Cohen Courage, Gonillo Media award winners
The Fairfield County Sports Commission announced that Amy Dixon is the 2013 Chelsea Cohen Courage Award winner, and Bob Ehalt is the 2013 recipient of the Bill Gonillo Local Media Award.
Dixon and Ehalt will both be honored at the Commission’s 9th annual Sports Night awards dinner, Monday, Oct. 21 at the Hyatt Regency Greenwich at 6 pm.
For more information about the dinner contact Tom Chiappetta at 203-984-4806 or via email at email@example.com.
Dixon, a Greenwich resident, is legally blind, yet she competes in triathlons with a guide, and in the past year has become one of the top para-triathletes in the country.
Ehalt, who resides in Shelton, is a sports staff member of the New Haven Register after long stints at both the Stamford Advocate and Norwalk Hour.
The Cohen Award is sponsored by the Forever Young Foundation, the charitable giving entity of Greenwich native and NFL Hall of Famer Steve Young.
In 2006, the Commission created the Chelsea Cohen Courage Award, named after the late Cohen, a former Norwalk High soccer star who was the Commission’s first Courage Award recipient in 2005.
She passed away in August 2006, after a courageous bout with a rare form of cancer of the nervous system.
The award recognizes the person in the sports community who has shown inspirational strength in battling life-altering obstacles.
Dixon has lost most of her sight over the past 15 years and now has less than one percent vision.
She met Caroline Gaynor, the triathlon director for Team Red, White and Blue which supports veterans when they return from combat, who encouraged Dixon to race in a triathlon this year.
Gaynor rides with Dixon on a tandem bike and the women are tethered when they run and swim and she acts as Dixon’s eyes and ears.
Ehalt has worked at state newspapers for nearly 35 years.
After starting his career at the Norwalk Hour in 1978, he joined the Stamford Advocate in 1984 and spent more than two decades there.
He has been a voting member of the Commission’s Hall of Fame selection committees since its inception and contributed annual profiles of the Hall of Famers for the dinner program books.
Ehalt has worked in the sports department of the New Haven Register since 2008.
When News 12 Sports Director Bill Gonillo passed away at the young age of 44 in September 2008, the Fairfield County sports community lost one of its greatest treasures.
To keep Gonillo’s memory alive and provide a model reminder of his work ethic in covering local sports, the Commission created an annual award in Gonillo’s name.
The Commission recognizes members of the media that emulate Big Bill’s passion for local sports, and provide a supportive voice for the sports community in the county.
Past Courage Award winners are:
2012-Paul Gorham, Sacred Heart University football coach
2011- SOC (SEAL) Brian R. Bill, United States Navy, Stamford native who was killed in action in Afghanistan
2010 - Danbury native Ken Green, pro golfer who lost his leg in a car accident
2009 - James Hilaire, University of New Haven soccer goalie who suffered a head injury
2008 - Mike Myers-Keitt, Fairfield Prep and Monmouth University basketball player 2007 - John Tartaglio, Para-athlete from Milford who was a Fairfield University student
2006- Jason Maiella, baseball player at Sacred Heart who was the first recipient under Cohen’s name in 2006.
Past recipients of the Gonillo Award are:
2008-Chris Elsberry - Daily Newspaper-Connecticut Post (Bridgeport)
Rob Sullivan - Weekly Newspaper-Minuteman Papers (Westport & Fairfield)
Matt Levine - Sports Radio - WSTC/WNLK (Stamford & Norwalk)
2009-George Albano - Norwalk Hour
2010-Tom Renner - Main Street Connect
2011-Tim Murphy - Hersam Acorn Newspapers; Wilton Bulletin & Ridgefield Press
2012-David Fierro - Greenwich Time