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Ribas Named Honorary Starter for 2012

Jack Ribas

Jack Ribas with just a few of his "senior" and "junior" friends at the Boys & Girls Club's Keystone Club Thanksgiving dinner for seniors. Jack started the event 32 years ago, and his kids are still learning to give back every year.

John J. Ribas will be the Honorary Starter for the 2012 Commodore Hull Thanksgiving Day 4K Road Race. Jack is a life time resident of Shelton who has made service to the entire Valley community his trademark throughout his life. A product of the Community Center which evolved into today’s dynamic Boys & Girls Club of the Lower Naugatuck Valley under his leadership, he has instilled the value of giving back to the community to generations of Valley youth who have passed through the Club. Jack will be retiring from the Club on December 12, and the Committee feels that Jack's 34 years at the helm of the Club makes him the perfect choice to be this year's starter.

Jack still recalls the dollar spent on his membership in the Club back in 1956 as "the greatest investment I ever made." The lessons learned at an early age have guided him throughout his life. After graduating from Shelton High School and Boston University, he came back to the area and worked as an engineer in training. However his volunteer work at the Boys & Girls Club eventually pulled him into his true vocation in life – working with children. He started as a program director in Shelton and moved onto to increasingly more responsible positions with the Boys & Girls Clubs in Bridgeport before returning to Shelton to become the Executive Director of the Community Center Boys Club in 1978. Under Jack’s leadership, the Club soon admitted girls and came to be known as the Boys & Girls Club of the Lower Naugatuck Valley.

Jack’s work as head of the Club has been well documented and the tremendous growth in programming and size of the local Club has made him a recognized leader in the Boys & Girls Club movement across the country. The Club has really surged in the aftermath of the tragic fire that destroyed its building, but resulted in the new club at 1 Positive Place in Shelton and eventually the new club in Ansonia as well. Jack was also instrumental in assisting MIlford in developing a new Club there as well. 

Jack’s service to the community goes well beyond his work day at the Boys & Girls Club. He has been an active member of the Parent Child Resource Center and served as its President from 1988 to 1990. He was a board member at the Birmingham Group and served as its finance chairman. He was president of the Community Alert Program

As a former member of St. Margaret Mary Parish, he served on the Parish Council and held its presidency for a two year period during the construction of the new parish rectory. Jack has been a very active member of the Derby/Shelton Rotary Club since 1978 and He is a member of the Board of Directors of the St. Vincent De Paul Society and served as its President from 1998 to 2006. Jack has been a member of the Highland Golf Club and served on its Board of Directors and its President in 1985 and 1986.

Jack has received numerous community awards recognizing his professional and community achievements starting with his Boy of the Year Award in 1962 by the Community Center Boys Club. He has received the Valley Bar Association’s Liberty Bell Award, the Book of Golden Deeds award from the Huntington Exchange Club Parent Child Resource Center’s Outstanding Service Award. The Boys & Girls Club named him to their first class of inductees to their Hall of Fame in 2007, and Boys & Girls Club of America honored him with their Distinguished Service Award in 2005. He is also a 1994 recipient of the Greater Valley Chamber of Commerce’s Gold Seal Award. He also received the community's oldest and most prestigious community service award, the Charles H. Flynn  Humanitarian Award, from Valley United Way in 2008.

Jack is married to the former Alicia Simonetti and lives in Shelton. They have two sons, John and, and Matthew.

Click here to see the full listing of Honorary Starters.


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