NEWS & EVENTS
The Milford Columbus Committee
2023 Dinner Dance
Saturday, October 14 2023
2023 Award Recipients
Italian American of the Year
Sam was born and raised in Glens Falls, New York, graduated from Queensbury High School and obtained his BS from Syracuse University majoring in accounting. While at Syracuse he joined the fraternity Phi Kappa Psi which provided him with not only lifelong friends, but the opportunity to assist in his tuition cost by working as janitor (House Mouse) and chairman of the house committee, both of which came with partial room and board.
His first job after graduation was as an auditor for Ernst & Ernst, which at the time was one of the Big 8 accounting firms. One of Sam’s proudest achievements was to pass the four-part CPA Examination and receive his CPA certificate.
When Sam came to Milford, he befriended the late Hank Frauenhofer CPA, as both were members of the Milford Jaycees. Sharing the same goal of becoming self-employed, they established the accounting firm of Frauenhofer & Discenza in October of 1967. That firm has evolved to the current partnership of Discenza, Beck and Lee, LLC, CPA with partners Glenn Beck, Joe Lee, and Austin Chapman.
While a member of the Milford Jaycees, Sam served as a board member and participated in many fundraising activities. Sam has also served on the board and Treasurer of the Milford Chamber of Commerce for twenty-one years. (According to Bob Gregory a record!) Sam has also served on the Board of the Stratford Visiting Nurse Association as a board member and President and was a member of the Milford Club, Inc. the second oldest men’s social club in the United States. There he served as a board member, House Chairman and President.
An avid golfer, Sam joined Mill River Country and served on the board as Treasure for eleven years. Sam is still a member of Mill River and continues to “play” golf as often as possible. Sam has always been a loyal New York Yankees fan, and unfortunately still is. Each of these organizations benefited from his efforts and he personally benefited from them as well.
Sam resides in Shelton with his wife of 45 years, Janet and their cat Cooper. His daughter Kendra and her husband Steve, his grandson, Joshua and his wife Kasia, and his granddaughter Megan reside in neighboring communities of Milford, Shelton and Branford.
Sam has not yet decided to retire and plans on continuing to serve the Milford community.
Raised in Southbury, CT, Ms. Fiorillo serves as the President & CEO of Bridges Healthcare in Milford. She has nearly 30 years of experience in the healthcare and non-profit industry with extensive background in quality, compliance, fiscal management, business operations and program development. She has dedicated her career to improving access and delivery of healthcare in diverse settings.
Ms. Fiorillo has led Bridges Healthcare through multiple large projects and initiatives including acquiring Gold Star accreditation through the Joint Commission on the Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations, conversion to a new electronic health record system, integration of behavioral health and primary care, and most recently, the award of $4 million ($2 million per year) to establish a Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinic. She holds a Master of Public Health Degree from Southern Connecticut State University, a Master of Business Administration degree from Post University and a certificate in Non-Profit Executive Leadership from Duke University. Jennifer is a member of the American College of Healthcare Executives and serves on the Board of Directors for CommuniCare, Inc. and Advanced Behavioral Health.
Ms. Fiorillo is honored to serve the Milford community as an advocate and behavioral healthcare partner.
Honorable Beverly K. Streit-Kefalas
Judge Beverly K. Streit-Kefalas is the Probate Court Administrator for the State of Connecticut by appointment of the Honorable Richard Robinson, Chief Justice of the Connecticut Supreme Court in September 2019. She served as the judge of probate for the Milford-Orange Probate Court from 2011 to 2021 and for the Milford Probate Court from 1999 to 2011.
Her lifelong commitment to meeting the needs of vulnerable citizens has gone beyond her role in the Probate Court system and includes past Board membership for non-profit organizations such as Bridges Healthcare, Inc., the Milford Senior Center’s Council on Aging, The Boys and Girls Club of Milford, the Devon Rotary, the United Way of Milford, and others.
An active member of many committees and past President of the Connecticut Probate Assembly, she has served as an administrative judge for a number of the Regional Children’s Probate Courts in the state and was elected in 2021 to serve as a fellow of the Connecticut Bar Foundation James W. Cooper Fellows Program.
A lifelong Milford resident, she is a graduate of Lenox Avenue Elementary School and Jonathan Law High School. She earned her bachelor’s degree at Smith College and her juris doctorate at the University of Connecticut School of Law.
Her commitment to serving others was a foundation laid by her wonderful parents, Arthur Streit, late of Milford, and Barbara Streit, who proudly raised an Italian-Irish family of 8 children. Judge Beverly is the proud parent of two daughters, Dia and Barbara.
