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Beth Yanity: A tireless community icon

Beth Yanity shows a painting of early Metropolitan Opera Star Geraldine Farrar, who lived in Ridgefield. It hangs over a fireplace at the Community Center. —Ben Shaw photo

Beth Yanity will be honored at the Community Center’s Crystal Ball on Feb. 9 for her 57 years of remarkable community service.

Not a stranger to awards, the dynamic Ms. Yanity has walls and shelves of accolades that she has received for her work with the government, on community service projects, and in athletics.

“It is never the award that is important,” explained Ms. Yanity. “It is about getting the job done. In fact, it can be embarrassing to get rewarded for something you had so much fun doing.”

As a young mother with seven children, Ms. Yanity  worked with St. Mary’s Church, the Girl Scouts, started the Pop Warner Cheerleaders, sang in the choir, and began the Rid Litter Campaigns where various organizations began to adopt streets.

“Working with the Graveyard Committee was one of my favorite projects,” said Ms. Yanity, “I guess you might say I was a little ‘nutty,’ with all my activities,’but ‘nutty’ can be a good thing.”

“In addition to being a doer I am also a perfectionist,” she said.

“A good example of this occurred when Val Casey, Maureen Hackett and I regularly drilled the Girl Scouts in St. Mary’s parking lot to walk properly in the town parades. No one was allowed to march without clean white gloves either.”

Ms. Yanity, who once worked as a model, loved making her children’s clothing and gowns for herself.

“My attic is full of gowns and dresses that I made over the years. I would love to see a fashion show some day with all these dresses. I am most proud of the painstakingly made prom dresses for my girls and the beaded wedding gowns that I made for each of my daughters.”

Ms. Yanity is also proud of having run for state representative, her association with Jody Rell and her work on the Republican Town Committee.

“My greatest accomplishment, however, is the raising of my seven children. All of my children are civic-minded. My oldest daughter also became the first woman mayor in Bloomfield, Indiana.”

“It is also exciting to know that at the same time, I will be getting my award at the Community Center, my only son will be getting the Sportscaster of the Year Award in South Carolina,”  Ms. Yanity said. “I always told my children that everyone is given gifts and that you need to search to find yours and use it.”

When the Community Center started hosting weddings many years ago, Ms. Yanity decided the building needed a bride’s dressing room. “So with $200 I set off to entirely decorate such a room at the Community Center,” she said.  “The room came out beautifully and I have I have always loved being in it.”

Ridgefield has changed a great deal over the years. Tickets for the first Crystal Ball were $25 a couple. They are now $300.

“The Crystal Ball, however, is still a thank-you to those in the community who reach out and help others,” she said. “I am very appreciate of this award as it shows how much Ridgefield means to me and will continue to mean to me. I am not done yet.”

“I am so blessed to live in this town, and have the family, friends and resources that I have. I am forever thankful and my motto to live by is ‘Forever Fervor and Fun.’ I hope others will join me in finding their gifts, fulfilling their dreams, making a difference, and having fun as well.”

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