Each year, the Middlesex County Chamber of Commerce presents the Distinguished Citizen Award to individuals who serve as an inspiration to others, and are recognized by the Middlesex community as unselfishly giving of their time and talent to produce a lasting benefit to the area.
The Distinguished Citizen Committee chose the four 2019 recipients from a list of over 230 nominees. This year’s award winners included Middlefield residents Bill and Nancy Currlin.
The Currlin’s, along with Anthony Assante and Geoffrey Jacobson, were honored at the Middlesex County Chamber of Commerce 2019 Annual Awards Dinner Wednesday, June 5 at the Red Lion Hotel in Cromwell.
Born in Brooklyn, New York, Bill Currlin was the oldest of three children of Egon and Murian Currlin. The family moved to Middletown in the mid 1950s.
Bill graduated from Woodrow Wilson High School in 1963 lettering in football, swimming and track.
After attending the University of Bridgeport, Bill was drafted/enlisted into the Army. Two years of training and attaining the rank of sergeant, Bill was enrolled in Infantry Officer Candidate School, graduating as a 2nd Lieutenant. After ranger training and jungle school in Panama it was off to Vietnam.
First Lieutenant Currlin served as a platoon leader in the 101 Airborne Division. At 22 years old duty in Vietnam required leading 44-man patrols in search and destroy missions along the DMZ. After almost a year patrolling Quang Tri Province, Bill was promoted to battalion level duties including Operations, Intelligence, and Psyops.
Lt. Currlin thankfully returned home with a Combat Infantry Badge and 6 Air Medals and just in time for his wedding to Nancy Lilienthal of Meriden.
Bill met Nancy around the time he was commissioned. Sadly Nancy’s brother, Butch, a young, very brave Marine was unfortunately killed in action near Da Nang, Vietnam.
Returning home, Lt. Currlin, promoted to Captain, commanded the rail facility on Mile Lane in Middletown. This unit continued the construction and lying of rail up to East Haddam, now known as the Essex Valley Railroad.
Capt. Currlin went on to a promotion to Major and a support command in Military Intelligence. After 17 years of Active and Reserve duty, Major Currlin returned to a fulltime civilian life.
Working most of his life in the new areas of computers, Bill retired and learned that there was so much more to be done in his community. He has engaged in a variety of community service initiatives in the town of Middlefield. He was a member of the Board of Education for the Region 13 School District from 1993-2011, and served as Chairman of the ACES Board of Governors during that same period. He was the co-founder of Project Graduation, an initiative that promotes a safe and healthy graduation experience for high school students that is free of alcohol and drugs, and has been a Justice of the Peace for over 47 years.
Bill is a volunteer as the Durham Fair Coordinator for Administrative services, the Entertainment Committee for over 30 years, and has been the emcee for the Durham Fair Talent Show for 15 years. Bill also dedicates himself to veterans’ affairs by having served as Chairman of the Board for St. Luke’s Elder Care Board of Directors, Vets4Vets program, and serving as Veteran Chairman and Chaplain of the Middletown Elks No. 771. He is a member of the American Legion Post 75, Middletown DAV Chapter 7, VFW in Middlefield, and is a life member of the Vietnam Veterans of America.
Bill is also currently a Veteran Hospice Companion for the Middlesex Health Hospice. He was also co-founder and partner of the Town Times.
Bill was also the recipient of the 2012 William Pomfret Award, the Middlefield Lions Humanitarian Award, and the 2019 Connecticut State Elks Veteran Volunteer of the Year Award.
Bill enjoys his life in Middlefield with his wife Nancy. They have a daughter, Jenna-Brynn Currlin, who still reigns as their greatest joy.
Born in Meriden, Nancy Currlin was the first child of John and Jeannette Lilienthal and was soon joined by her brother Mark, known to all as Butch. Nancy led an active childhood, attending St. Stan’s School, Maloney High School, and graduating from Central Connecticut State University where she majored in Marketing.
At age 20 Nancy experienced one of the biggest life changes imaginable when she came home and found the local monsignor sitting with her mother. Her mother told her “Butch is gone. A land mine got him in Vietnam. Dad’s on his way home.”
Her first job after college changed her life again, this time for the good – she married her boss’ son Bill Currlin. Not wanting to appear a favorite in the company, Nancy started to look for a new career path.
One day she saw an ad looking for a real estate agent – then she could have the freedom to leave her cubicle! She was delighted to be hired on her first interview. Once again her life was changed for the better, for over 40 years she’s been lucky enough to never get up in the morning not wanting to go to work. Her mother always told her, “Find a job you love and you’ll never work a day in your life.” Nancy still doesn’t believe how lucky she’s been to be a Realtor.
Her career accomplishments include being elected Realtor of the Year twice, being Central CT Board of Realtors president, being a national director, state director and countless other elected offices. She’s also been awarded membership in Chairman’s Elite Club, Chairman’s Circle, President’s Club and has received various other production awards.
Throughout these years Nancy has also been a PTO member, Project Graduation member, Show Choir chaperone, Junior Women’s Club officer, Republican Town Committee member, 18-year member of the Middlefield Board of Assessment Appeals, Susan B. Komen charity fundraiser, 30-year volunteer and director for the Durham Fair, current vice president of her Timberlin golf league, 12-year Elk member, and Realtor/Chamber 15-year member where she currently serves as co-chair and a Chamber director.
Through all this Nancy’s biggest accomplishment is still being married to Bill and their raising of their wonderful daughter Jenna-Brynn. Jenna is and always will be the light of their lives, seven years ago Jenna joined Nancy as the second half of Team Currlin selling real estate – life doesn’t get any better than working with your daughter every day. Nancy looks forward to hopefully many more years of being able to enjoy her life with Bill and Jenna.
-- Press Release