Gerry Shaw, a founding member of the Bethany Garden Club, was presented with the Connecticut Tribute Award for All-Around Excellence by the Federated Garden Clubs of Connecticut. The Awards Luncheon was held at the Aqua Turf Club on October 26th and attended by over 395 people including Regional Presidents and the National Garden Club President. The award was formally presented by Jane Waugh, President of the Federated Garden Clubs of Connecticut.
This honor is the highest individual state award and is only given when the Connecticut State Leadership Team feels a worthy candidate is presented for consideration. The Federated Garden Clubs of Connecticut are comprised of 128 individual clubs with over 6,700 members.
Gerry’s resume with the club is extraordinary and she is the only founding member with active leadership responsibilities. Gerry has held every office and position with a high standard of dedication and integrity over a period of 50 years. She has performed the duties of every office as the club began to define itself and its structure. She has been listed multiple times as President and Co-President, Secretary, and chairperson of the following committees: Environmental, Horticulture, Newsletter, Publicity, Hospitality, Fundraising, Meeting Notification, Flower Show, Yearbook and By-Laws. Those are just working titles. Gerry is not one to limit her contributions to her latest position. Her experience and respect has earned her the unofficial title of “Trusted Advisor”.
Last year the Executive Board of the Bethany Garden Club held a formal review of its By-Laws and Constitution. It was in this exercise that the depth and breadth of the experience that Gerry Shaw has had over the last 50 years shined through. Gerry was in the unique position to offer a history of the club that only she could share firsthand. With her explanations, you could feel the founding principles that those neighbors had in mind so many years ago when they began the club in her kitchen. But it doesn’t end there. Gerry kept up with the times as she herself transitioned over her 50 years as a member; becoming a wife, homeowner, mother, grandmother, great-grandmother, and widow. She remains a full-time working woman, still holding down a responsible and public job as the Woodbridge First Selectman’s assistant. She is well aware of the changing demands on people’s time and where the early rules may have become outdated. Her perspective is priceless and she has a deep respect earned from her many years of service.
The love she has for the club, for gardening and most of all for the club members is palatable. Gerry is always eager to help however she can and never shies away from volunteering. Some of her contributions have become tradition, like making her big beautiful swag for the New Haven Ronald McDonald House each Christmas. Her influence on the club since its foundation is unmatched and the entire Bethany Garden Club congratulates her on this great honor.
Pictured: Gerry Shaw Receives Prestigious All-Around Excellence Award from The Federated Garden Clubs of CT