Golf Classic Honors Judge Dan Caruso

The Catholic Charities/Aetna Golf Classic will take place Monday, June 4, at the Patterson Club in Fairfield. Last year, the event raised $100,000 for Catholic Charities of Fairfield County (CCFC), making it a principal fundraiser for the agency.

This year, the Aetna Golf Classic will honor the late Judge Dan Caruso, a longtime friend and supporter of CCFC. “We thought it was fitting to honor Judge Caruso with the Catholic Charities Service Award,” said Jon Vaccarella, who is chair of the CCFC Board of Directors as well as co-chair of the event with Bill Tommins. “Dan was a man dedicated to his faith as well as to serving others, which made him a perfect choice for this award,” Vaccarella explained.

As a probate judge in Fairfield Court, Judge Caruso presided over all adoptions. Catholic Charities’ Director of Family Directions Amy Zajac, recalled a touching story about the well-liked judge. “When there was an adoption that involved a family with older siblings, Dan would allow the siblings to tap his gavel, symbolizing the completion of the adoption,” Zajac recounted. “While this might not seem like anything major to the common observer, it was everything to those older children. It brought them into the process and allowed them to feel important at a time when their new baby brother or sister was the star.”

The Golf Classic begins with a lunch at 11am, followed by a shotgun start at 12:30 pm. All monies raised will benefit the 30 programs of Catholic Charities, one of the largest private social services agencies in the county. CCFC’s programs include soup kitchens and food pantries, immigration services, a food program for the elderly and homebound, homeless outreach and preschools to educate children of lower-income families.

While this year’s event will be bittersweet with the passing of Judge Caruso, Catholic Charities’ President Al Barber reminisced this way, “Dan organized a huge food drive for the agency which really made a difference to our food programs. He was welcoming to hundreds of donors and volunteers, making them feel appreciated and recognized for their participation. We want to do the same for Dan by recognizing his support of the agency at this year’s Aetna Golf Classic. He took no credit for the service he gave to Catholic Charities and the community at large, but we feel it’s important to give Dan credit now.”

(For more information or sponsorship details, contact Amy Zajac: (203) 416-1336 or