Mike O’Brien, a champion of maintaining high-quality services to the town while reducing taxes through a savvy understanding of insurance instruments, will be honored at the Weston Democratic Town Committee’s spring gala, Sunday, June 2, 5 to 7 p.m., at the home of First Selectman Gayle Weinstein and Seth Weinstein.
Mr. O’Brien, who will be resigning his post on the finance board at the end of May, is being honored by the DTC with the John C. Hammerslough Award for exemplary initiative in public service.
“John was always very helpful to me. He was always the smartest guy in the room,” Mr. O’Brien said. “This award is very unexpected and I am very humbled that it is being given to me in his honor.”
An insurance broker and managing director with Marsh, Mr. O’Brien provides clients insurance against risks such as property, liability and terrorism. Three of his clients are American Express, the United Nations and the Port Authority of New York.
A member of the finance board since 2003, he was chairman from 2005 to 2011 and is currently vice chairman. He is a founding member of the town’s Insurance Advisory Committee and has been chairman since its inception.
Mr. O’Brien and the insurance committee were instrumental in moving the school district to becoming fully self-insured with respect to health insurance; this has proven to be very successful.
He also assisted the district with establishing an internal service fund as a safety net in the event that claims became unusually high any given year.
The insurance committee also researched and offered school district and town employees more and better products and services.
“Mike O’Brien has served the town well as chairman and vice chairman of the finance board,” said Ms. Weinstein. “He has also been a key member of the town’s Insurance Advisory Committee, which has helped save the town millions of dollars in insurance costs.
“On a personal note, I will miss working with Mike, as his support and advice has helped lead us to low budgets for the past five years.”
Twice president of Weston Kiwanis, Mr. O’Brien was instrumental in revitalizing the Weston Kiwanis Golf Classic. Monies raised were distributed among such organizations as Norwalk Hospital Pediatric Sleep Center, Weston Warm-Up Fund, Fairfield County Nursing and Hospice, Camp Sunshine, Homes for Hope, Purple Heart Homes, and other Weston community groups.
“Mike O’Brien is the type of individual that every community needs,” Don Gary, current president of Kiwanis, said. “He is intelligent and dedicated with a good sense of humor. I have known and worked with Mike for many years in his capacity as a member of the Board of Finance, where he kept a balance between being fiscally responsible and making sure that the needed programs were funded. [As a member of Kiwanis, he] is instrumental in programs and events that have raised and awarded funds through the Weston Kiwanis Foundation.”
Mr. O’Brien also became involved as a volunteer with the Weston Historical Society after his wife, Sandy, a former president of and active member in the historical society, introduced him to a variety of activities, including rolling up his sleeves and planting the gardens, as well as assisting in its annual Halloween festivities for the town’s children.
He and Ms. O’Brien are members of the historical society’s Founders Circle and Mr. O’Brien is one of the trustees.
The O’Briens have been married 32 years and between them have four children and seven grandchildren.
Perhaps the most telling observation of Mr. O’Brien’s character comes from selectman and former finance board member David Muller, who said, “Mike was a great tutor when I joined the Board of Finance. He answered any question I had and provided valuable input as we considered how to expand the investment opportunities for the town’s accounts. His work on insurance-related matters was also helpful, and I know that when he presents a recommendation it’s always been well-considered and beneficial. But most importantly, Mike has a wonderful heart and always knows the right thing to do.”
In honor and recognition of Mr. O’Brien being awarded the John C. Hammerslough Award, the Weston DTC will be making a donation to the Weston Kiwanis Foundation through funds raised at the spring gala.
To attend the gala and honor Mr. O’Brien, contact DTC Chairman Barbara Reynolds at BarbaraAReynolds@gmail.com or 203-227-5074. Contributions begin at $50 with Supporters donating $100 and Hosts donating $250 or above.
“Our spring gala offers the community an opportunity to enjoy an early evening of camaraderie in a beautiful setting while honoring Mike O’Brien for his service to our community,” Ms. Reynolds said. Appetizers and wine, beer, and other beverages will be served.
Contributions may also be mailed directly to the Weston DTC, P.O. Box 1172, Weston CT 06883. Checks should be made payable to Weston Democratic Town Committee.