Stephan Grozinger named Weston’s Citizen of the Year

Stephan Grozinger

Stephan Grozinger

A longtime member of the Weston Volunteer Fire Department has been named the town’s Citizen of the Year.

Stephan Grozinger, a local attorney, was named Citizen of the Year by the Weston Police Commission.  

The commission issued a statement saying, “Each year we recognize an outstanding citizen of Weston, one who rises above the many tireless volunteers working to make our town a unique place to live, and Stephan Grozinger was the commission’s unanimous choice this year.”

Jess DiPasquale, chairman of the Citizen of the Year Committee, said Grozinger’s work in public safety and his commitment to Weston’s quality of life made him the perfect choice for the honor.

Grozinger has a strong record of community service in Weston. He has been a member of the fire department for the past 18 years, has served as its vice president and secretary, and was named Firefighter of the Year twice. He served on Weston’s Planning and Zoning Commission for nine years, three as chairman, and is currently a member of the board of directors of the Aspetuck Land Trust.

He is the author of the recently published book Faith on a Stone Foundation: Free Will, Morality and the God of Abraham, which explores how faith makes sense in the absence of free will.

Grozinger lives on Lyons Plain Road with his wife, Claire Ingram, a commercial product photographer, and their daughter, Zoë, 13.

“I’d like to thank the Police Commission for this extraordinary honor,” Grozinger said. “But I don’t think I deserve it. Everyone in the fire department is part of a team and deserves this honor as much as, if not more than, I do.”

Working with volunteers in the fire department is extremely rewarding, he said. “Members of the department are hardworking and caring individuals who are devoted to helping their neighbors. It’s a wonderful community to be part of,” he said. “If someone calls 911 in Weston, we can mobilize dozens of highly trained firefighters and EMTs and over 80 tons of equipment in just a few minutes. That is really extraordinary.”

For the past 13 years, Grozinger has worked out of his home as a solo practitioner specializing in commercial real estate. He has also used his legal skills to help several local groups get their 501(c)(3) non-profit designations, including the Weston Food Pantry, Weston Football League, Lachat Town Farm, and Friends of the Weston Senior Center. He has done this work pro bono, with no charge to the groups.

Grozinger was nominated for Citizen of the Year by fellow firefighter Lou Dempsey, who, along with his wife, Maria, was named Citizen of the Year in 2011.

Dempsey and Grozinger met 14 years ago volunteering for the fire department, and have become good friends. “I nominated Stephan because he has given an enormous amount of his time to Weston and various committees and organizations,” Dempsey said.

Accident of geography

For a number of years, Grozinger was among the members who responded to the most fire calls in the department. He called that “an accident of geography.”

“Shortly after Claire and I bought our house on Lyons Plain Road, which is a stone’s throw away from the firehouse, we asked Dave Burns, who was a volunteer with the fire department, to inspect our chimney. As he was leaving, Dave said, ‘You live so close to the Lyons Plains fire station that I really can’t leave here unless I try to recruit you for the fire department.’”

Grozinger said it had never occurred to him until then that he could become a firefighter. He applied the following week and was accepted as a member of the department. Soon after, he obtained his fire apparatus operator’s license and began driving Engine 4.

“If I have had the opportunity to participate on a lot of calls, it was because I live so close to the fire station and because I work from home, so I am available to go on calls during the day,” he said.   

“My experience of Weston has been so enriched, and I have met so many lifelong friends by serving on the WVFD, P&Z, and the Aspetuck Land Trust,” Grozinger said.    

The public is invited to a ceremony honoring the Citizen of the Year on Friday, June 9, at 6 p.m. in the Meeting Room at Weston Town Hall. Refreshments will be served.

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