Mayor Richard Grande Memorial Scholarship Fund
Est. in 2021 as a scholarship fund by his sister, Camille Kurtyka, and cousin, Joanne Cannata.
In 2017, Camille Kurtyka started a memorial scholarship fund at the Valley Community Foundation (VCF) with her cousin Joanne Cannata to remember her brother, Mayor Richard A. Grande. Recently, Camille added funds to ensure that the scholarships would continue permanently.
“It’s good to know that people can always contribute to a fund like this, and it will continue. We want to keep it going in Richard’s memory,” she said. “The Valley Community Foundation (VCF) was a perfect organization to manage the fund ensuring scholarships will always be there to help Derby High School students.”
Richard served three terms as Mayor of Derby, from 1986 to 1991. He was always working to lift Derby by making it a better place to live for all, Camille said. He was instrumental in spearheading the construction of the town’s new Police Headquarters, reviving Olde Derby Day, and the gazebo, on the Derby Green, bears his name. He was also active with Derby Pop Warner and helped with the construction project of St. Jude Church on Pleasant View Road.
Camille’s husband, George, recalled that his brother-in-law worked the third shift as a respiratory therapist at Griffin Hospital for 32 years, using his days to help members of the community.
“There are people in our current government who got their start with Richard. He counseled and even inspired them,” George said. “The city was very important to him, second only to his family. Whether he was mayor or just a citizen, he’d always be there for someone who asked for his help.”
“He was very community-oriented,” his sister said. “The community truly appreciated his dedication. When I ran for alderwoman, I made sure to run as Camille Grande Kurtyka because he was so loved.”
Camille said the scholarship will benefit high school seniors who exhibit academic success, participate in civic and religious activities, as well as sports, and social events.
“Just like Richard, we want to support future leaders who will make a difference in society.”
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