Year in Review: Your 2012 People of the Year

The people you the readers recognized for making Brookfield a better place to live in 2012.

This year, we asked you the readers to nominate Brookfielders who have made a difference in the community in 2012. Below are five outstanding local people nominated by their neighbors, friends and family and the reasons they gave as to why those six people deserve to be recognized.

(The nominations are listed in the order they were received.)

Have a late submission — someone you think should be recognized? Tell us who and why in the comment section below.

Peter Brady

Organization: Handy Dandy Handyman Ministries; St. Joseph's Church

Reason for Nomination:

I don't think any one person has done more for the town of Brookfield or the surrounding area towns. He brings "loving thy neighbor" to a whole new level. He has rebuilt homes, filled oil tanks, given away cars, given food and clothing. Raised money for medical treatments. Just an awesome, humble guy.


Peter started HDHM when he retired from Nestle Corp. as a small outreach to help the seniors clean up the fall leaves with the first Rake n Bake. This event has grown to 80+ homes and 1000+ volunteers.  His ministry has grown with outreach to area towns, most recently Newtown.  He started a fund in honor of the Sandy Hook victims.  He has helped many with home makeovers, from a single mom who lost her home in a fire to a wonderful gentleman who was in danger of losing his home.  Peter thinks about others before self and is always ready to lend a hand, run a fundraiser or provide a resource.  I can think of no one more deserving than Peter Brady and The Handy Dandy Handy Man organization.


Continually helping people in need.

Stephen Harding, Sr.

Organization: Brookfield Baseball and Softball Association

Reason for Nomination:

Mr. Harding has run the Brookfield Baseball and Softball Association for almost two decades, completely volunteer, and has never received the appreciation he truly deserves. This organization provides a baseball and softball league in town for boys and girls of all skill levels.

Angela Haselwood

Organization: Brookfield High School

Reason for Nomination:

Angela is always the first to help people in need: the hurricane victims, Sandy Hook, etc. She goes above and beyond her job as a nurse, she organized the candlelight vigil at BHS, works with the peer counselors, and much more.


Angela works tirelessly to improve our community and help others. In just the last few weeks Angela has mobilized the town and supported victims of Hurricane Sandy and the innocent victims in Newtown. Angela represents what is right in the world and is one of the best people that I know.

Colette Sturm

Organization: Brookfield Education Foundation, active in Brookfield PTO

Reason for Nomination:

Colette Sturm is the President of the Brookfield Education Foundation. She spends countless hours silently and tirelessly working to provide recourses for lifelong learning to Brookfield residents of all ages. Colette's work benefits the entire Brookfield community.

Kathie Schilling

Organization: Volunteer coordinator for Meals on Wheels and Library Volunteer

Reason for Nomination:

Kathie is one those selfless individuals that lends a helping hand for the greater good. The Brookfield community is so lucky to have Kathie as a resident. She quietly and efficiently accomplishes many good deeds without bringing attention to herself.

