STAMFORD, CT - On behalf of the City of Stamford, the Jewish War Veterans
Fred Robbins Post 142 is pleased to announce the selection of Jay H. Sandak and Mary E. Sommer as the 2015 City of Stamford Citizens of the Year (COTY).
Jay and Mary were recognized as “persons who, in the opinion of the Selection Committee, have demonstrated a belief in interfaith harmony, possess the highest standards of responsibility in civic life, have helped in the promotion of projects for the public welfare and who have personally worked with distinction to benefit Stamford on a community-wide basis” – the criteria for selection of one of Stamford’s most prestigious community service/volunteer awards.
“This dynamic couple has quietly contributed so much of themselves to our City for four decades with their unique, steadfast and winning combination of commitment, insight, and integrity. Jay and Mary are inspiring role models in showing all of us how to give back,” said Mayor David Martin. “Their impact on Stamford over the years has enabled each and every one of us to benefit from their philanthropy and volunteerism, whether we knew it or not. I am proud to join the Committee in recognizing Jay and Mary with the 2015 Stamford Citizen of the Year Award.”
Jay Sandak is a partner at the law firm of Carmody Torrance Sandak & Hennessey LLP and president of the Herbert & Nell Singer Foundation. While Stamford has benefited in many ways from the Foundation’s support, Jay’s involvement with the City goes well beyond that as demonstrated by his commitment to the health, safety and quality of human services for people living and working here. His leadership experience is vast ranging from Board and Committee positions with the Child Guidance Center, Hands for Life, Shelter for the Homeless/Pacific House and United Way of Stamford to the Stamford EMS Foundation, where as its first Board president he was instrumental in introducing paramedic corps services for the City and in forging a joint effort between St. Joseph’s and Stamford Hospitals. Jay also was Co-Chairman of the City’s 17th Charter Revision Commission.
The Honorable Mary Sommer is a Superior Court Judge for the State of Connecticut. Mary’s service record is known for its passion on children’s mental health and legal rights, education and public/private initiatives. In addition to the many organizations that have benefited from her involvement on advisory boards for child advocacy programs, juvenile justice activities and prison
literacy programs, Mary has been a Board member and prominent supporter of the Child Guidance Center. Through her involvement with the Fairfield County Bar Association, Mary engaged colleagues to help establish at the Yerwood Center’s “Send Your Suits Back to Work” professional clothing drives, which enabled so many people in the community to return to work with dignity. She is a past president of the parent/faculty organization and the school board at King Low Haywood Thomas. Mary also serves on the boards of the Connecticut Appleseed Foundation for Law and Justice, the Herbert and Nell Singer Foundation, and Hope for Haiti.
Jay and Mary, who live in the Westover area of Stamford and have raised three sons here, are well known as a family for having turned their home into a bakery for the Yerwood Christmas celebration, delivering 60 pies, 300 brownies, 250 cupcakes and 30 cakes for 10 years.
Two upcoming events will celebrate Jay and Mary as the 2015 Citizens of the Year. The first is when their name plaque is added to the past recipients previously honored at Town Hall, and the second is the 71st annual Stamford Citizen of the Year dinner which will be held in May 2016.