On Monday, May 23, 2022, the Simsbury Board of Selectmen presented the 2022 Hometown Hero awards to four recipients for their outstanding contributions to the community: Margaret Kennedy; Marianne O’Neil; Gerard Wetjen; and Jay T. Willerup.

Initiated in 1986 by Governor William O’Neill as part of the 350th Anniversary of the founding of Connecticut, towns were invited to designate residents as “Hometown Heroes” for any deed or service that made the community a better place in which to live. Since that time, the Town of Simsbury has recognized its own Hometown Heroes at a special ceremony. Each year, a selection committee comprised of the First Select person, representatives of the Board of Selectmen, the Historical Society, the business community, a previous Hometown Hero, and a member of a service or Veteran’s organization reviews nominations and selects individuals who have demonstrated selfless and altruistic behavior which contributes significantly to the betterment of the Town.

About Jay T. Willerup
Jay joined the Board of the Friends of Heublein in 2003 with a passion to restore the landmark while preserving historical accuracy. He has served as President of the Board since 2015, leading fundraising efforts for successful restoration projects. Jay was recruited to join the Board of Directors for the Friends of Connecticut State Parks, and has been actively supporting other “Friends” groups in Connecticut. In addition to these positions, Jay was also instrumental in designing and implementing fundraisers for the MLK in CT Memorial, which was unveiled in January 2021. 

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