Kathleen Gemmell December 27, 2012 at 01:13 PM
All these exceptional folks deserve our kudos! Here's a big smile, a pat on the back and a "Thanks so much" to you.
ROBERT "BOB" APPLEBY December 27, 2012 at 04:09 PM
I think it's great that Kathie Schilling is on this list. Not only does she bad mouth the Brookfield Patch and the "smallest minds" in town, but she also "...quietly and efficiently accomplishes many good deeds without bringing attention to herself..." I'll re-post some of her comments, but they'll probably be deleted.
ROBERT "BOB" APPLEBY December 27, 2012 at 04:09 PM
Kathie Schilling 9:18 am on Wednesday, October 24, 2012 "I have no idea who or what you are talking about here. I don't personally know anyone in Brookfield who fits this description. Having a difference of opinion on what would benefit the town shouldn't justify such silliness as is demonstrated in these comment threads. No wonder most Brookfield residents have stopped looking at the Patch. This has become a gathering place for nonsense."
ROBERT "BOB" APPLEBY December 27, 2012 at 04:09 PM
Kathie Schilling 11:50 am on Tuesday, October 30, 2012 "Millions of people waking up this morning to a world they barely recognize, no power, massive cleanup and recovery. In the midst of it, neighbors are reaching out to help and support one another, doing what we do best, coming together in a crisis. Yet this drivel is what the Brookfield Patch considers worthy of posting in the moment. Sad, really sad."
ROBERT "BOB" APPLEBY December 27, 2012 at 04:10 PM
Kathie Schilling 5:03 pm on Friday, November 2, 2012 "Inflammatory comments???? Egad, how does that earn it's own place on your website? I guess it fits in somewhere between your favorite pizza-dance school-favorite costume-what do you think about nonsense crap that has become the Brookfield Patch. I'm sorry, but this was actually a pretty good place for people to connect before it became all about the the place where the "right" opinions took priority. Clearly, the Patch decided some time ago to play in only one sandbox - did you think no one noticed? You want inflammatory - the raison d'etre (oh, how elitist to speak French!) of the Brookfield Patch is to be the small minded reflection of the smallest minds in town. Good luck with that! See ya when your readership hits nil."
ROBERT "BOB" APPLEBY December 27, 2012 at 04:10 PM
Kathie Schilling 5:23 pm on Friday, November 2, 2012 "Aaron, we all thought you were better than this......"
ROBERT "BOB" APPLEBY December 27, 2012 at 04:20 PM
As for Colette Sturm "...Colette's work benefits the entire Brookfield community." Does this include local businesses? In 2011 "Brookfield Uncorked" was held at the Danbury Plaza Hotel. In 2012 "Brookfield Uncorked" was held at the Amber Room Colonade in Danbury! When will the Brookfield Education Foundation benefit the entire BROOKFIELD community? When will they host BROOKFIELD Uncorked in BROOKFIELD? Wouldn't their support advance the "Four Corners" revitalization if they had hosted it at Rocco's? or Casa Blanca? If the Four Corners isn't suitable for "wine tasting" why not try Digrazia Vineyards?
ROBERT "BOB" APPLEBY December 27, 2012 at 04:24 PM
As for Saint Peter Brady, You sir are an ANGEL that walks among us! I don't believe there is anyone more deserving than PETER BRADY of the HDHM Ministry! I'm Robert Appleby and I approve this message.
ROBERT "BOB" APPLEBY December 27, 2012 at 04:38 PM
I've known Angela Hazelwood since 1995, and she is an amazing person! Nurse Hazelwood definitely deserves recognition for her contributions to Brookfield! We love you "Deary".
Colette Sturm December 27, 2012 at 04:54 PM
Please allow me a moment to clear up any misunderstandings, Mr. Appleby. The Brookfield Education Foundation truly does benefit the entire Brookfield Community....if you take a moment to look under the "grants funded" link on our website (www.brookfieldeducationfoundation.org) you will see the wide scope and reach of educational projects funded, thanks to our most generous contributors. These projects are empowered by our fundraising efforts, the largest being our "Brookfield Uncorked" event. We would love nothing more than to bring the event to Brookfield, and every year scour every possible Brookfield venue to find a good fit. Unfortunately, Brookfield venues large enough for our event are not feasible financially, as we try to make the event affordable for all, yet still accomplish our primary task of generating the funds needed to award these innovative educational grants. If you have any further venue suggestions, please do not hesitate to contact me (my contact info is on our website) as we welcome all ideas.
ROBERT "BOB" APPLEBY December 27, 2012 at 05:45 PM
Colette I'm confident that if there is a "Brookfield Uncorked" in 2013 it will be in Brookfield. When it is, you can pat yourself on the back or thank me for sticking up for the Brookfield Businesses that you ignore.
