Barbara Manners said that she was "overwhelmed" at being this year's recipient of the town's "Spirit of Dr. King" community service award.
Indeed, the large conference room in Town Hall was standing room only, and Manners was described by event organizer Mark Robinson as "an integral part of what makes people happy in Ridgefield."
But Manners, a 17-year resident of town, has been a vocal member of the Board of Selectmen, the founder of Concert Happenings in Ridgefield's Parks, the producer of Acoustic Celebration and founder of the group that spearheaded the creation of Ridgefield Playhouse, all of which required a deep time commitment through the years.
Holding a giant bouquet presented by First Selectman Rudy Marconi, Manners thanked her husband and her mother for making her volunteering possible.
"If it weren't for their supportiveness, our family would've needed a second income, and they made it possible for me to stay home with my son and get involved in the community," Manners said.
Her award, the town's eighth, was part of a longer ceremony that included talks on the legacy and lessons of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. on the national holiday honoring his memory.
Robinson, Rev. Mark Delcuze of St. Stephen's and Temple Shearith Israel Rabbi Emeritus Jon Haddon gave reflections, and ABC House resident supervisor Natasha McNeal, along with residents Jasmin Harrison and Cindy Reid, read passages from Maya Angelou and Frederick Douglass.
The hour-long event ended with Westport resident Kimberly Wilson's soulful rendition of "My Country 'Tis of Thee."