Focus On Nicole Gerber: Staying AWARE of What Matters

Nicole is the co-director of AWARE CT, a volunteer run non-profit that works to make meaningful improvements in the lives of women and girls locally and worldwide. Since the quarantine, Nicole has shifted her focus away from running the organization until the social distancing ban has been lifted.   “I am now focused on ways AWARE can support our community through this crisis. We will be highlighting individuals and organizations that are working to support local businesses, first responders and people who are at greatest risk or in need.   I have had to develop a new set of routines for myself and my children. I am now spending the bulk of my day helping my children stay focused on their schoolwork and maintain a healthy schedule that balances academics with exercise and social time.   I am blown away by the number of individuals and organizations that are springing into action! I am blown away by the number of individuals and organizations that are springing into action! I truly believe that Westport will get through this crisis and will come out the other side a stronger, better, and more empathetic community.   Like everyone else, my family is struggling to define a “new normal.” We are all very human, and reacting to social distancing in our own ways. However, we have also made a group decision to view this situation as a gift. We’re really getting to know each other, learning to listen and react with empathy, using our individual strengths to help each other out in moments of weakness, and finding humor in the stressful moments. There have been more than a few of these, but we are finding our way, and a lot of laughter.  To read more of the museums long lens oral histories please visit the Westport In Focus page.

Focus On Bill Chase: Things Are Same, But Different

Bill Chase has lived in Westport for 45 years in the same home where he and his wife Katie raised their son, Eric. Katie, who was a retired editor, archives volunteer and board member at Westport Museum (then Westport Historical Society), passed away in 2015.  At 79, Bill is now retired from his job in marketing for American Roland Foods where he worked for 41 years, commuting to New York City and traveling nationwide. With respect to the current situation he says, “The last seven or eight years I worked for Roland, I worked at home so it’s much the same. On the other hand, my life is changed because, at my age, I realize it’s not so smart to be out shopping and doing stuff I might normally do. I did go to grocery store once or twice but then decided it’s not a good idea. Several neighbors and friends have already offered to purchase groceries for me. People are being considerate and helpful, which is not too surprising.”  Bill does miss volunteering in the archives both at Westport Museum and Greens Farms Church where he also sings in the choir. He has attended virtual church services noting, “more people seem to be coming than to in-person sermons”, he does miss the music but the church is already working on offering virtual chorale.  He wants people to know that he’s “enjoyed living in Westport 45 years, and I’m proud of what my wife has done and what my family has done socially and professionally. It’s been interesting and fun for me to come back to the place where my family started,” he said, noting that his ancestors came to the American Colonies in the 17th and 18th centuries, settling in Connecticut, Massachusetts, Maine and New Hampshire before emigrating to the Midwest where he largely grew up.   I think everyone is working hard to keep the community informed and I think that’s great. His impressions of how the community is coping with the pandemic? “Except for some foolish crowding on the beach when folks should have known better, the Westport community has responded well. There’s a lot of coverage on good things in town. I see lots of folks walking along my street. I think everyone is working hard to keep the community informed and I think that’s great.” …