NAUGATUCK — The Naugatuck Exchange Club will recognize four outstanding members of the community at its 15th annual Community Champions Dinner.
This year’s “community champion” recipients are Capt. Michael Chatfield, firefighter of the year; Sgt. Daniel Nork, police officer of the year; Tiffany Deitelbaum, educator of the year; and Rocco Corso, citizen of the year.
The annual dinner, which is also one of the club’s four main fundraisers of the year, is March 8 at the Crystal Room, 98 School St. Cocktail hour is at 5:30 p.m. and dinner will be served at 6:30 p.m. Tickets for the dinner are $40. For more information or to buy tickets, call Exchange Club Chairperson Nancy Buckmiller at (203) 232-8338.
Citizen of the Year
Rocco Corso, a 61-year-old Waterbury resident, is the owner of Corso Printing, which has offices in Naugatuck and Stratford.
Corso worked his way up from a pressman in 1971 to the owner of his own company. In addition to his successful career, Corso works hard to help and stay involved in the communities where he does business.
Corso has served as the chairman of the Naugatuck Chamber of Commerce twice and has sat on the board for over 25 years. He was also a member of the Naugatuck Rotary Club for many years, serving as chairs on committees and as the organization’s president.
Corso is a founding member of the Naugatuck YMCA Chamber Golf Outing. He has also sat on the Waterbury Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors and the Naugatuck Red Cross Board. He is a member of the Exchange Club, the Naugatuck Elks Club and the Waterbury Rotary Club.
Corso said he doesn’t volunteer to receive awards, but described being named citizen of the year as a great recognition.
“It’s truly an honor to accept the award,” Corso said.
Corso said he’s been so active in volunteering his time in Naugatuck because the borough was there for him when he first opened his business.
“They supported me when I first started up. I think when that does happen you should be able to give back to the community,” Corso said.
Corso said volunteering is also part of his nature.
“When we grew up we always helped other people all the time,” Corso said. “It’s the right thing to do.”
Firefighter of the Year
Capt. Michael Chatfield, a borough native and a 1992 graduate of Naugatuck High School, began his career at the Naugatuck Fire Department when it was still a volunteer organization.
Firefighting is a family legacy for Chatfield, who followed in the career path of his grandfather, uncle and father.
“I remember my father going out on calls and wanting to do that. I joined the Naugatuck Volunteer Fire Department and never turned back,” Chatfield said.
Chatfield was hired as a Naugatuck firefighter in 1997. He became a lieutenant in 2005 and was promoted to captain in 2014. He is a recipient of a unit citation from the Naugatuck Fire Commission.
During his 18 years with the department, Chatfield has held numerous positions within the Naugatuck Firefighters Local 1219 and has helped with many union events that aid the community.
Chatfield has and continues to coach youth sports teams in the borough, including with Union City Little League, Little Pal basketball, Naugatuck Travel Baseball and Peter J. Foley Little League. He also served as a mentor at Hop Brook Elementary School for two years.
Chatfield is grateful to have been nominated by his peers and be named firefighter of the year. He said what keeps him going after two decades with the department is a passion for the job.
“Anytime you ask a firefighter why when everybody is running out of burning building he is running in, that’s what it comes down to. It’s great to be able to go out and help people in the community when they are in need,” Chatfield said.
Educator of the Year
Tiffany Deitelbaum, a Naugatuck native, has been an educator in the borough for the past 20 years.
“I enjoy being with children and helping them learn not only the content they need for their academic classes but about life. When I watch a student write a brilliant thesis statement or discover the theme of their favorite novel I get just as excited as they do,” Deitelbaum said.
Deitelbaum began her career as a math teacher at City Hill Middle School, where she taught for 11 years before taking a position as the district math consultant. She worked as a math consultant for four years before returning to the classroom to teach English for four years. She is currently an instructional coach at City Hill.
“Being an educator is one of the toughest jobs out there, but it is also one of the most rewarding. Teaching is a form of art in that you are creating and molding our most precious resource, young minds,” Deitelbaum said. “Just as I believe every student can and wants to learn I believe I have to find out how they learn and what makes them want to learn. This belief is my guiding light day after day, year after year.”
Over the last two decades Deitelbaum has run numerous clubs, teams, and initiatives in the district. She has also volunteered for numerous educational committees including the principal’s leadership council, district curriculum committee, middle school visionary team and NPS technology advisory team.
Deitelbaum said being named the educator of the year is very rewarding.
“I am so proud to say I teach in Naugatuck. I am grateful to be able to serve the community that I was raised in and live in. It is incredibly rewarding to be recognized for my efforts in education because I have always watched in awe as hundreds of inspiring teachers in the district work miracles everyday with children and it appears someone thinks I should be honored among them,” she said.
Police Officer of the Year
Sgt. Daniel Norck, a Thomaston resident, began his career with the Southbury Police Department in 2001 before joining the Naugatuck Police Department in 2008. He was promoted to sergeant in 2014 and is currently the evening shift patrol sergeant
Over his 14-year career, Norck has served as a DARE instructor, a traffic accident reconstructionist and is currently a member of the Central Naugatuck Valley Regional Accident Investigation Team.
Norck, who has a bachelor’s and master’s degree in administration of justice from Salve Regina University in Newport, R.I., has received two state police lifesaving awards and two Naugatuck police unit citations.
Norck could not be reached for comment.