Carolyn Storrs is a business woman with a heart of gold. She speaks softly, and with compassion. You would never know that she has spent the last four decades running a business in a traditionally male-dominated field. Carolyn was one of three daughters born to Ann and Willard Robb, owners of Barrows & Burnham in Mansfield Center. From an early age, Carolyn wanted to be a nurse, but her life took a distinct change after she met her future husband. After marrying Francis “Butch” Storrs in 1968, they decided to open a landscaping business that they believed they could run distinctively better than anyone else; hence the name, Distinctive Landscaping.
“Butch has been my husband and mentor for 43 years, and my career and life with him have been very exciting, challenging, and rewarding,” says Carolyn. There were very few women in the landscaping industry in 1972 when they began their business, but by 2006, Carolyn was presented with the Award of Merit by The Connecticut Nursery and Landscape Association for her years of service to the landscape industry.
Over the years, she has relied on Windham Hospital and knows from experience that she is receiving first-class care. “What impresses me most about Windham is that people really care,” noted Carolyn. She and Butch have seen many changes over their years as they sought the best care for their daughter, Annie, who suffered a traumatic brain injury at age 9. “Even when we have needed the services of specialists, we have returned to Windham for ongoing treatment,” said Carolyn.
Carolyn has been involved with the Hospital as a Corporator from Mansfield; she served on the Development Committee for many years, helping to raise funds and awareness about the needs of the Hospital; and currently, she serves on the Foundation’s Business Advisory Council. “I’ve always been amazed at the quality of the physicians, the quick response in the emergency department, and the improvements that have taken place in the physical space. Windham Hospital is a gem and has done a truly outstanding job of serving our community,” she said.
Precisely because she feels so strongly that Windham Hospital provides exemplary service to its patients and community, Carolyn has made a provision in her will to benefit Windham Hospital. “People don’t realize how important a good community hospital is until they need one. We have one right here in Windham, and I want to do what I can to ensure that it will be here for many years to come.”
There are so many ways to have an impact in your lifetime, whether you volunteer, donate to your favorite local charity, or leave a bequest in your will. Carolyn Storrs is a shining example of someone who has done all three, making a real difference today and into the future.
For more information on how you can help, visit www.windhamhospital.org/foundation.
Carol Williams is someone you can feel comfortable with no matter what your age or circumstance in life. She generates warmth and humor with her generous nature and winning smile. Whether she is counseling students or leading a business meeting, you know she is someone who will listen and can be counted on to fulfill her commitments.
Carol’s parents were a major influence in her life. Her mother, Ruth, was always involved in good causes and received a “Woman of the Year Award” for her dedication in raising awareness and establishing funding to provide educational opportunities for students of color. Her father was a math teacher and later received a Ph.D. in Botany, teaching at the University of Alabama, when he died suddenly at a young age. After moving the family back to Evansville, Indiana, her mother continued to be active in community organizations and while she didn’t have a lot of money, she was generous, considering it her duty to give to good causes. Clearly, Ruth was the role model who influenced Carol to become involved in her community and to try and make the world a better place.
In January, 1980, Carol came to Eastern Connecticut State University as Assistant to the Dean of the School of Continuing Education. As a young professional, she was approached by the former President at Eastern, Charles Webb, to become involved in the community as a Corporator of the Hospital and later served on Board of Directors.
“I really enjoyed serving on the Board and by serving on the Finance Committee I gained insight into the financial structure of the hospital and the complexity of the funding. I began to see the need for the hospital to raise its own funds. For example, without fundraising, the new Jeffrey P. Ossen Emergency Center would not be here for our community.”
When approached by President and CEO of Windham Hospital, Dick Brvenik early in 2007 to join the newly formed Windham Hospital Foundation Board of Trustees, Carol immediately said, “Yes.” She also stepped up to the plate by informing the new Trustees that she had made a provision for the Hospital in her will. “Over the years I have become very appreciative of Windham Hospital. I wanted to do something to give back to the Hospital and community. I thought that by putting the Hospital and one other organization into my will that would be a good way to express my commitment to the long term success of the Hospital. It was an easy thing to do; just contacting my attorney to make a change in my will. I had hoped that by doing this, I could encourage others to take this small step to ensure the long term viability of the Hospital.”
Carol’s influence will be felt in our community for many years to come. Through her involvement and generosity she is leaving a legacy for future generations, while enjoying the life she has built here in Willimantic. You can join Carol and others by learning more about the 1933 Society at www.windhamhospital.org/foundation or call us at 860.456.6861.