Photographs by ChiChi Ubiña
As one of our favorite LOOK “hometown heroes,” First Selectman, Fred Camillo is the quintessential honoree for Adopt-A-Dog’s inaugural Humanitarian Award. Fred loves his pets and everyone else’s. He is a huge animal advocate and we are proud to call him a dear friend. Fred is a lifelong Greenwich resident, and a Boys and Girls Club Kid. He graduated from Greenwich High School in 1980. He is a summa cum laude graduate of Manhattanville College, where he earned a Bachelor’s of Arts degree in political science and history, and a Master of Arts degree in education. Following college, he came back across the Westchester border and has been involved in our community ever since. Fred’s community service includes the Byram Neighborhood Association, the Chickahominy Reunion Association, the Redmen’s Home Association, and the Knights of Columbus. He also is an associate member of the Cos Cob Fire Police Patrol. He is a former Representative Town Meeting member, chair of the Board of Parks & Recreation and the Republican Town Committee.
Fred was a small businessman for two decades, both in waste management and recycling. He founded Greenwich Recycling Co. He has worked in real estate sales and management, and transactions for many years, and taught History at Port Chester High School.
Prior to becoming Greenwich First Selectman, Fred was State Representative for the 151st District, after serving 11 years and as Assistant Minority Leader. His job in Hartford, as a state representative was twofold: lawmaking and constituent service. “I was fortunate enough to write, introduce, and gain passage of several laws dealing with public safety, consumer protection, animal welfare, commerce, tax reform, and public health,” says Fred.
Fred loves sports and fitness. He played baseball until he was in his late 20s and several years of basketball, including being a member of the Greenwich Catholic School New England Regional Championship team in 1976. He coached baseball for several years, both in Greenwich and Stamford. He was a high school baseball coach at Stamford Catholic High School, and a junior high coach at Western Middle School. He also coached in Junior and Senior Babe Ruth Leagues and basketball at Wright Tech. He enjoys working out daily as well as hiking and kayaking. Keep an eye out on the roads – he is going to start biking again!
Fred’s love of animals started when he was growing up on his family’s mini-farm behind the Cos Cob School. Fred explained, “we had goats, ducks, rabbits, chickens, two small alligators, cats, many dogs, and fish. Years later, I heard that teachers from the school would take their classes by my house and look at it as a visit to a local farm!” Fred’s dogs are all rescues. He has a seven year old German Shepherd named Teddy Roosevelt and a three year old Shepherd/Collie mix named Reagan and a little Maltese, named Bailey. They are his hiking, walking, and kayaking pals and even go to work with him on occasion. Fred has volunteered over the years with Adopt-A-Dog, as well as served on its board of directors. “I see the role of Adopt-A-Dog as a resource for those looking for pets. They do a wonderful job educating the public on how to adopt.”
When we asked Fred if Greenwich is a dog-friend town, he responded, “Greenwich is becoming more and more dog friendly with many businesses having water bowls on site and many residents asking for more dog friendly venues. We worked for five years to get a dog park in Greenwich, which was established in 2005. We are now beginning the search for a second one.” When asked about the rules for dogs, Fred responded, “We have leash ordinances, and clean up after yourself obligations. Everyone should have their dogs leashed in public areas and carry bags with them. We ask that all pet owners be up to date with shots and have their best friends licensed. The Town Clerk’s office is very helpful with the licensing.”
Fred explained about some groundbreaking laws that were written in Connecticut. “At the end of my legislative career in Hartford, I was able to get the Good Samaritan Law passed so that people are able to rescue kids and pets locked in vehicles in extreme weather by breaking into a car or truck without liability. We also passed Buddy’s Law in 2013. That deals with the crime of killing animals, when not protected under certain circumstances, like attacks, or when they are suffering and a hospital visit is not possible. The state gets involved if state laws are alleged to have been violated. Buddy’s Law is an example of that. A German Shepherd named Buddy was killed and nothing happened in the town where the crime was committed. A person who had been involved in Buddy’s adoption reached out to me and I brought in the state and we started working on legislation. Tethering laws and consumer protection from unscrupulous breeders were also bills that I worked on and gained passage into law.” For these good works, Fred has been honored with the Legislator of the Year Award from the Humane Society of the United States in 2017, as well as the Connecticut Votes For Animals Legislator of the Year Award in 2019.
Join us on Sunday, September 26th to celebrate Fred at Adopt-A-Dog’s, Puttin’ on the Dog at Roger Sherman Baldwin Park from 10:00am to 4pm. For tickets click here.