To the Editor:
I moved back to my hometown of Bristol in December of 2007 after traveling, studying and working in several other states and countries. I made the decision to start my photography business in the place where my family lives and where ultimately my heart is. Shortly after moving back, I was asked to serve on the board of directors at The Bristol Historical Society. That is where I first met Ellen Zoppo-Sassu. It was quickly apparent to me that she was smart, driven, a thinker and knew how to get things done.
I was 24, newly back to Bristol, new to the board, but I wanted to pick her brain about starting my business. I asked if I could do so and she happily obliged. She gave solid, creative and thoughtful advice and I was grateful. Ten years later, I continue to have a thriving photography business here in Bristol and a working relationship with Ellen.
We worked together on projects at the Bristol Historical Society, including the Young Artists Series in which Ellen helped secure grants so I could organize events and gallery shows inside of the historical society building. Overall, she has secured over $1 million in grant money as the director of development and grants for the historical society. She is a true leader and asset to preserving a building which is the hub of our Bristol history and roots.
I appreciate how Ellen recognizes the great importance of art in a community. I am a captain of the Bristol Art Squad and she has been a supporter and has assisted in creative ideas for bringing more public art to Bristol. To me, art is the heart and soul of a city. It helps fuel creative expression which in turn boosts morale of a community and its citizens. It also has the ability to pay tribute to our roots and our history, which is deeply important as a place evolves and changes.
Most of all, Ellen is a kind and community-minded person. When my grandfather, Jack Denehy, long-time Bristol educator and founder of the Memorial Military Museum, passed away, Ellen stepped up and helped my family with funeral arrangements. She was there right by our side. More recently, my 12-year-old niece has been fighting a rare form of cancer. When we had a fundraiser for her, Ellen was there in support and solidarity. She was there because she cares about the well-being of her community, and the people in it.
Ellen embodies the kind of spirit, thoughtfulness and follow-through that I look for in leadership. I am thrilled to cast my vote for Ellen on Nov. 7 and I encourage you to join me!