program. This series, which appears monthly in the CBB, is intended to allow RMA members to get to know one another better. Sadly, more often than not we would get to know more about a member from his obituary than during his lifetime. Chet changed that. His member profiles draw out those stories we are usually missing in our regular conversations. So far, he has published 33 Member Profiles.
Chet more recently had a second brainstorm, stating that: We have all had incidents in our lives that shaped us, brought us joy or conflict, gave us a direction we had never contemplated, incidents where we came out as heroes or victims. Thanks to Chet Risio, RMA has started a new program that reflects those incidents, allowing members to share funny or sad experiences as told to our members. He calls these “Human Interest Stories” where a Member steps before us all on a Wednesday morning and relates a significant incident in their lives in about five minutes.
These two programs have been extremely well received by the members and added a wonderful dimension to our understanding of one another. Chet is one of those fellows who is regularly contributing to RMA and we are using the Special Service Award to recognize his efforts.
11/15/2018 Ted Spool
(photo, L to R) Peter Uhry, Ralph Viggiano, Ted Spool, Don Conway
Ted is a classic recipient of this award. He is a quiet doer. The selection committee, composed of the past three RMA Presidents, felt that Ted’s initiatives in the area of organizing and running the outdoor summer tennis programs alone merits his being an honoree. But Ted has given much more to the organization including demonstrating his technical skills behind the RMA video camera.
Ted is modest about what he has done and what he does. Even after illness set him back from playing racket sports, he continued to contribute to the camera work and make his presence known at meetings.
11/15/2017 Steve Myers
(photo, L to R) Peter Uhry, Ralph Viggiano, Steve Myers and Bob Phillips
Steve Myers grew up in Stamford. He graduated from RPI in 1958 with a Bachelors degree in Physics and worked as a Perkin Elmer scientist for 25 years. He obtained a PhD in Physics from New York University in 1976 and later developed an instrument to analyze DNA.
Active in the Nuclear Freeze movement in the 1980s, he was elected president of the Greenwich Forum on War and Peace. Steve later volunteered at Greenwich High helping students develop a wide variety of instruments in order to compete in national and international science competitions. Steve serves on the Science Committee and the Board of Directors of the Bruce Museum.
Within the RMA, Steve has organized numerous programs on scientific subjects including his talk on NASA’s Mars Rover “Curiosity” and a joint talk on “Proving Einstein Right on Gravity Waves and Relativity Theory”. He has sponsored speakers from the Lamont-Doherty Laboratories, arranged two RMA Special Events trips to the Lamont labs and sponsored numerous science presentation at the RMA. He has been active behind the scenes editing videos of RMA speakers each week and as a member of the technical team for our meetings.
11/8/2017 Mike Ryan
(photo, L to R) Bob Phillips, Mike Ryan, Ralph Viggiano and Peter Uhry
Mike grew up in Northern California. He graduated from Saint Ignatius College Preparatory in San Francisco in 1955 and then went on to obtain degrees in Political Science from Santa Clara University and in International Marketing from the Thunderbird School of Global Management. Mike also attended the University of Grenoble in France.
His professional career began with stints at Pan American World Airways in San Francisco and Radio Menag in Marseille, France.
In late 1964, Mike joined Texaco where he had a 35 years career, 22 years of which were spent abroad beginning with 15 years in French speaking West African countries and followed by 7 years in London. He held various downstream marketing positions in Africa followed by managerial assignments with Texaco’s International Sales Department in both London and in the United States selling jet fuel to airlines throughout the world. Mike retired from Texaco in 1999.
In retirement, Mike has been active in various volunteer activities. He is a past president of the RMA with membership going back to 2000 and 10 years service on the RMA board. Mike also is a past president of Call-A-Ride and to date has been a driver for 17 years with that organization. He volunteered for 13 years at Greenwich Hospital and for the past 18 seasons has been a backstage tour guide at the Metropolitan Opera.
Mike and his wife Susan have been married for 53 years and have two children and four grandchildren.
11/09/2016 Jim Fahy
(photo L to R) Ralph Viggiano & Jim Fahy; background, Mike Smith &Bob Phillips
In recognition of Jim Fahy’s contributions to the RMA for over ten years. Jim is and has been the most prominent figure at RMA’s Annual Picnic, Annual Dinner and weekly meetings for over ten years. He is usually the first person we see waiting to greet us and he takes charge of all activities. His countenance assures us that our meetings are run in an orderly manner. Jim’s presence on the Board Of Directors was a welcomed addition to the many other responsibilities that adds to the RMA’s success.
05/21/14 Bernard Schneider, Tad Larrabee, Horst Tebbe, Ralph Viggiano
(photo, L to R) Ralph Viggiano, George Shaddock, Tad Larrabee and Bernard Schneider; Horst Tebbe is missing
05/01/13 George Shaddock
01/11/12 Tom Healy, George Shaddock
01/19/11 John DeCsepel, Rich Limbacher, Peter McSpadden
01/13/10 Bill Dynan, Leon Freeman, Doug Taylor
09/25/08 Robert Bishop, George Chelwick, John Osterberg, Michael Parise, Donald Sargeant
04/25/07 Doug Francefort, John Seel
04/19/06 Sal DeAngelo
03/10/04 Keith Heyman, Bill Lehren*
04/09/03 Warren Dennison, Leon Freeman
03/01/02 Charles Livingston, Chuck Standard
03/01/01 Bob Kenney
03/01/00 John Mills
03/01/99 Dom Cogliandro, Bob Button
03/11/98 Thomas Ashwell
12/13/95 John T. Connolly
03/19/95 Anthony “Tony” Bologna, Henry Jacobsen
11/23/93 H. Ford Dickie
07/28/93 George Manning
01/08/92 Howard Conley
05/30/90 Fred Sullaway
09/20/89 Bob Taylor
06/17/87 Jim Cain
09/03/86 Bill VanBrunt
02/21/86 Waldo “Wally” Pennels
11/06/85; Al Lorenz
* awarded posthumously