Matt Grimes December 27, 2012 at 06:37 PM
I will add something about Steve Harding, Sr. It's great that the Brookfield community can claim such a man as one of its own. He has invested so much time so that so many boys and girls can display their talents on the athletic field. In a day and age where some team parents can negatively draw attention to themselves over youth sports, Steve Harding's leadership has shown all that one can rise above that and bring the focus back to what it's truly about. The BBSA is the great organization it is because of Steve and his is a life that has achieved so much for all of Brookfield's young athletes.
An_opinion December 28, 2012 at 06:41 PM
Rosemary Wilk - Part 1- I would like to nominate my wife Rosemary Wilk. Not only have Rose and I been married 33 years this January but Rose has always taken a back situation in this family although she holds it together. Rose and I meet in High School, fell in love got married when we were 20 and have been through many trials and blessings over those years. Rose and I have 3 beautiful daughters, Amber, Becca and Calen... additionally between Amber and Becca we lost a baby at 5 1/2 months. She is the type of person who would drop everything to help you out.
An_opinion December 28, 2012 at 06:42 PM
Rosemary Wilk - Part 2- At one point when we were living in Norwalk , we had Amber, I was working a Full-Time position, a part time security job, an accounting consulting job , going to school and was trying to help Rose out with the raising of Amber. Not once during this time, while we were saving for a home here in Brookfield, did Rose ever complain, she always had a hot meal ready for me between my hectic schedule, she always had my clothes laid out and she was always thee with a smile, a kiss and a "be careful" warning as I walked out the door.. When we moved here to Brookfield she helped me as a co-manager/coach for all our girls as we ran softball teams for them. We always stayed involved with Rose staying home raising our 3 beautiful daughters.When I was diagnosed with Spinal Stenosis in 2000 and had 2 major spinal surgeries Rose literally held this family together. I couldn't work, so Rose delivered newspapers in the middle of the night to bring in some money. Then she would come home and care for me all day, day in day out until I was able to go back to work full time in 2003. In 2002 she joined the Brookfield school system as a para-professional. She learned Braille and started a Braille program in Brookfield school system which is still in place at Brookfield High School.
An_opinion December 28, 2012 at 06:45 PM
Rosemary Wilk - Part 3- On top of all that Rose allowed the family take in two rescue dogs and then she got the dog she always wanted - a basset hound, Norman Charles, who loves her as much as she loves him. When we moved up here to Brookfield we bought a 3 bedroom "starter" home that we were going to move out of as soon as we had the extra money. Well as things worked out with my back situation that "starter" house is still the one we are living in. Because of Rose that house is our home. We now have 2 Grandchildren , Lily Ann who went to be with the Lord after 4 days ,our angel in heaven, and "Happy Jack" who is the apple of our eye a strong healthy boy who love's his Nana (Rose) and his Poppi (me). We have a Son-in-Law Jeff who is an officer in the Brookfield Fire Department and we are as proud of as our other children. All in All we have what not many do these days, a loving family. And the backbone of that family is my beautiful wife of 33 years, Rose, my best friend, my wife, the mother of our three children, the "Nana" of our two Grand Children, friend of many and a blessing to many people she has crossed paths with. So there it is, meet my wife Rose the cement of our lives and the one person in my life who I can always count on being there. May the good Lord bless her.
Rob Gianazza December 28, 2012 at 07:47 PM
Whatever happened to our resident cartoonist Zachery Sorena? Zach, thanks for all the great strips! You are missed.
Michelle December 30, 2012 at 01:52 AM
Rosemary Wilk sounds like an amazing woman!!! A woman of great character and integrity. Mr. Wilk, you wrote beautifully about the woman you love so dearly. Thanks for sharing your story and for nominating such a fine community member, your beloved Rosemary Wilk. Cheers to Rosemary Wilk!
Steven DeVaux December 30, 2012 at 03:59 AM
Sounds like Rosemary Wilk is Brookfield's Angel! A model wife and mother who didn't quit when things got hard. She's what it's all about.


More »
Got a question? Something on your mind? Talk to your community, directly.
Note Article
Just a short thought to get the word out quickly about anything in your neighborhood.
Share something with your neighbors.What's on your mind?What's on your mind?Make an announcement, speak your mind, or sell somethingPost something
See more »