April 17, 2021

Old Lyme Kindness Committee Names Gretchen Knauff as February’s ‘Kindness Award’ Winner

Gretchen Knauff proudly displays her Old Lyme Kindness Award. Photo submitted.

OLD LYME — The Town of Old Lyme Kindness Committee has awarded its February 2021 Kindness award to local resident Gretchen Knauff.

When the COVID-19 pandemic shut down so many of our normal activities in the spring of 2020, many of our senior citizen residents needed help. Together with the Lymes’ Youth Services Bureau, the Town of Old Lyme created a link on its website for residents who might need help, and also for those who could give help. 

One senior in particular, Ethel Chatkin, needed assistance.

Due to her age and a medical condition, her doctor advised her to not leave the house. With no immediate family nearby to help, she did not know how she would be able to take care of herself, especially in the early phases of the pandemic shutdown. 

She reached out to the Town, which was able to connect her with Knauff.

Chatkin says of Knauff, “She is the best … she is just wonderful. I don’t know what I’d do without her.” Knauff began helping Chatkin by buying her groceries.

Chatkin recently celebrated her 92nd birthday, and Knauff helped coordinate a Zoom celebration for Ethel with 38 friends and family members.

What started out as a resident helping another resident has developed into what Chatkin describes as a “marvelous friendship.”

Asked to comment on the award, Kindness Committee Chair Michelle Noehren says, “The Kindness Committee is delighted to celebrate Gretchen Knauff for helping a neighbor in need during these difficult times.”


  1. Richard W. Stout III says

    This is a wonderful story. My thanks to Gretchen for being such a caring citizen.

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