Emma Acri is a life-long resident of Milford and a 2023 graduate of Trumbull High School’s Regional Agriscience and Biotechnology Program. As an active member of her school and community, she completed more than 500 hours of community service in high school, and, as a result, earned several Golden Eagle community-service awards. She is the founder of Hope Grows, a charity that helps fund research at the National Urea Cycle Disorders Foundation, and, as a member of Milford Girl Scout Troop 38380, helped found the Milford Kindness Rocks Project at Walnut Beach in 2016. She is also a volunteer for Locket’s Meadow Animal Sanctuary in Bethany, Milford-based Toby’s Dream Dog Rescue, Fans for the Cure, and numerous local veterans’ groups and projects. At Trumbull High School, she was honored to have been nominated by her teachers to be THS’s Connecticut Ambassador at the Hugh O’Brian Youth Leadership Seminar in 2021, and also earned a spot in the National, Science, Math, English and Social Studies honor societies, served on the officer team for the Trumbull FFA and was selected to be a member of THS’s LINK Crew and Peer Leader team. Emma will attend Cornell University this fall, where she will major in plant and environmental science. She is the daughter of Tom and Michelle Acri of Milford.
Julia Deicicchi will be attending the College of Charleston with a major in communications. She is a Foran High school graduate, and was very involved during her time there. She was class president, a member of the student council, National Honor Society, Natural Helpers, Key Club, and President of ASL club. She is also an avid writer, and was a staff writer for the school newspaper. As well as, the social media editor for the school paper, which allowed her to post about a diverse variety of people and activities in the school community. She plans to continue writing in college as well. Julia would like to thank the Milford Columbus Committee for this generous scholarship.
Madeline Elmo, a proud Italian American, is a rising freshman at Southern Connecticut State University where she will major in nursing. Her long term goal however, is to become a pediatric APRN and open her own clinic. Throughout her highschool years at Joseph A Foran High School, Madeline has been actively involved in both the school and Milford community. From being President of the Key Club, to helping out in the Unified Sports and Best Buddies Programs, to organizing leaf raking for the elderly, to even just lending a simple hand or smile, Madeline has an innate drive to help others. She was also involved in Natural Helpers, Habitat for Humanity, Student Government, National Honors Society, and Interact Club. Madeline has a natural passion to assist everyone and anyone she sees, and has an empathetic and positive personality. Madeline hopes to join more volunteer opportunities while attending SCSU. In addition to participating in numerous service clubs, Madeline also found time to run both indoor and outdoor track. Her events included the mile, the 4x8 relay,1000m, and the 800m. In her free time, she enjoys running on the beach,babysitting, starbucks runs, and hanging out with friends and family. Madeline also enjoys spending time with her younger sister Grace Elmo who is 13 years old. Madeline is a compassionate and fun spirit individual who always has a smile on her face. She enjoys being around others and giving back to the community anyway she can.
Olivia Jenkins is a graduate of St. Joseph High School in Trumbull, Connecticut, where she maintained a cumulative 4.0 GPA while participating in a rigorous high school program. She consistently earned a place on the President's Honor Roll completing 9 AP courses such as AP Calculus, AP Physics, and AP Literature. Olivia has served as a Student Ambassador, demonstrating her ability to represent her school with professionalism and dedication, and her outstanding achievement in mathematics led to her selection as a tutor for fellow students. She was recognized for her academic and leadership abilities through induction into the National Honor Society, National Spanish Honors Society, and the National Music Honors Society. Olivia has dedicated over 200 hours to various nonprofit organizations volunteering at the Beth El Center, serving meals for the homeless and was involved with organizations such as Best Buddies, assisting in social events and activities for special needs high school students. She participated in backpack drives for students facing socio-economic difficulties, coat drives and organized the sending of over 400 Christmas letters to troops stationed overseas. Her commitment to community service extended to activities like meal packing, tree planting projects, and assisting in compliance events for the Connecticut Chiropractic Council.
Olivia is an active golfer who represented St. Joe’s athletics in field hockey and Lacrosse where she received awards for “Sportsmanship”, “Most Improved Player” and most recently the “FCIAC Life-Teammate Award”. Olivia has also been a member of the Nor'easter Club Lacrosse travel team. She has shown her passion for music, playing guitar, piano and drums as a member of the school band, jazz band, and guitar club. Additionally, she has been involved in clubs such as the Spanish Club and Future Health Care Providers, demonstrating her diverse interests and commitment to personal growth. During her years at St. Joe’s, she held part-time and summer jobs at Cricket Car Hop, Jenkins Family Chiropractic, and Racebrook Country Club. Olivia was selected as one of 50 participants to attend the "Women on the Move" workshop hosted by JP Morgan Financial Group. This opportunity through Future Females in Finance allowed her to enhance her knowledge of and gain valuable insights into the finance industry. Olivia will be attending the Pamplin School of Business at Virginia Tech this fall where she will be studying Finance with a focus in Investment Management and Chartered Financial Analysis. She is looking forward to her future academic experiences and wishes to extend her sincere gratitude to the Milford Columbus Committee for selecting her for this generous award.