Education & Youth

July 12, 2010

Carl A. Balestracci, Jr Humanitarian Fund

This is a field of interest fund focused on providing scholarships to GHS graduates interested in government, public policy and other public service opportunities.

This fund is a fitting tribute to Carl Balestracci, Jr. (1940 – 2019), who positively touched numerous lives during many years of public and private service to the Town of Guilford and its citizenry.

In accordance with Carl’s wishes, the fund is designed to address Guilford’s needs in the following four specific areas: military veterans and their support network; those with special needs, with an emphasis on children and their families; scholarships to Guilford High School graduates pursuing post-secondary education in government, public policy, foreign service, social studies or special education; and finally, support of commemorative endeavors throughout the Town of Guilford.

A brief glimpse into Carl’s past offers insight into the issues and causes near and dear to his heart.

Carl was born in 1940 and would be the first to say that his early childhood was shaped by the drama surrounding World War II. In fact, both of his parents worked at Guilford’s defense plant, New Departure. At 19, Carl enlisted in the U.S. Air Force and served two terms in West Germany at the height of the Cold War. He was honorably discharged with the rank of Airman First Class in 1964.

Following his military service, he pursued his education at Southern Connecticut State University, earning a B.S. degree in special education in 1967. Following this, Carl taught for nine years in the New Haven City School system (while concurrently earning his M.S. and Sixth Year Diploma). He came to the Guilford School system in 1976. His career in education culminated with serving as the Principal at Baldwin Middle School from 1991-1994 and Adams Middle School from 1994-1999.

One of Carl’s proudest achievements was starting the GHS Fencing Program in 1976, serving as head coach from 1976 to 1987, and as President of the CT Division of the U.S. Fencing Association from 1979-1987. He and his son, Chris, started a charitable fund with TGF to support the team, learn more.

Carl’s interest in public service took root in the late 1960’s. Notably, he worked on the campaigns of U.S. Senator Abraham Ribicoff, Congressman Emilio Daddario, and Governor Ella Grasso. Commencing in 1977, he served on the Guilford Police Commission for nineteen years. From 1969-1972, he served as Co-chairman for a committee that resulted in a family of organizations now known as SARAH. He capped off his public service career with three terms on the Guilford Board of Selectmen (two as First Selectman).

Other civic activities included serving on the Guilford Police Commission for nineteen years, the Democratic Town Committee, and the Guilford Keeping Society. At one time, he was President of the Guilford P.T.A. Council, a member of the Advisory Board of S.A.R.A.H., and a member of the Boards of Directors of both Guilford ABC and Guilford Family Counseling.

As of 2009, Carl officially joined the ranks of the “retired.” Obvious to all who know him, this label is a misfit. Hobbies included serving as a drummer and past Commodore in the Ancient Mariners Fife and Drum Corps, woodcarving, and winemaking. In 2016, he fulfilled his dream of publishing his book, John Beattie and His Quarrymen: Building America Stone by Stone.

Through Carl’s dedication to volunteerism and this fund, Guilford will surely benefit… now and for generations to come.

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