Rotary Club honors Milford woman for 25 years volunteering

MILFORD — Despite serving as Grand Marshal of Milford’s St. Patrick’s Day parade, receiving the mayor’s Distinguished Citizen Award and having the city proclaim a day in her honor - all in the same year - Nell Moll continues to be surprised by the honors she receives for her volunteer work.

“It’s crazy. I don’t do this stuff for recognition,” Moll said. “It’s a wonderful life, and it’s a pleasure to be out and about in this town.”

Moll is the 2021 recipient of the Evio Giovanelly Award from the Devon Rotary Club. The award, named for one of the club’s earliest members, is given to a non-Rotarian who best exemplifies the club’s motto of “service above self.”

According to club president Albert May, Moll has a long-term fixture with community-focused groups such as the Irish Heritage Society of Milford, Lions International, and the Milford Yacht Club. She also is a fixture with the local business community, having owned a news and variety store downtown and spending 25 years as membership director at the Milford Chamber of Commerce.

“As a sign of the respect and high esteem with which Nell is held in Milford, she served as a Grand Marshal for the Milford St. Patrick’s Day Parade in 2017, and was also the recipient of the Mayor’s Distinguished Citizen’s Award in the same year,” said May. “Also that year, July 27 was proclaimed Nell Moll Day by Mayor Ben Blake.”

Moll said those honors, and her current one, came as a surprise.

“I was stunned and honored to receive the Mayor’s Distinguished Service Award,” she said.

Moll’s involvement in the community started more than 30 years ago with Issie’s Big News, a variety store and newsstand.

“People always came in looking for information, and I liked to provide the answer,” she said. “I would figure out how do you get tickets for this event or what is that event about, and all those things led me to get more involved, even though I’d grown up here.”

After closing the business in late 1995, she continued networking with other business people in the city. That eventually led her to her position at the Chamber of Commerce.

“It was a pride and joy, and I loved my job,” she said. “I loved going to work, and I loved interacting with people and helping them get connected.”

Now, all those people she connected with over the years have been reaching out to congratulate her, she said.

“A lot of people who know me have come up to me since hearing about this award, and they’ve been telling me how cool it is,” she said.

Moll said May contacted her to tell her, and since she’s seen a lot of the people from the Devon Rotary and they’ve all been gracious and are excited for her. She said the news took her by surprise.

“It was totally out of left field,” she said. “I didn’t expect it at all, and I had heard of Giovanelly. But I didn’t realize what kind of man he was.”

The award will be presented at the club’s 2021-22 Officers and Directors’ Installation Dinner, to be held on June 24 at 6 p.m. at the Milford Yacht Club, 131 Trumbull Ave. The dinner is open to the public. Tickets are $60 and include a buffet dinner and one-hour open bar. For reservations call Heather Carolan at or call 203-500—533. The reservation deadline is June 17.