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East Haven Lions Club member Sue Vigorito promises a fun night for all at the club’s Friday, May 10 military whist fundraiser. (Photo by Nathan Hughart/The Courier | Buy This Photo)
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Be it boards or marketing or Lions Club fundraisers, Sue Vigorito is keeping herself busy.
“I think as you get older, you want to stay young, so if you keep your time occupied, you keep going,” Sue says.
She retired from her first career in sales at the phone company after 25 years. Since then, she’s kept busy with two subsequent careers.
During the 2008 recession, she was laid off from her customer service position at a Viking oven distributor where she had clients that included Alex Rodriguez, David Letterman, and Martha Stewart.
“Again, I was looking for something to do,” she says.
Now she handles the marketing and public relations for the Stony Creek Urgent Care location in Orange, where she also works closely with three local chambers of commerce.
“We do a lot of fundraisers, health fairs. I go there, explain what we are,” Sue says. “Everyone thinks urgent care, you have to be severely hurt or whatever, but it isn’t.”
Urgent care centers, Sue says, are a relatively new form of walk-in clinic that serve as an alternative to hospitals for immediate, but less severe issues.
“If you are urgently sick, injured, come here. If we think you need to go further, we’ll call 911,” she says.
Often, her work brings her to senior centers and local colleges to explain their offerings to older people and younger people—or their parents—respectively.
“I go from Orange to Branford because we have two locations,” she says. “I jump all over the place, which is good. I enjoy it. You don’t get bored. I wouldn’t trade it for the world.”
Trying to keep busy, Sue has found herself on the advisory board for Stone Academy, which she once attended as a student, as well as the board of the Orange Chamber of Commerce.
“I like being on the boards because I’m not afraid to voice my opinion,” she says, noting “Sometimes it gets me in trouble.”
Sue’s father, a salesman who died young at 59, was also one for working hard and keeping busy.
“My father loved working,” Sue says. “[He] would never say ‘No.’”
Sue says he was an inspiration for her and her brother, a physician assistant and triathlete who lives in Maryland.
“I just wish my parents were here to see what a success he was,” she says. “My brother, he keeps going. I think that’s what drives him.”
Sue says she’s going to keep going, too, for as long as she’s physically able.
“I don’t know if I’ll ever retire. I enjoy what I do,” she says. “I love people. I like to get involved.”
In the meantime, she’s keeping busy with the Lions Club, which sponsors a scholarship for an East Haven student as well as contributing to several other projects. A focus of the Lions has been on eye care for children.
Sue became a member of the Lions Club in 2004, not long after the club started in East Haven. In the past, she’s served as president and secretary.
This month, the Lions Club will offer free eye screening at Overbrook School as part of screenings held throughout the year.
“We’ve already screened, within the past year, close to 200 kids from pre-K to junior high,” Sue says. “It’s amazing how many kids we find that need glasses.”
The club has access to a camera that takes high definition photos of children’s eyes to roughly diagnose problems and refer their parents to an eye doctor. The costs are all covered by the club’s fundraising.
“The money goes. It’s easy to divvy it out, but to try and get it in [is] why we run all these fundraisers,” Sue says. “By the end of June, we should have no money left because we’re starting up again.
“Even if you make a couple hundred dollars, that could go to a student or a young child that needs glasses,” she adds.
The Lions Club next hosts its annual military whist night on Friday, May 10 starting at 7 p.m. at the East Haven Senior Center. Sue says its one of their biggest, most popular fundraisers and doesn’t require any prior knowledge of the game.
“Even if you’ve never played it, after the first game you know what you’re doing,” she says. “They love the game. It’s fast moving, it’s easy to learn…It’s a fun night.”
Winners accumulate chips throughout the night to score points and, by the end, have a chance to win a prize. There’s also a 50/50 raffle and donated food on offer.
“The whole idea is the fun of the game and raising the money,” Sue says.
To nominate a Person of the Week, email Nathan Hughart at n.hughart@Zip06.com.
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