Sportsmen of Westport honors nine individuals
The Sportsmen of Westport, an organization founded in 1960 to honor individuals for athletic accomplishments and community service, recently gave awards to nine individuals.
The honorees include:
Carmen Arciola Sr. -- Sportsmen honoree
Carmen Arciola Sr., 74, has been a part of the Westport sports scene as an athlete, a youth coach, and for a quarter of a century, as a dedicated volunteer with the Westport PAL and Special Olympics.
Arciola played basketball and golf for Staples High School before graduating in 1956. After graduating, he joined the U.S. Army and, upon his return home, became a member of the Westport Fire Department. He would enjoy a 28-year career there before retiring in 1994. He was also a volunteer with Westport PAL for 25 years and worked with the annual Special Olympics in town.
Arciola ives in in Spring Hill, Fla., with his wife Marian. They have three children and six grandchildren.
Mark Brockwell -- Sportsmen honoree
Mark Brockwell played football and baseball for Staples High School and was the Block S Coach's award recipient in football before graduating in 1980. After graduating, Brockwell played for the University of Rhode Island on a full football scholarship and was captain of the 1984 squad. He was named to the 1984 All-Yankee Conference team and was an All-American Honorable Mention. In recognition for his success on the gridiron for Staples, Brockwell was inducted onto its Wall of Fame.
Brockwell has worked in commercial real estate and has been president of his own company, MJB Real Estates Services Corp. for 21 years. He resides in Westport with his wife Sharon and their four children.
Steve Doig -- Sportsmen honoree
Steve Doig was one of only two sophomores to make the Staples football team in 1963 and he played three years before graduating in 1966. Despite having his senior year cut short by an injury, he was selected to play in the Nutmeg Bowl in the summer of 1966. However, he was still not fully recovered from his injury and couldn't play.
A three-sport athlete, Doig was a valuable reserve for the basketball team. He also ran indoor and outdoor track.
Dartmouth College recruited Doig to play football but a preseason injury derailed his career. Shortly thereafter, he enlisted in the Army, where he was a combat correspondent in Vietnam and an instructor in the Defense Information School. He also was awarded a Bronze Star for Service in 1970-71.
He later worked as a reporter at the Daytona News-Journal form 1974-77, then as a reporter and editor at the Miami Herald from 1977-96. Since 1996, he has been a professor at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism at Arizona State University and is currently the Knight Chair in Journalism at the school, specializing in computer-assisted investigative reporting.
Doig lives in Tempe, Ariz., with his wife Ellyn. They have two children and five grandchildren.
Mary Gail Horelick-Gristina -- Sportsmen honoree
Before she graduated from Staples in 1966, Mary Gail Horelick-Gristina was a star in three sports.
Known as Mary Gail Horelick, she played field hockey, basketball and outdoor track. She was especially strong in the 100-yard dash and as a member of the 4x440-yard relay team. Horelick-Gristina had many victories while competing for the Lady Wreckers and meets independent from the high school circuit. She broke the state record in the 100-yard dash during her senior year.
She went to earn a degree in physical therapy at Ithaca College. While working as a physical therapist at a hospital in the Bronx, she pitched for the hospital women's softball team, the Bad News Bears, and received the team's MVP award.
Gristina later completed two graduate degrees: a master's in health care management in 1984 and a juris doctorate from the University of Connecticut Law School in 1990. Gristina, who lives in Wilton with her husband Jerry, also practiced children's law and served on the state board of directors of the Spinal Cord Injury Association. She was also treasurer of the State Physical Therapy Association, a volunteer organization whose work includes driving for Westport's Meals-on-Wheels.
Nell Mullen -- Sportsmen honoree
As a four-sport athlete during the 1950s, Nell Mullen was well ahead of her time.
Mullen played field hockey, basketball and softball for Staples before graduating in 1953. After graduating from Staples, she attended Bouve-Boston School of Physical Education, which was affiliated with Tufts University. She continued to play field hockey and basketball while adding the sport of lacrosse to her resume.
Following graduation, she coached basketball, field hockey and soccer in New Jersey. In 1965, she joined the Westport School System as a physical education teacher and a teacher of adapted physical education, as well as a classroom teacher of the severely handicapped. Her time after school was spent teaching swimming to handicapped and non-handicapped children.
