As Nutmeg Big Brothers Big Sisters lauds David Director at its Children’s Champions Awards next week, his father — the group’s founder — will join him in spirit.
The first Arthur Director Memorial Award will be given to his son Wednesday at a gala to be held at the Connecticut Historical Society in Hartford.
The mentoring organization aims to improve the lives of youth, encouraging them to enter adulthood through a pairing between at-risk children and adults who volunteer a few hours, a couple times a month, committing to one child, according to the groups mission.
in college, David Director went on to earn a solid reputation for community service and dedication, with a long list of other awards to prove it.
Established after Arthur Director’s death on Sept. 25, it will identify others that carry on the legacy of commitment, service and philanthropic leadership in the community, according to Andrew Fleischman, president and CEO.
Along with the late Middletown businessman Bernie Fields, Arthur Director first introduced the Big Brothers Big Sisters chapter to the state in the mid-1960s. His wife, Edythe Director, was also known for her deep community commitment.
In fact, his parents were so active — heading out to serve the community up to six nights a week, that the younger Director couldn’t keep up, he joked. The bold pace of his parents’ life together continued until days before his mother fell ill, nearly a decade before predeceasing her husband.
“We’d be sitting on the couch just watching them, through the window, go out,” David Director chuckled, thinking about he and his wife, Carol. “We couldn’t keep up.”
The couple raised three kids together — Todd, Brett and Jenna, named a Big Sister of the Year in 2013.
His daughter’s award “warms my heart,” said David Director Thursday. “I’m really fortunate.”
Connecticut Lighting Centers, the business passed to him by his father, has expanded through decades of focus, said the owner. It’s still a family business, now employing the next generation, including older son Todd, daughter Jenna and two in-laws.
“So, that’s really cool, and my parents would be thrilled,” he said.
Feeling humbled and a bit emotional about the upcoming award, David Director described “setting his sights high” early on in life, inspired by his parent’s example. They “always tried to do the right thing” and served the larger community in many ways, especially to support local youth.
“It’s not just about money,” said the president of Connecticut Lighting Centers, located in Hartford and Southington, and Restoration Lighting Gallery in Hartford. “It’s time; involvement.”
Both parents, first-generation European immigrants, learned the value of working hard very early in life, especially his father, who grew up impoverished, he said.
“You had to work to put food on the table,” said David Director.
His father put himself through college and was “an incredibly hard worker with a high work ethic,” he added.
Arthur Director was involved in many high-profile Middletown community organizations over the years, including the Greater Middletown Jaycees, B’nai B’rith Lodge of Middletown, Congregation Adath Israel Synagogue, Northern Middlesex County YMCA, Middlesex Hospital, Middlesex County Chamber of Commerce, the Better Business Bureau of Central Connecticut, Middletown Little League, Middlesex United Way and many others. His son also carried on that tradition, serving on numerous boards and committees, helping the community.
“From my parents’ perspective, from my perspective and from my family’s perspective, it’s about doing good and helping others,” said David Director. “Hopefully, I’m passing that along to my kids.”
Nutmeg Big Brothers Big Sisters mentor qualifications include a strong desire to influence the life of a young person, a willingness to spend at least six to 10 hours a month with a child, a rigorous background check and spotless driving record, according to the organization.
Nutmeg Big Brothers Big Sisters is the Connecticut chapter of a broader organization, Big Brothers Big Sisters, founded in 1904 by Ernest Coulter. The organization is the largest volunteer mentoring network in the state, serving thousands of children and operating in 111 cities and towns, according to its website.
The organization’s growth and longevity is supported by its unique mission, Fleischmann said in a press release.
“Oftentimes, a Big Brother or Sister falls in love with their Little and it becomes family more than anything else,” said Fleischmann. “There are not many organizations out there that aim to add love to a kid’s life, and essentially that is what we do,” he explained.
By Kathleen Schassler, The Middletown Press
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