Rotary Club to honor Nurnberger

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Bryan Nurnberger

NAUGATUCK — At every Rotary Club meeting, members recite the four-way test of the things they think, say, or do: Is it the truth? Is it fair to all concerned? Will it build goodwill and better friendships? Will it be beneficial to all concerned?

The actions of Bryan Nurnberger ace the test.

Nurnberger, a Southport resident who is from Naugatuck, is this year’s recipient of the Naugatuck Rotary Club’s Paul Harris Award.

The award, named after the founder of Rotary, is given annually to someone in the community who has exemplified outstanding professional achievement while maintaining very high ethical standards.

Nurnberger fits the bill to a tee.

Nurnberger is the founder and president of Simply Smiles Inc., a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing bright futures for impoverished children. Nurnberger started the southern Connecticut-based organization in 2003 after vacationing in Mexico and seeing the impoverished state children in the area of Oaxaca, Mexico live in.

The foundation’s first project was the Casa Hogar Benito Juarez Children’s Home in Oaxaca City, Mexico, which is home to nearly 80 children, according to Simply Smiles’ website. Since then, Simply Smiles has helped to build a second children’s home in Oaxaca, Mexico.

The organization’s current projects include a “village project” that includes monthly food distributions to a remote mountain village in southern Oaxaca, Mexico. Simply Smiles also aids children and their families on the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe Reservation in South Dakota, as well as 28 families that live off a garbage dump in Oaxaca, Mexico.

The organization also throws birthday parties for children living in orphanages and spends Christmas morning handing out presents to children living in the dump, according to its website.

“We believe creating just one smile on a child’s face can change their life forever. We’ve seen it a thousand times, and we cherish each and every time a child simply smiles,” wrote Nurnberger on the organization’s website.

Simply Smiles is run by a network of donors and volunteers lead by Nurnberger.

“He’s an extraordinary young man,” said Laurie Yelding, a member of the Rotary Club’s Board of Directors.

Yelding said the club had Nurnberger as a guest this year and was impressed by all he has accomplished. Yelding said Nurnberger saw a need and jumped in “with both feet.”

“Isn’t it pretty amazing,” Yelding said of Nurnberger’s actions.

Nurnberger could not be reached for comment as of this post.

Nurnberger will be honored during the club’s Foundation Dinner Nov. 19 from 6:30 to 9 p.m. at The Crystal Room, 98 School St. Dinner begins at 7 p.m. followed by the presentation of the award. Tickets are $40 per person. To RSVP, call Jenny Lennon at (203) 231-3093 or John McCormack at (203) 651-9634.