Tuesday, October 27, 2020

Person of the Week

Heather Temple: Giving Back with the Killingworth Women’s Organization


President of the Killingworth Women’s Organization, Heather Temple is spending spring getting ready for the annual Earth Day Celebration on Saturday, April 27 at The Chatfield Hollow Inn. Photo by Margaret McNellis/The Source

President of the Killingworth Women’s Organization, Heather Temple is spending spring getting ready for the annual Earth Day Celebration on Saturday, April 27 at The Chatfield Hollow Inn. (Photo by Margaret McNellis/The Source | Buy This Photo)

Heather Temple of Killingworth, president of the Killingworth Women’s Organization, looks forward to the third annual Earth Day Celebration, held at the Chatfield Hollow Inn.

Heather has lived in Killingworth for just over a decade, but it wasn’t her residence that brought her to the Killingworth Women’s Organization (KWO).

“I used to drive truck for a living,” she says. “[And] I used to work at the Branford Transfer Station.”

Both industries, she says, are male-oriented.

“I wanted to work with more women,” Heather says.

She discovered the KWO and quickly joined their ranks.

KWO is “a great and really diverse group of women,” Heather says. “I ended up starting to help out. I had held just about every office.”

That’s when the organization invited her to take on the role of president, a role she’s served in for the last year.

“I have a feeling,” Heather says, “I’ll be president for another year.”

The organization prides itself on the work that individuals can do when they cooperate. The KWO is often symbolized by a lilac because the individual flowers come together to create beautiful bunches.

It’s through that symbolic approach that the KWO serves the Killingworth community. Among one of Heather’s favorite KWO efforts is the Earth Day Celebration, coming up on Saturday, April 27.

“It’s a really fabulous event,” Heather says.

She’s the co-chair of the celebration, which is in its third year. Heather has always felt a familial bond with the environment.

“My father was involved with community development,” Heather says. “And both my parents were raised on farms.”

In addition to the environment, libraries are also important to Heather, and the Earth Day Celebration provides a way to combine both of these passions, as all proceeds benefit the Killingworth Library.

“Libraries are very important to me. My parents were always involved in their own town library in Pennsylvania,” she says.

The Earth Day celebration is the brainchild of the owners of the Chatfield Inn, the Killingworth Library, and the KWO.

“KWO has been fundraising for the library off and on for awhile,” Heather says. “We’ve run silent auctions and wine tastings.

“Ken Metz, the owner of the Chatfield Inn, had contacted the library about an Earth Day event. I said I’m going to do it whether KWO is involved or not,” she says.

Well, KWO did get involved, and the event was a success for the last two years running, even though one year brought rain.

This year, planning meetings started right after the holiday season.

“It was a fluke-y thing that came together in a great way,” Heather says.

The inn is home to peacocks and chickens, and the owners compost.

“Even just to tour the inn for the admission fee would be a great deal,” Heather says.

Entry to the Earth Day Celebration costs $10; children five and under get in for free. Admission covers pizza and popcorn, and proceeds benefit the Killingworth Library.

As for the event itself, it’s an opportunity for anyone who wants to celebrate the earth to participate.

“We bring in vendors who are into bees,” Heather says, “and master gardeners in UConn’s extension program, as well as girl scouts and boy scouts.”

Earth Day, while an important celebration for KWO, isn’t its only project. Another effort close to Heather’s heart is the work the organization does to help women and children in need.

“KWO is very involved with domestic violence and prevention,” Heather says. “We work closely with the Middletown women’s shelter. A lot happens behind the scenes.”

Sometimes the behind-the-scenes work involves providing mattresses and box springs so women and their children can set up a new, safe home.

Another project the organization works on is the Wish Drive, in honor of Greg Bousquet, a young Killingworth man who was killed in a random shooting in 1995. The drive provides funding so parents can buy presents for their children during the holidays.

According to Heather, Bousquet’s mother Jackie joined KWO after the first Wish Drive.

Another favorite event of Heather’s is the annual Trunk-or-Treat.

“I really like Halloween,” she says. “I chaired this program for a few years.”

When she’s not volunteering her time and effort to the KWO, Heather likes to spend time with her dog, a 12 year-old shepherd mix named Moxie.

“She’s a big baby,” Heather says.

She adopted Moxie when the dog was one.

“Always adopt,” she says. “Older dogs especially appreciate a new, loving home. I think they get it.”

Heather is an avid scrapbooker as well.

“I take way too many pictures,” she says.

One project in particular that she’s working on is a family history, after having inherited the work her father compiled on her family’s genealogy. This includes not only organizing and labeling photographs, but putting together interviews Heather conducted with her grandparents.

“I’m not a big TV watcher,” Heather says.

She spends much of her free time getting caught up on her favorite magazines, Yankee Magazine and Readers Digest. She likes to write, too, and once kept a blog about trucking.

To nominate a person of the week from Killingworth or Madison, email m.mcnellis@shorepublishing.com.

The Killingworth Earth Day Celebration takes place on Saturday, April 27 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at The Chatfield Hollow Inn, 10 Firetower Road, Killingworth. Admission is $10 for adults and children ages 6 and older. Tickets will be on sale at the Killingworth Library, 301 Route 81, beginning at the end of March. For more information, visit www.kwoct.org.

Margaret McNellis is the Associate Editor for Zip06. Email Margaret at m.mcnellis@shorepublishing.com.

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