For their dedication to St. Vincent's Foundation and unrelenting compassionate care for cancer patients, Dick and Linda Felner were presented with an award during the 11th Annual Sports Gala.
But it wasn't just any award. It was the David Felner Caregiver Award — the one created in honor of their son who passed away from cancer in 2002.
David was a Stratford firefighter, and the award in his name is given each year to a first responder who has shown outstanding care and compassion for cancer patients.
“Dick and Linda Felner have been at the heart of this event from its inception 11 years ago," said The Foundation’s Executive Director, Lyn McCarthy. "They were inspiring caregivers to their son, and to so many others in the community."
"Thanks to Dick and Linda Felner, we at St. Vincent’s SWIM Across the Sound, have been able to provide much needed support and assistance to so many first responders," she continued. "We are sincerely grateful for the legacy they have shared by allowing us to honor their son all these years.”
Dick Felner, Fairfield's Fire Chief, and his wife, Linda, were both honored and humbled by the award. Chief Felner stated that it never crossed their minds that he and his wife would be chosen, but to be presented an award in memory and in the name of their son carried deep meaning for them.
Three hundred people attended St. Vincent Medical Center Foundation’s 11th Annual Sports Gala to honor First Responders throughout Connecticut. Master of Ceremonies, Rich Coppola, Sports Director of FOXCT, was the Master of Ceremonies, and Mookie Wilson, who made history with one of the most memorable plays in baseball in 1986, was the keynote speaker.
"I learned that it’s what do you do that makes you stand out, and when people say your name, there is an expectation," Wilson said. "When people say, ‘St. Vincent’s,’ there is an expectation. When people say, ‘First Responders,’ there is an expectation – an expectation to be more and to give more that has to be supported by. It’s not your name that makes you special, it’s what you do and what people have grown to expect of you when they hear or say your name.”