WESTPORT, Conn. — After 27 years as Westport’s director of human services, Barbara Butler is retiring. On Wednesday afternoon, over 70 of her co-workers, town leaders, and numerous volunteers honored her at the Center for Senior Services.
Butler served under six first selectmen, initiated a virtual encyclopedia of organizations and facilities to aid those in need, and built the Human Service Department into the “gold standard” in this state.
The Rev. Ed Horne, chair of the Human Services Commission, opened the formal ceremony by calling Butler “an example of compassion, grace and commitment to those most in need.”
He introduced a presentation that reminded guests of Butler's accomplishments — Toquet Hall and the Youth Commission, the Human Services Commission, TEAM Westport, Project Return and A Better Chance, the Senior Center itself, and many, many more.
Several town leaders followed. Former First Selectman Gordon Joseloff recalled “how hard she worked for this building,” and lauded her support for emergency workers during crises such as Superstorm Sandy.
Former Second Selectman Shelly Kassen recalled being “her partner in crime on Baron’s South,” and noted "how much you wanted to see senior housing.”
RTM Moderator Eileen Flug lauded Butler for taking the lead on what is expected to become the Commission on Persons with Disabilities after next month’s meeting of the RTM.
First Selectman Jim Marpe presented Butler with a proclamation praising her "talent, devotion and commitment to Westport … her unsurpassed expertise and compassion … who consistently provided a voice for those in need.”
State Rep. Jonathan Steinberg presented Butler with a citation from the General Assembly, saying she is “sensitive to hardships suffered by our most vulnerable citizens,” and makes certain her department does all it can to improve their lives.
Butler closed the ceremony, calling it “a little overwhelming,” giving “credit for the department’s success to my wonderful colleagues,” and saying she always worked to “make Westport the best possible place it could be.”
She finished with: “I love you all. Thank you."