While teaching in Westport, Mullen was also an assistant professor in an adapted recreation program at Southern Connecticut State College from 1970-75, an adapted aquatics and swimming teacher at the Westport YMCA and an instructor for the Red Cross in swimming, adapted aquatics and canoeing.
In addition, Mullen has worked as a swimming instructor and life guard for the town of Westport and at Camp Aspetuck, and as a canoeing, swimming and camp craft teacher at Camp Silver Lake.
Since her retirement from the Westport School System in 1995, Mullen still fills in as a substitute teacher in special education, physical education and pre-school.
In 1995, Mullen was the recipient of the Peter Weisman Award, which recognized her work with handicapped children. She has also served on the American Red Cross board of directors and is a member of the Red Cross Polar Bear Club.
Nikki Zeoli-Porzio -- Sportsmen honoree
Nikki Zeoli-Porzio never played sports in high school.
But after graduating from Staples in 1980, she made her mark in athletics at the highest national level.
Porzio won the 1993 women's national championship at the All Natural Bodybuilding Competition USA Nationals, not only finishing in first place in the women's short division, but capturing top honors as the women's overall winner.
After graduating from Staples, who earned a bachelor of science degree at the University of Miami, became a nationally-certified trainer/instructor to professional fitness trainers in various cities throughout the United States from 1994-98. She was a self-employed personal fitness trainer herself from 1991-2004, and was a fitness model for the Chartwell Reinsurance Co. She has been a fitness consultant since 1991.
She and her husband Bert Porzio reside in Westport with their three children. Now a fulltime mom, Nikki Porzio is also an advocate for educational excellence for special needs children and she is a volunteer with Special Olympics.
Jack McFarland -- Coaching award
Jack McFarland has piloted the Staples baseball team to three FCIAC titles in four years.
McFarland has 102 career wins in seven seasons and he also an FCIAC runnerup finish to his credit. In 2009, he was named the FCIAC Baseball Coach of the Year.
Baseball isn't the only sport McFarland has been successful in at Staples. Since 1995, he has been an assistant football coach for the Wreckers and was named the Assistant Football Coach of the Year by the Connecticut High School Coaches Association 2004.
A 1984 graduate of Andrew Warde High School in Fairfield, McFarland was a three-sport standout for the Crimson Eagles. He was a pitcher/third baseman in baseball and was named All-FCIAC first-team. In football, he was a second-team All-FCIAC quarterback, and he also played forward on the basketball team where he earned All-FCIAC Honorable Mention,
McFarland is currently an assistant dean at Staples and resides in Monroe with his wife, Norma, and their four daughters.
Al Fiore -- PAL award
Al Fiore has served as president of the Westport Police Athletic League for the last seven years in his role as Westport's chief of police from 2004 until just recently.
Fiore has been involved in several other PAL activities, most notably with the Chief Sam Luciano Scholarship Golf Outing named in honor of the late Westport police chief.
Fiore is a past president of the Connecticut Chapter of the FBI National Academy Associates, past president of the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society of Fairfield County, a past president of the Westport Police Benevolent Association and president of the Fairfield County Police Chiefs Association.
Jay Paretzky -- William A. Krause Jr. Humanitarian award
Jay Paretzky received the William A. Krause Jr. Humanitarian Award from the Sportsmen of Westport in recognition for his volunteer work, which spanned more than three decades.
Paretzky began volunteering with the Westport EMS in January 1980 and continues to give his time as an advanced emergency medical technician crew chief. In 2010 alone, he volunteered over 1,500 hours in shift coverage, training and state EMS activities.
Witnessing a fire on his block in the late 1970s led to his becoming an EMS volunteer. At first, he wanted to be a fireman but was referred to EMS.
Paretzky has been actively involved ever since. He has twice served as president of the Westport Volunteer EMS and fulfilled four terms as vice president during his 15 years as a board member. He is currently chairman of the Connecticut EMS Volunteer Committee.
Since 1982, Paretzky has been a CPR and first aid instructor with the American Heart Association, including serving as coordinator.
Paretzky was also involved in sports at one time as a member of the swim teams at Thomas Jefferson and Midwood high schools in Brooklyn, and was a lifeguard at Rockaway, N.Y., beaches from 1957-60.
A 1968 graduate of Brooklyn College, Paretzky currently lives in Westport and is a real estate investor.
The humanitarian award he received honors the memory of Bill Krause, the longtime president of the Sportsmen of Westport.
For information on the Sportsmen of Westport, visit www.sportsmenofwestport.org.